International Higher Education: The Attraction of Singapore

By Robyn Margaret Anderson.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 30, 2014 $US5.00

There has been a marked increase in the number of international higher education students studying at Australian universities in Singapore while simultaneously, there has been a corresponding decrease in the number of such students choosing traditional study abroad locations such as Australia. The study aimed to understand why one current group of international students studying in Singapore chose to study at an Australian campus in Singapore rather than study in Australia or elsewhere in the world. The research design employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches, using a focus group interview and a survey. The study found that most international students left their home country to study abroad to gain a global perspective of the professional field which they hoped to work on the completion of their degree. Singapore was chosen over other locations because of its reputation for safety, comparatively lower cost of living, cultural similarity to students' home country, nearness to students' home country, and the perception that Singapore offered better job prospects upon the completion of students' degrees compared to other locations. Most students chose an Australian university because of its reputation, its fast tracking of degree programs, and—for Indian international students—a similarity of curriculum content and learning approaches. The study highlights future recommendations for universities in attracting and catering for students from overseas countries.

Keywords: Higher Education, International Students, Global Education, Offshore Campuses, Singapore

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 7, Issue 1, May 2014, pp.45-57. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 30, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 293.191KB)).

Dr. Robyn Margaret Anderson

Lecturer, School of Education, James Cook University, Singapore, Singapore

Dr. Anderson has been actively engaged in teaching and research both in Australia and Asia for many years. In Singapore, Dr. Anderson has worked as a research fellow in the project, Early Intervention of Malay Preschool Teachers in Promoting Children’s Mathematics Learning NIE/NTU-Mendaki at the National Institute of Education (part of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore). She has also undertaken and has been the chief investigator for research projects with the Australian Chamber of Commerce Singapore and the Australian Trade Commission Singapore and is currently co-investigator of a collaborative project with educators in Australia, Singapore, Canada, Scotland and England, which aims to develop and map changes in children’s understandings, concerns and perceptions of their local, natural environments. She has undertaken research at the Australian International School (Singapore) on teaching philosophies and pedagogical practices. She currently teaches graduate-level courses at JCU Singapore.


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