Choices of destination for transnational higher education: “pull” factors in an Asia Pacific market
Ahmad, Syed Zamberi
Buchanan, Frederick Robert
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Traditional assumptions favouring native English language countries in transnational higher education (TNHE) overlook experiences of international students in new emerging Asian education hubs. Specifically, there has been limited research relating to international students’ choice for studying in Malaysia. Drawing from the “push-pull” model of factors influencing the movement of international student destination choice, this study identifies determinants of student destination decision for TNHE. While acknowledging perceived qualities and values of individual institutions as important criteria, findings from interviews with students that are currently enrolled at international branch campuses also indicated key influences driven by “pull” factors of country image – attractive features of Malaysia, i.e. comparatively low cost of living, low tuition fees, safe country for living, stable government, modern amenities, proximity in culture and religion and freedom from discrimination – as focal motives in their choice decision. These findings provide implications for policy-makers to deploy their educational resources as well as develop effective promotional and marketing strategies in promoting the local reputation and amenities in order to attract more international students.