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Exploring the Allure of UK Universities: International Students Still Considering UK Amid Policy Changes
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Exploring the Allure of UK Universities: International Students Still Considering UK Amid Policy Changes

Exploring the Allure of UK Universities: International Students Still Considering UK Amid Policy Changes

UK News

Apr 1, 2024
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4 min read
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Author :  
amber
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Apr 1, 2024
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4 min read

The PIE news recently highlighted key insights from a student's views on the benefits of the UK as a study destination. International students play a major role in the UK's education landscape, contributing to academic excellence and promoting cultural diversity. Moreover, international students have higher satisfaction rates, which have a positive impact on the overall educational experience. Their presence enriches the academic environment, strengthens global collaboration, and enhances the quality of education. The UK's allure lies in its top universities, a rich cultural landscape, expert support for international students, and opportunities for personal and career development.
However, with graduate uncertainty, rising NHS (National Health Service)  surcharges and restrictions on family dependents, the UK may not seem like the best place for international students to study. However, the UK's reputation for world-class higher education continues to draw students attraction from all over the world. Let's take a closer look at the reasons that draw international students to pursue their academic studies even after some recent strict policies implemented by the UK Government. 

Presence of Globally Recognized Universities

One of the best features of studying in the UK is the presence of top universities known for their academic excellence. Institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London are among the best-ranked universities, offering students access to world-class education and improving their employability globally. Anastasia Guseva, a Russian student at Uxbridge College, chose the UK over the US, Canada, or Australia following a summer program at the university. She was inspired by her mother, who also completed her Master's in the UK. She was also attracted by the clear healthcare policies for international students and the ease of travel to Europe. The UK is also open to global business opportunities, and students are optimistic about the long-term career prospects for women in traditionally male-dominated fields.
For international students, visa sponsorship fees make it even more difficult to pursue a career in a skilled field after graduation. To attract and retain talent, it would be beneficial to have a more transparent conversation about supporting international students' pursuit of opportunities related to their degrees in parallel with their studies. An Indonesian student studying at Lancaster University, Vitto Axel, stated that the UK as a study destination has the best academic reputation among the top global study destinations. He felt at home at his university, where there is an active Indonesian society of about 30 members, which made his accommodation easier. Other Kuwaiti students studying at UCLan for a foundation in engineering stated, “the British people are much more welcoming than I thought they would be." "I got monthly benefits while on my foundation, and the university was really supportive."

Financial Support

Many UK universities offer scholarships and funding opportunities for international students, helping to ease the financial burden of studying abroad. It's a fact that international students pay more money than domestic students. This is another reason why international students get attention in political debates, where universities are blamed for reducing their admission requirements to fill funding gaps. But the fact is that international student fees come with some hidden costs that universities and recruiting agents need to be more transparent about. For instance, one student reported spending £30,000 per annum for 3 years at Durham University and £65,000 for a master's degree at University College London (UCL), including £29,000 international fees. Another student, Yash Nag, who studied in the UK for 3 years as an international student at the University of Loughborough, spent £75,000 over that period.
However, international students are not eligible for government funding, so they opt for the bank loan. At the time of  Nag’s graduation, the interest rate on the loan had risen to 15.5%, and the student had to pay a compound interest rate of £250 per month while studying. Nag's loan had increased from £31,000 to £52,000. In addition, Nag had to pay for student visa applications (which now cost £490), an NHS surcharge, and the English language tests universities require students to take. Nag had to pay an £8,000 deposit to cover 13 months of off-campus student housing because foreign students are not eligible for guarantees.
International students said they were struggling with the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, while many are also struggling with changing exchange rates from their countries. For example, a student at Cambridge University said she was shocked to find that a ticket for the university's end-of-year May Ball was £275, more than she could afford.

Career Opportunities

Many international students are able to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week in addition to their studies. The majority of students say they have done this, with most working on-campus and in student ambassador roles, which are easier to obtain and add to their university experience. About half of the students said they would like to remain in the UK and work after graduating, but some said that the obstacles to starting their own business would prevent them from doing so. Vitto Axel, an Indonesian student at Lancaster University, wanted to set up a tourism company in the UK alongside his university. But his student visa restricted any kind of self-employment. On the graduate route visa, you can be self-employed, but to set up a business in the UK, Axel would need to apply for the innovative founder visa. However, his university told him that the entry requirements for an innovative founder visa were too high.

To sum up, studying in the UK has several advantages besides achieving high academic standards. The UK provides a comprehensive educational experience that gives students the abilities, information, and experiences necessary to thrive in a competitive global landscape. This includes financial assistance, cultural experience, and access to esteemed colleges and real-world employment prospects. International students who choose to study in the UK start a path of personal and professional development enhanced by the diverse opportunities and resources offered by this dynamic educational hub.

Uploaded On
April 1, 2024
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last updated on
April 1, 2024

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