Having worked in the student world for nearly 15 years now (and having experience of being a student myself) I have seen first-hand the benefits to society of having some of the brightest people from foreign countries studying across borders.
Surely there are few aspects of life that are so straightforwardly beneficial to all parties.
The person coming to study gets a great learning experience, not only academically in terms of a qualification from a top-class institution, but equally from their exposure to a different culture in the great melting-pot which is University life – not to mention the immersive experience in what is often a second (or third?) language.
The host country benefits not only from the tuition fees paid by international students and accompanying commercial benefits to local economies, but also from the soft-power effects of having their culture and language exported back to students’ home countries. And for students who stay in the UK post-graduation there are very tangible benefits such as the £3.2Bn of extra tax benefits the UK government receives from international students who stay and work in the UK1 – all this without taking jobs from local residents.
The number of international students travelling across borders to study has reached an all-time high. For many years, the UK had been the second most desirable country for foreign students to come and study (behind the US) but in recent history has been overtaken by Australia in the number of foreign students choosing to study there. This failure to capitalize on the growing market has disappointed those of us in and around the University sector for many years, and so I was heartened to read of the UK Government’s ambition to grow international student numbers to 600,000 by 20302.
As the shadow of Brexit continues to loom over the UK political system, it is good to see some positivity at long last.
CEO, Nido Student