Attracting International Students to Semi-peripheral Countries: A Comparative Study of Norway, Poland and Portugal

  • Cristina SinEmail author
  • Dominik Antonowicz
  • Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen
Original Article


The paper investigates the approaches employed for attracting international full-degree students in three countries on the periphery of Europe/the European Economic Area: Norway, Poland and Portugal. These countries, considered semi-peripheral regarding international student recruitment, have shorter traditions for incoming mobility than countries that are major recruiters and which have been the focus of previous research on attracting international students. The paper analyses national policies and strategies, focusing on their emergence, rationales and instruments. The study is comparative, aiming to find commonalities and differences in the approaches of these countries further to the changing global environment in higher education. The major finding is that semi-peripheral countries appear to employ different strategies and resort to other comparative advantages than the largest student recruiters, exploiting political, cultural or geographical aspects rather than educational assets. The findings highlight the need for these countries to identify their distinctive attraction capacities and assets, as well as to be purposeful in choosing their target recruitment regions.


international students recruitment periphery policies internationalization 



We would like to thank Mari Elken for her thorough reading of a draft of this paper and for her helpful feedback. This paper has been developed with support for a postdoctoral fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Grant Number SFRH/BPD/85724/2012 and with support from the Polish National Research Council (NCN) through its research Grant (UMO-2013/10/M/HS6/00561).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© International Association of Universities 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino SuperiorLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies (CIPES)MatosinhosPortugal
  3. 3.Nicolaus Copernicus UniversityToruńPoland
  4. 4.OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan UniversityOsloNorway

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