France is the 4th most popular country for students in international mobility, after the US, the UK and Australia, and before Germany. France is also the 1st non-English speaking host country.
France welcomed 325,000 foreign students in 2016 (including 52% women), a figure that increased by 12.2% over 5 years.
France establishes its position as popular destination
- France is ranked 4th among host countries for international students after the US, the UK and Australia, and before Germany.
- France is also the 1st non-English speaking host country for students in international mobility.
Europe establishes its first rank as host continent for international students, including from Africa, despite other regions in the world deploying often aggressive strategies to attract them. The ranking of host countries and countries of origin changes, and top countries are now challenged by other highly-dynamic countries such as the Netherlands, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.
Check out all data about student mobility by host country and country of origin, by world region, and also all trends for the future in the Key Figures of International Mobility report published by Campus France.
A new deal for the higher education market
New players are emerging on the market:
- Russia, with a 50% increase over 5 years, is now a top host country ranked just behind Germany and France.
- China, thanks to its "Chinese Dream" policy, registers a 75% increase over 5 years for incoming mobility, and is now ranked 8th host country.
- Saudi Arabia now has an Islamic scholarship program and went to 30th to 13th (a +170% increase).
- The Netherlands tripled their number of students welcomed in 5 years thanks to the implementation of over 2,000 trainings in English and went from 27th to 11th.
- Turkey registered a sharp rise in incoming mobility (+179% over 5 years) thanks to an ambitious attraction policy.
A new dynamic for France
Following the decision of the French president, France intends to improve its cooperation agreements and attract more international students and researchers, and host them in better conditions as well. To this regard, the confirmation of the extension of mobility scholarships is excellent news.
A France open to the world welcomes students from all continents:
- 45% of foreign students come from Africa
- 19% from the European Union,
- 16% from Asia-Oceania
- 9% from America
- 4% from the Middle East.
The excellence and the reputation of the French higher education system are the two main assets put forward to attract international students.
With countries increasing their investments and deploying aggressive attraction policies, including through scholarship programs, but also leading countries now challenged (President Trump's United States, the United Kingdom in the Brexit turmoil, Australia facing a sluggish growth of Chinese outward mobility), France may be able to take advantage of the changes to establish its popularity on the global mobility market thanks to its strategy and important assets.