While international studies are often spoken of in the context of its value for students, the impact of exchange extends far beyond them. Have you ever wondered what host countries stand to gain from international students enrollments? Well, you’re in luck as today we’ll take a trip to find out some of the contributions international students make in the host country.

  1. The Economy

The economic impact of international students is huge. It goes beyond tuition fees, food and clothing, transportation and other living expenses. NAFSA International Student Economic Value Tool analysis revealed that the 1,094,792 international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $39 billion and supported more than 455,000 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2017-2018 academic year. IIE asserts, “Students from around the world who study in the United States also contribute to America’s scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into US classrooms, helping prepare American undergraduates for global careers, and often lead to longer-term business relationships and economic benefits.” In the United Kingdom, international students added £13.8 billion gross value to the United Kingdom GDP.

2. Immigration

In the United Kingdom, international students have spent £750 million in the transportation industry and £690 million in the retail industry.  The transportation visa fee and some other fees attached to visa application is also a benefit to the host country. The immigration of scientists and engineers, in particular, stimulates innovation in the host country through new patents.

3. The Labour market

During the 2015-2016 academic year, international students spent $32.8 billion dollars in the United States and contributed to the labour market by holding over 400,000 jobs. Approximately 40% of international students earn degrees in STEM fields and can provide great insight and ideas to the technology industry, where half of the startup companies in America are started by immigrants.

4. Increase in Tax

International students pay for their visas and other requirements to enable them to travel abroad without any hitches. Apart from the tuition fee, feeding, clothing, accommodation, and transportation fees might include some indirect tax on the students, this is a source of revenue to the host country. Their expenses in the foreign economy bring in a very positive impact. DEA Head of Research Martin Junge said, “As long as the labour market can absorb more international students, there is really good business for society in increasing both recruitment and retention.”

5. Contributions to Campus

Students coming from different countries to study in different fields have a great impact on the host country due to skills and new innovations they can bring from their own field of study. The immigration of international students such as scientists and engineers, stimulate innovation in the host country through new patents. This shows that international students can be eye-openers for their host country in some aspects. The immeasurable academic and cultural value these students bring to campuses and local communities of the host country is great. International students also increase the social and cultural diversity of the campuses, enriching the research and learning environment and helping home students to develop internationally relevant skills. Foreign PhD students bring new research ideas and expertise to universities and help to strengthen their international partnerships.

6. Contributions to Soft Power

“Soft power” has been defined as “the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion.” International students are able to increase the country’s soft power when they return home as graduates and become informal ambassadors for the host country and its universities. This way, they strengthen trade, research, and diplomatic links. In some cases, international graduates choose to work in the host country. In such cases they are able to fill professional-level jobs in high-value sectors, thus making additional tax and National Insurance contributions and developing the skilled workforce.


There’s no denying that international students have a lot to gain from their time abroad. However, these relationships are not one-sided; the contributions international students make in the host country is significant as the host country enjoys the breadth and depth of current and future benefits the students bring.

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