The educational migration of international tertiary students is a continuing worldwide trend. However, not everyone has sufficient resources for international education. Thus without state support, the cross-border mobility of students remains less than optimum. The state scholarships for outward student mobility pave the mobility way for students from lower-income groups.

In this study, as case studies, the state scholarships of Turkey and Chile were examined because of the differences in return obligation procedures that influence participation. While the Chilean scholarship programme obliges its recipients to return to Chile in 2 years after graduation and stay in Chile for a period depending on in which region the recipient lives, the Turkish programme appoints its recipients at pre-selected positions to work for the twofold study duration.

8 doctoral scholarship holders studying in the UK (4 for each group) were interviewed in 2019 to understand how the specific structure of a scholarship programme influenced their motivations to participate. After the data transcription, thematic analysis was applied, and the emerged themes as follows; quality overseas education, intercultural experience and (English) language acquisition. Since all participants are from the working class, receiving an international education was the primary motivation. Additionally, some Turkish participants stated their reason to apply for the scholarship as a “job guarantee”, which the Turkish scholarship programme offers at the selected universities and public institutions following graduation.

Albeit, most of the offered positions exist in the less-developed regions of Turkey. Thus the obligatory working duration hinders participation. The Chilean programme does not offer a job. However, the Chilean participants expect to get a decent job in Chile in their “preferred field” due to the international degree. Briefly, the participants are mainly inclined to participate in international scholarship programmes to advance their career opportunities in their homelands, where the youth unemployment rate is quite high.