This research examines the French policies for the reception of foreign students from the end of the 19th century to the present and it focuses specifically on the evolution of Korean student mobility. Using the theoretical concept of “field“ by Pierre Bourdieu, it analyses the three major periods of different “Spirit of State” for foreign students. With this theoretical framework, the specific form of foreign student policy can be explained by the relationship between the field of higher education, the field of diplomacy and the group of administrative and political agents, particularly those of the Ministry of the Interior. Based on archives, statistical data and interviews, this research historically underlines their different logics of actions and interests and, finally, the junction of these logics in 1990s, which had been realized by the consensus on the economic benefits of foreign students. Through a socio-historical approach, this thesis analyses the development of the State authorities engaged in these questions and the role of the organization charged with the French Government Scholarship for foreign students since the 1960s. The complementary case study of South Korea allows us to observe the evolution of French government strategies in a new era of the higher education market’s globalization. The fieldwork in Korea shows us the actual government policy to make French higher education more attractive is effectually the response to the demand of “international students”. A contribution to the French immigration history, this work shows the construction of the student migration policy can be analyzed as the internal struggles within the national field of State.