Who are the most globally mobile IB students?

As part of our recent survey of International Baccalaureate students graduating in 2018, we’ve sought to understand some of the major patterns and trends in IB students’ applications to universities all over the world.

For universities, the IB enjoys recognition as a qualification that prepares its students for a higher education market which is not only research intensive, but increasingly global in its outlook. Meanwhile, with its presence in over 150 countries, the IB prides itself on an ethos which promotes a sense of global citizenship and a truly international approach to secondary education.

BridgeU works with global secondary schools to help students to apply to a broader range of university destinations. This is why one of the major pieces of analysis in our 2018 IB student survey has focused on the likelihood of IB students applying to university courses outside their country of origin.

So who were the most globally mobile IB students in the graduating class of 2018? Read on to learn more about what our survey uncovered.

How did we measure IB student mobility? 

In our 2018 survey, we gathered data on over 21,000 individual IB applications, submitted by 6,857 IB students. An analysis of this data allowed us to gain valuable insights into the following trends and patterns in IB students’ movements:

  • The most popular universities for IB students in the class of 2018.
  • The most popular destination countries.
  • The most popular destination regions.

We also broke down our survey data further, measuring the most popular university destinations for IB students on a region by region basis.

The data plot above shows the correlation between IB students’ country of origin (Y axis) and the resulting applications they made to destination countries. (X axis). The number of applications is proportional to the size of the dot.

If we start with a country listed on the vertical axis of the graph, and then move right along the horizontal axis, we can get an overview of where IB students from a given country applied in 2018.

This also means that, if you follow the diagonal line of dots from top left to bottom right on the above graph, it’s possible to see the extent to which IB students applied to university in their own country.

For example, we can see that Australian students submitted a large volume of applications in their own country, with a sizable number of applications also sent to the US and UK. Likewise, Canadian students predominantly applied to their country of origin in this year’s survey. 

Who are the most globally mobile IB students?

As you can see from our data plot above, the most globally mobile students in this year’s survey were students in European and Asian countries. In addition, the most attractive destinations for these students were the US, UK and Canada. Universities in the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Australia also received a relatively high volume of applications.

Here’s how our data on student global mobility breaks down in more detail.

Asian students were the most globally mobile in their applications

Students from Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, India and Pakistan submitted a high volume of applications to destinations in the US, UK and Canada. Students from Asia were therefore the most globally mobile students in our survey. 

European students were the most likely to apply to universities in Europe

On a regional basis, Europe was a more popular destination for European IB students in this year’s survey. Specifically, the UK was the most popular destination for European IB students. This cohort of respondents also reported Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Ireland as popular destinations in this year’s survey. 

Students from the US, Canada & Australia were the least globally mobile 

US, Canadian and Australian students were more likely to apply to university in their country of origin in this year’s survey. Similarly, students from the UK, Singapore and the Netherlands were also more likely to stay at home. 

The US & Canada were the most popular destination countries overall

A quick look at the Country of University axis tells us that the US and Canada are the two most popular destinations for IB students in this year’s survey. We found two reasons for this:

  1. For the most globally mobile students in our survey, the US and Canada were the most popular overseas destinations for university study overall.
  2. A high proportion of US and Canadian students in this year’s survey chose to stay at home for university (which accounts for these students being the least globally mobile).

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