Faced with a situation in which countries compete for international students, it becomes especially important to understand students’ preferences regarding migration behaviour. This paper looks at the determinants of international mobility intentions in the specific situation of Indian students in sciences and engineering. It uses data collected from a survey of students at five Indian universities, complemented by qualitative data from interviews. We looked at the role of students’ personal and family background, university-related factors, their social network and preferences for living location in their motivations for moving abroad. The type of university and field of studies work as strong predictors for students’ desire to move abroad. Whether a student plans a career in academia or wants to work in a company has a decisive influence on where they see themselves in the near future. Professional aspects are confirmed to be the most prominent in the decision-making regarding international mobility. People who place high importance on work-related factors are more mobile, while people who place higher importance on family-friendly environment and public safety prefer staying in India. International student mobility is clearly a family decision. Parents’ support is crucial for moving abroad, in moral as well as in financial terms. Normally, obligations towards family are put in first place ahead of potential individual initiatives.