Is Thailand the Next Hot Study Abroad Destination?

Discover the unexpectedly popular study-abroad destinations of Thailand, Poland, and the Philippines, where South Asian students are finding affordable and appealing educational options. As Australia, Canada, and the UK face policy changes and rising costs, these emerging study locations offer unique opportunities for international students. Dive into the latest trends and insights from ICEF Monitor, and learn why these countries are becoming increasingly attractive for students seeking quality education, affordability, and post-graduate work options. From the growing student populations in Poland to the allure of STEM programs in the Philippines, explore the rise of alternative study destinations that are reshaping the global landscape of higher education.

Increased demand from Chinese students

Chinese students’ interest in studying in Thailand has significantly increased, with over 30,000 international students enrolled in Thai universities in 2022, a sharp rise from 25,100 in 2019. The number of Chinese students has doubled within the past five years, now accounting for over 60% of foreign students in Thailand. This growth can be attributed to the country’s affordability and quality of education offerings.

Affordability and cost advantages

Assuming affordability as a key factor, Thailand emerges as a compelling study destination for international students. With lower tuition and living costs compared to popular destinations like Australia and the US, Thailand requires students to prove savings of only US$360 when applying for a student visa. The country’s cost-effective study options make it a lucrative choice for many.

Quality education offerings and global rankings

You can find some of Thailand’s top universities, such as Chulalongkorn University and Mahidol University, ranked in the global top 100 lists. These institutions offer a diverse range of well-regarded programs, attracting students looking for quality education while also considering the cost-effectiveness of studying in Thailand.

Transnational Education (TNE) as a regional hub strategy

Alternative Thailand’s strategy to establish itself as a regional education hub through Transnational Education (TNE) activities has driven increased international student interest. These initiatives, along with partnerships with institutions globally, have positioned Thailand as an attractive option for students considering studying abroad in a cost-effective and quality-driven environment.

Challenges for outbound Thai students

To address the challenges faced by Thai students seeking to study abroad due to rising costs, education consultants highlight the impact of inflation on expenses related to education, including tuition and accommodation fees. Despite the desire to pursue education overseas, students and families are cautious due to financial constraints, emphasizing the need for more affordable study options in Thailand.

Is Thailand the Next Hot Study Abroad Destination?
Is Thailand the Next Hot Study Abroad Destination?

Historical growth in international student enrollment

Clearly, Thailand, Poland, and the Philippines have experienced significant growth in international student enrollment over the years. Thailand has seen a rise in Chinese students, with enrollment numbers doubling within the past five years. Ukrainian students have flocked to Poland due to the conflict in their home country, comprising nearly half of all foreign students in Polish universities. In the Philippines, Indian students are driving the surge in international enrolment, with the country hosting over 22,000 international students in 2022.

Advantages of Polish university programs

Any student considering Poland for higher education can benefit from the country’s affordable tuition fees, ranging from €500 to €2,000 per year, and a cost of living estimated at €330 per month. Polish universities, such as the University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University, are ranked in the top 500 globally, offering a quality education experience at an accessible price point.

Ukrainian students in Poland due to conflict

There’s been a notable influx of Ukrainian students in Poland, seeking educational opportunities amid the conflict in their home country. This has contributed to the significant increase in international student enrollment in Polish universities over the past decade, with Ukrainian students comprising a substantial portion of the international student population.

Cost of living and affordability in Poland

Students considering studying in Poland can take advantage of the country’s affordability, with a cost of living estimated at €330 per month. The affordability extends to tuition fees, making Poland a cost-effective study-abroad destination compared to many other European countries. The process of securing a student visa and proving financial means is also relatively straightforward for international students in Poland.

Polish universities in the QS World University Rankings

Poland has made its mark in the global education landscape, with several universities securing positions in the QS World University Rankings. Institutions such as the University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University rank in the top 500 globally, offering students access to quality education programs in a diverse range of fields.

The Philippines as a source and host for international students

Students from South Asia are increasingly drawn to the Philippines for its affordable English-taught programs. With over 22,000 international students in 2022 – a 53% increase from the previous year – the Philippines is becoming a popular destination. Indian students, in particular, are flocking to the Philippines, with over 16,000 enrolled in 2022, surpassing other major markets. The country’s growing STEM programs and cost-effective study options are attracting a diverse range of students from South Asian countries, resonating with those seeking quality education at an affordable price.

STEM programs and the rise of Indian students in the Philippines

For students seeking STEM education, the Philippines offers a unique opportunity. The country’s focus on STEM programs has led to an influx of Indian students, making India the top source market for the Philippines. With 16,010 Indian students enrolled in 2022, the surge in interest highlights the growing appeal of the Philippines as a study destination for international students, particularly those looking for specialized programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Affordability and cost of tuition and living

Tuition fees in the Philippines range from €500 to €2,000 per year, making it one of the most affordable study-abroad options for South Asian students. International students can expect a monthly cost of living between €650 and €1,000. The visa application fee is US$100, with no specific requirement for proof of financial means, allowing students to pursue their academic aspirations without the burden of exorbitant expenses.

The Philippines’ universities in the QS World University Rankings

With a growing presence on the global stage, Philippine universities are making significant strides in the QS World University Rankings. The University of the Philippines leads the pack at #404, followed by prestigious institutions like Anteneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. These rankings reflect the Philippines’ commitment to academic excellence and its appeal to international students seeking quality education in a welcoming environment.

Is Thailand the Next Hot Study Abroad Destination?
Is Thailand the Next Hot Study Abroad Destination?

The rise of alternative destinations: Thailand, Poland, and the Philippines

The exploration of alternative study-abroad options in Thailand, Poland, and the Philippines presents a compelling opportunity for South Asian students seeking quality education at an affordable cost. With a focus on key factors such as ease of visa acquisition, post-study work opportunities, and overall affordability, these emerging study destinations are attracting a growing number of international students. As countries like India show a heightened interest in these alternative options, the appeal of pursuing higher education in Thailand, Poland, and the Philippines continues to rise, offering a promising path for South Asian students looking to broaden their horizons through international study. The industry insights provided shed light on the shifting landscape of global student mobility and the increasing importance of considering diverse study destinations for a well-rounded educational experience.


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