International Education. Post COVID Global Flows & Models.

Pre COVID, nearly five million international students studied overseas each year. In November 2019, before the pandemic hit, we shared our outlook that, by 2030, expected to see seven million international students each year.

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HolonIQ Global Flows Chord

Global Student Mobility.

Pre COVID, nearly five million international students studied overseas each year. In November 2019, before the pandemic hit, we shared our outlook that by 2030 we expected that figure to reach at least seven million students each year.

Leading up to COVID, demand had been strong and was generally predicted to continue. While the shape of demand changed through events such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the global financial recession and immigration policy roller coaster, this was nothing compared to the immediate, worldwide halt to international student flows caused by COVID19. The question for many now is about the extent to which the traditional model of international education will resume, or if new/adjusted models, born during COVID, will stick, as alternatives or perhaps to power a whole new set of international students.

Ahead of our webinar on emerging digital models in International Higher Education, we dusted off our map of UNESCO’s 2018 student flows data to power a trip down memory lane and help you explore the complex landscape of international education.


Join 1,000+ International HE colleagues from around the world for our Emerging Digital Models webinar.

While the pandemic has thrown traditional approaches to international education into chaos and abruptly halted global student flows, new possibilities and new ideas are emerging to re-envision how international higher education might look post-COVID.

This session explores the innovations and new models being developed for international education and identifies the ways in which the international higher education market may evolve.


Outbound Flows

HolonIQ’s Global Flows project monitors and predicts the global flow of tertiary-level students based on UNESCO-reported data and definitions. There are a number of data reporting issues, conflicts and definitions between country-reported segmentation and UNESCO’s taxonomy which we are seeking to resolve through the project as well.

HolonIQ’s Global Flows Map represents tertiary student flows for 2018 from source regions represented on the outer right in dark grey to the top 30 destinations on the outer left in light grey. Arcs are drawn between source regions and the top 30 destinations. The size of the arc is proportional to the number of tertiary students following that flow from the source region to the destination study market.

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Global Flows

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East Asia Outbound

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North America Outbound

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South Asia Outbound

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Arab States Outbound

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Latin America Outbound

Inbound Flows

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US Inbound

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UK Inbound

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Australia Inbound

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France Inbound

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Germany Inbound

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Canada Inbound

Join the Global Higher Education Network

With over 1,300 professionals from 72 countries, the HolonIQ Global Higher Education Network connects forward-thinking individuals representing government, university, community colleges and digital platforms. The Network shares information and insights to support and sustain digital transformation for higher education, including webinar events and opportunities to participate in global research.


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