Latin America International Education Market Trends

Text by Maura Leão (Felca past president – Board member)

Latin America, where 569 million people live in 20 countries, it is a very prominent part of the world to recruit students for English speaking programs and any other languages.

The trend for Brazil in 2020 is a growth, perhaps a little less pronounced than in previous years due to the fluctuation of the currencies and the economic situation in the country, which impacts greatly the processes of recruiting students. It has not changed much since the beginning of 2019, actually it has even worsen, a bit. Many political changes in all the countries, with our neighbor Argentina, going through a radical change in their government. But we still need to wait to see how things will develop and impact the international education industry in Argentina, a country also important for sending students abroad.

 The sector in Brazil moved around US$1.2 Billion dollars last year.  Some countries appearing for the first time among the six most sought-after destinations because it has implemented the policy of the student to be able to study and work, like Malta. Moreover, one relevant fact is about new destinations, such as Arab Emirates, South Korea and Portugal.

We have also seen more students looking for undergraduate courses. It is a trend that will not stop growing.

Currently the political and economic situation of Brazil is complicated, but the way of thinking of Brazilian families has changed. Before it was very complex for Brazilian youth to go abroad for an undergraduation program. Today, if the family wants academic quality and diversity of programs, they will make an account. They can add up the cost of a good college and accommodation in countries such as the UK, USA or any other country and still try a scholarship. Then they will realize they can pay for it. Before people did not do this. As the competition for jobs in Brazil becomes fiercer, interest for studies abroad grow along.

Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico had a very productive meeting last January represented by their associations. We had a full day of discussions about actions that could be done together towards our markets, considering that we have distinctive needs compared to other parts of the world. We are very much price sensitive and we rely on how well our economies are doing. So far Argentina and Brazil are FELCA members, but we are confident to have more representativeness from Latin America at FELCA in the coming year. I truly believe that we can learn from other associations´ experiences and can also bring our expertise to be shared with everyone.


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