This chapter sketches the evolution of international education in terms of definition, approach and rationale from the late nineteenth century to current days. It notes the uneven terrain of international education practices that favour western universities as sites of knowledge production and consumption. It discusses the research landscape of international education in relation to returning graduates and migrants, noting a marked absence in attending to graduates or returnees socioeconomic contributions to their home countries. The chapter offers amartya sens capabilities approach as a framework to view international education as a potentiality for ethical development. Anchored in pluralism, the capabilities approach could provide insights about conditions for people-centred development because it allows for evaluation to consider local voices and perspectives of those who live and work in the local communities rather than institutions from afar. In highlighting the potentiality of international education for ethical development, the chapter embraces the vision of education for international understanding and global citizenship the core ideas of the international education movement when it began in the late nineteenth century and the global education goal of the united nation 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals (sdg 4). 2019, Springer nature singapore pte ltd.