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Career Pathways for International Students

Esaki-Smith, Anna (2021). Career Pathways for International Students. American Council on Education

This publication investigates how many international students travel abroad pursuing a higher quality of education. Many have headed to Anglophone destinations, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, where international recruitment trends have tracked the economic trends in recruits’ respective source countries.

Study-abroad students enroll at all levels, for credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing courses, for courses leading to qualifications at home, and for qualifications from the host college or university. This paper focuses on study-abroad students enrolled at degree level, with a particular focus on doctoral graduates.

The rise of an increasingly integrated global economy means the connection between study and work has become more important. This has hence increased pressure on colleges and universities to deliver and quantify employment outcomes and provide recruitment activities.

With today’s technology-based workplace, possession of an array of soft skills has also grown in importance in an evolving knowledge economy. From the perspective of employers, these professional skills are a measure of individuals’ employability alongside their academic transcripts, and the academic and extracurricular experiences of studying and living in a foreign country can help international students acquire these skills. Therefore, increasing the drive towards a study-abroad experience for international students.

However, this book acknowledges that little is known about how international graduates of U.S. institutions actually fare in the job market and how their career trajectories are altered as a result of their study-abroad experience. It focuses on the reasoning behind this based on research surveys and delves into how the COVID-19 pandemic has further affected this as well as how competitor nations behave in accordance with international students.

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