Author: Arndt Graf.
In 2010, more than 87,000 international students were studying in Malaysia. The Malaysian government wants to increase the number of international students to more than 200,000 by 2020. The case of Malaysia as an emerging player in international education is particularly interesting as it is not only one of the first former colonies of a European country to achieve such high international attractiveness, but also one of the first Muslim-majority countries to become a hub of international education. This article analyses both the supply and demand side of this remarkable trend. The historical and political circumstances for the institutional buildup of Malaysian higher education are discussed, followed by an analysis of the religious, linguistic, and developmental background of the international students coming to Malaysia. Lastly, factors affecting other prominent destinations of international student migration, such as the implications of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, are taken into account.