Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Sora Friedman, Ph.D.


Over the last decade, international students in the United States have surpassed the one million mark (Institute of International Education [IIE], 2016(a). Research found here highlights the goals and motivations of this growing constituency and examines factors that influence international students to choose educational experiences in the United States.

Two online surveys were distributed, one to international recruitment agents that work for UC Berkeley Extension, and another to international students. The paper examines survey responses along with existing research to offer data-driven theories on how international educators might more effectively approach student recruitment and program design. The research concluded that international students seek out information primarily from program websites. People such as family, friends, agents, and professors were also influential in student decision making, and were the primary way students first found out about study abroad opportunities.

Important student decision-making factors were the course or academic subject of interest, as well as the desired school. Factors like geographic location and return on investment―how the experience will improve job prospects in the host country―were also of interest. Job and potential career prospects are of great significance to international students, with career-focused activities and career services (Roy et al., 2016) shown to be quite important to this group.

Keywords: international students, student recruitment, international student recruitment, recruitment strategy, international education, international student trends, campus internationalization, marketing, global student mobility, international student mobility, international student decision making, international student motivations, understanding international students, what do international students want?, how to reach international students, digital marketing, international higher education, higher education marketing, strategic international student recruitment, communicating with international students, international student market, targeting international students, UC Berkeley Extension International Programs, UC Berkeley Extension International Students, Rebecca Lubitz-Marchena


Adult and Continuing Education | Adult and Continuing Education Administration | Advertising and Promotion Management | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration | International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication | Marketing | Other Education | Other Educational Administration and Supervision | Public Relations and Advertising | University Extension