Three per cent of Canadian postsecondary students study abroad, and Canadians account for one per cent of all internationally mobile students. This is not surprising given that Canada’s national and provincial efforts have been directed at international student recruitment, with incoming students seen as a lucrative financial investment contributing $8 billion annually to the Canadian economy. While this figure shows the financial value of incoming students, there has been little attempt to systematically assess the value of Canada’s outbound student activities.
The problem this study seeks to address is one of rhetorical imbalance. While the predominant political, policy, and advocacy discourses concerning international student mobility in Canada have focused on the monetisation of incoming international students, this study explores the value ascribed to outward student mobility. From a social constructivist perspective, and using semi-structured interviews and social discourse analysis, this study analyses outbound student mobility policies and discourses at the systems level in order to understand their philosophical underpinnings and their place in dominant international relations theories.
Set within the context of comparative international higher education, this study also explores how European countries frame their discourse on international student mobility to include the outward movement of students while Canada seemingly remains firmly inward-looking.
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