In recent years there has been an astronomical growth in the numbers of Indian students studying at UK universities. This paper situates this increase in relation to global and historical developments: the development of internationalization in education, liberalization in the economies of India and the UK as well as the centuries-old relationship between the two countries. Statistical data is examined in order to develop a picture of this group, followed by the results of a qualitative study which examined the motivations and experiences of Indian students currently studying, or who have recently finished their studies in the UK. The results speak to Bourdieu’s (1984) theories of cultural capital and illustrate that student migrants do not go to the UK just for study, but that they often have larger expectations from the trip, entwined with their own personal long term strategies. Finally, the data is used to critique current UK policy with regards to the student visa system.