Existing scholarship on international student mobility has thus far focused primarily on where students have studied or pursued their degrees. However, this tends to obscure institutional differences within the same educational context. Drawing on a qualitative research project conducted in 2018, this paper examines a significant, yet understudied, role of higher education institutions in shaping international students’ experiences during and after their studies in the UK. Contrary to the relatively homogenised accounts of experiences and outcomes of those studying in the UK, it will show how they vary in important ways depending on institutions and students. These variations are explored in terms of educational status (i.e., the university’s position in global and national university rankings), organisational practices (i.e., the quality and quantity of careers support), and cultural and expressive characteristics (e.g., the place/location of institutions, the class and race/ethnicity of students and staff). The paper also delineates how individual students are differentially positioned in relation to each institution, pointing towards differences within the institution. The analysis speaks to wider debates concerning international higher education (particularly the implications for (re)producing social advantage across borders), while highlighting the complexity of international student mobility in the UK.