International Student Migration to Ireland

Gilmartin, Mary, Rojas Coppari, Pablo and Phelan, Dean (2016) International Student Migration to Ireland.


Education is becoming international, across all levels of educational systems. This is most visible in higher education, where internationalisation has come to have a variety of meanings. These include the internationalisation of curricula; institutional strategies of internationalisation; the convergence of education systems (e.g. the influence of the Bologna reform process in European higher education); and internationalisation policies at regional, national and supranational scales (Kehm and Teichler 2007: 265). The internationalisation of education is not only happening in universities. Internationalisation is also taking place through language teaching, specifically what Park has called the 'English frenzy' (Park 2011: 446). The global growth in the private English language teaching industry takes a number of forms: the recruitment of native English (or, often, white) teachers in countries such as South Korea, Japan and China, to teach both children and adults; and the growth in the number of private language schools in English-speaking countries, like the UK, Australia and Ireland, which provide tuition in English as well as an initial route to legal migration. There is also some evidence of internationalisation at primary and second level. Examples include the so-called 'wild geese' families from South Korea, where children - accompanied usually by their mother - are sent abroad to study. Similar patterns are evident in the astronaut families and parachute or satellite children from Hong Kong, Taiwan or China. In these cases, entire families move to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and eventually a parent, usually the father, returns to the original country to work. Sometimes both parents return, leaving the children alone to study (Waters 2015). The internationalisation of education is a widespread, and growing, phenomenon.

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