We know little about how internationalisation processes are understood, rationalised and prioritised in different parts of the world. A global survey of internationalisation in universities was undertaken at the University of Southampton to fill this gap. Its purpose was to discover how strategic leaders in universities in different parts of the world defined, rationalised and prioritised a range of familiar internationalisation approaches. Based on a self-completion questionnaire survey administered to 500 universities in six major world regions including South America, North America, Middle East nations, Asian nations, Australia and New Zealand and sub-Saharan Africa, findings were processed from just under 200 responding universities. The findings suggest that internationalisation strategies in universities across the world seem to be based on three emergent value driven models. In western universities, a commercial imperative appears to underpin the internationalisation processes and understanding. In Confucian and many Middle East nations, there is a deep-seated cultural imperative at the heart of the internationalisation agenda. In the poorer universities of the south, a curriculum-value driven process seems to characterise the internationalisation priorities of universities there. The paper concludes that despite the global rhetoric about an emerging isomorphism in HE, wide disparities continue to exist, which entrench the poverty differentials that have always existed between universities in the north and those in the south. Further research is needed that identifies ways to develop a more responsible commercial purpose that can be reconciled with the needs of universities in the poorer parts of the world.