The purpose of this paper is to review the changes that occur in the perception and functions of higher education institutions in the world in relation to the processes of globalization. Based on scientific publications and the information provided by the organizations/initiatives supporting development of internationalization, the impact of commercialization, technological progress and economic development on the shape of educational services market has been discussed. Tough competition between the U.S., the UK and Australia place them as the most popular study destinations, setting trends in the industry at the same time, with an estimated value of 43 billion dollars. The determinants of their success are illustrated, as well as the actions taken by the countries which aspire to join the global race for the student. Technological advancement has changed the way students access information. Information no longer lies within the boundaries of the university, instead the world-wide-web allows them to operate on a much more competitive platform. Moreover, an access to European funds has enabled the development of academic mobility on an unprecedented scale, contributing to deepening and widening cooperation on an institutional level.