Get Started

Oct 18, 2019 | Media Coverage

How geopolitics impacts the world of international education

Skyler Webster‌, Director of Product Management for Western Union Business Solutions penned an article for New Business where she discusses the growth of students studying abroad, the impact of Brexit, the competitive global landscape and other geopolitical impacts to education.

Academic institutions across the world are becoming increasingly global. According to 2018 figures from UNESCO, the number of international students grew from 2 million in 2000 to 5 million in 2018. Student migration and international connections have huge benefits for universities, but geopolitics can add an element of uncertainty for universities operating overseas. While they cannot control these external factors, they can take measures to smooth the process and minimise the risk of working across international markets. Managing and processing global payments provides a key example.

In recent years, Asian economies have been making a concerted effort to build their higher education capacity. They want to simultaneously encourage more of the population to study in their home country, and attract more overseas students. As a result, China is now the 3rd most popular destination for overseas students. However, for every international student choosing to study in China, another institution elsewhere loses out.

To offset this, governments in many countries have launched strategies specifically aimed at making their country more attractive to international students, such as post study work rights, visas and increasing English language teaching. Canada, France and Japan are just a few examples of countries that have launched specific programs and measures to target international students versus other countries which are becoming less appealing as study destinations, such as the UK because of Brexit and the US due to immigration policies.

What this means is that ultimately, every time student mobility changes direction because of geopolitical factors, there are universities that win and those that lose on an international level.

Brexit, for example, (read the entire article at