The global competition for international students has fuelled the need for education providers to become more consumer oriented in their planning. Our purpose with this study was to understand international student perceptions and discuss corresponding approaches. In this qualitative study we interviewed twenty international students enrolled in two Indian universities to examine: one, their feelings about being an international student in India and two, what attracted them to India as a higher education destination. Our findings suggest that, the people on campus and in the host city are vital to delivering experiences. We identified “quality of education,” “cultural diversity” and the “rapidly growing economy” as the most noteworthy among several factors that have motivated the selection of India as a host country. We discuss the findings through different conceptual lenses and implications for managers have been presented. This research acts as market intelligence input to the Indian HE policy makers and university leaders.


International Students, Indian Higher Education, Feelings, Motivations, Qualitative Study

Author Bio(s)

Sanjay Krishnapratap Pawar is an Associate Professor at the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Symbiosis International University, Pune, India. He is a PhD in Business Management and specializes in the area of Marketing. His research interests are in the areas of marketing strategy, international marketing of higher education and internationalization of higher education. Please direct correspondence to sanjay.pawar@sims.edu.

Swati Vispute is an Assistant Professor at the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Symbiosis International University, Pune, India. She is a PhD in Business Management with research interests in the field of human resource. Please direct correspondence to swati.vispute@sims.edu.

Hassan Wasswa is an Assistant Manager at Rosin and Turpentine SMC Ltd., Bukoto Kampala, Uganda. He is an MBA from the Symbiosis International University, Pune, India.

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