How the UK still tops the international student wish list
Posted on October 27, 2020
Educational migration is a large source of financial gain for the UK. And why not? Students all over the world consider the UK as the world’s best destination to do higher studies. The universities and educational institutions of this country are given the top places in world rankings.
In the COVID-19 times, the influx of international students to the UK has been predicted to come down substantially. The closure of educational institutions, travel restrictions, and the inability of students who joined UK courses to arrive in the country have been potential factors. They influenced the speculation that a sharp decline in the number of foreign students will happen during the COVID-19.
The UK turned the tide!
Surprisingly, the situation in the UK has come to be anything but depressing. The enrolments from non-EU international students are up by 9% this academic year. And this is leading to a record increase in international students arriving on a UK student visa.
The positive trend apparent now isn’t enough to say for sure that revival from the COVID-19 crisis has turned into a recovery. But for sure, the concern of UK universities that the slump in student arrivals could cause a significant loss of revenue has for now been averted.
The fact today however is that more international students are preferring to study in UK. Here are certain reasons that can be cited for such a demand despite the issues posed by COVID-19.
Taking advantage of global political tensions
The recent political developments in the world and their eventualities have brought distinct advantages to the UK, especially in the educational migration scene. A case in view is the tension between the US and China.
China sources one of the largest numbers of students who study overseas. With the tensions between the US and China on the rise, thousands of visas for Chinese students going to study in the US have been canceled.
The heat-up between the US and China warmed the scene up for the UK.
With challenged allegations by the US in favor of its decision that Chinese students had ties with the Chinese military, Chinese students are reconsidering their US study plans.
Also, the way the US has handled the COVID-19 pandemic has discouraged an increasing number of international students from going to the US to pursue studies. Uncertain changes in future visa policies have also worked against attracting more students to the US.
Even Australia decided to send foreign students in the country pursuing courses in the country to their home countries. Australia and New Zealand are still keeping their borders closed to foreign nationals.
It’s in this scenario that the UK attracts international students for the following reasons:
- Most undergraduate courses have a 3-year duration. A Master’s degree lasts a year. This is a shorter duration considering the course time frames in the US. This feature of UK education even compensates for its higher fees. The reduced time period of courses also keeps overall study costs lower.
- The re-introduction of the 2-year post-study work visa that allows students who complete studies in the UK to stay back and look for a job.
- The high quality of teaching.
Challenges yet to be overcome
Even when there is growing positivity in the UK, the substantial issues created by COVID-19 are far from being over. There’s a crisis around the recruitment of international students in the UK’s educational institutions. The rising number of COVID-19 cases on UK campuses along with stringent measures like lockdown asking students to avoid socializing and self-isolate are still impediments in the progress made in conducting courses comfortably.
Other issues for international students in the UK on UK study visa are discrimination and racism, the effect of which is felt more by Chinese and South Asian students. Applicants opting for the UK as a study destination are concerned about safety which is a priority for the students’ families.
Also, COVID-19 related discrimination that has been reported widely is still awaiting resolution on a large scale.
Students wish to learn like old times!
An obvious move to shift classes online may also not be a wholesome solution in terms of the learning experience and student satisfaction. Besides the classroom experience, campus learning provides social and cultural opportunities that international students seek. With the restrictions that come with the COVID-19 crisis, these opportunities will be missed or reduced drastically.
It’s expected that the UK will deal with and overcome these challenges and reclaim its old glory of being the world’s best destination for higher studies.
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