Building on international migration theories and the literature on the dynamics of student mobility, this study sketches a two-dimensional framework and examines its utility to understand the rationales of in-bounding student mobility in Turkey. The empirical part of the study was conducted with 331 international students studying in public universities of Turkey. The results suggest that private rationales are prominent for students coming from Western and economically developed countries. In contrast, economic and academic rationales are prominent for students coming from Eastern and economically developing countries. The study suggests three insights which are instrumental in re-interpreting the position of the countries in the periphery in international student mobility. First, the nature of cultural, political, and historical proximity between home and host countries determines the size and direction of in-flowing student mobility in economically developing countries. Second, for developing countries pre-departure pulling rationales at private level are more prominent than public rationales. Third, despite the general trend that student mobility flows from economically less developed toward economically developed countries, this study suggests that in the periphery there are regional hubs attracting students largely originating from other countries of the periphery.