Spatiotemporal evolution and factors influencing international student mobility networks in the world

Authors: Chun'guang Hou*, East China Normal University, Debin Du, Institute for Global Innovation and Development, East China Normal University, Qinchang Gui, Institute for Global Innovation and Development, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Keywords: international students; higher education; world-class universities; globalization; social networks
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Congressional B, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Based on the data released by UNESCO on international student mobility in tertiary education from 2001 to 2015. This paper draws on network science to construct a multidimensional weighted directed network heterogeneity model to study spatiotemporal evolution and factors influencing international student mobility networks. The results are as follows. First, in terms of the evolutionary characteristics of time series, the linkages of international student mobility networks have increased from 4,921 to 9,137, and its average weighted degree centrality has rapidly increased from 8,004 to 20,834. Second, in terms of the topological structure, it has evolved from a single core comprising the United States into dual cores comprising the United States and China. Thirdly, in terms of spatial structure, the international student mobility network has a significant core-periphery structure and hierarchical characteristics. The countries in the core, strong semi-periphery and semi-periphery alternate with countries from other tiers. The spatial patterns of the international student mobility network “from east to west, from south to north” are changing. Finally, regression analysis shows that the flow of international students correlates positively with the quality of higher education in destination countries, the number of students in colleges and universities, the per capita GDP, the historical links connection between the destination country and the country of origin, and the level of globalization. Geographical distance and linguistic proximity have a significant negative correlation with the flow of international students, indicating that the impediment of language is rapidly weakening, while geographical distance still hinders student mobility.

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