Although all of the fall, 2017 international student enrollment reports are not known and although no one has a crystal ball, I think it is safe to write an article about the clear enrollment winners and losers for the fall semester.
Clearly countries like Canada and Australia enrolled an increasing number of international students. Clearly the impact of Brexit and the Trump election has affected the decreased number of international students enrolling in those two countries.
Clearly the pivot to Asia has happened with China and other countries in Asia and Southeast Asia enrolling increased number of international and study abroad students for this semester.
Clearly the “new” international student, the digital student, will increase the number of international student enrollments but in a different way. Digital students, especially in Africa, will enroll in international courses but they may never leave their home countries.
Clearly the impact of nationalism, especially in several countries in eastern Europe, will impact the migration of students from those countries to other parts of the world.
Clearly it is no longer possible to write and implement international strategic recruitment plans without researching the economic, political and societal trends taking place in countries of recruitment.
Clearly it is time to change the way international deans and recruiters plan for future international student enrollments.
I have spent the past three years researching and studying the way international student trends are changing. Some of the changes are subtle, like the dynamic “soft power” higher education initiatives of China in countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Others are not so subtle. No longer can we separate where international students study and the Brexit vote or Trump election. Both events have, and will continue to impact, the enrollments of international students not just in this year but for years to come.