The flow of international students from a macro perspective: a network analysis

George A. Barnett, Moosung Lee, Ke Jiang, Han Woo Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a network analysis of the international flow of students among 210 countries and the factors determining the structure of this flow. Among these factors, bilateral hyperlink connections between countries and the number of telephone minutes (communication variables) are the most important predictors of the flow’s structure, followed by trade, the physical distance between countries, a common border between countries and a common language between two countries. The USA is by far the most central country in the flow of international students, followed by China, the UK, France, Germany, Australia and India. These results are discussed in light of World-System Theory. Future research should examine how the network of international student flows changes over time and consider additional factors to provide a better understanding of the network as an international system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-559
Number of pages27
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 3

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 British Association for International and Comparative Education.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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