An article from the UK Guardian on 20th July 2012 engages in a discussion about the benefits of having international students study at universities in the UK. Foreign students studying in England have been the topic of much controversy and debate, and the author of this article aims to put these arguments to rest.
He begins by debunking three common myths about foreign students. First, he says, foreign students are not taking the place of home students. They are evaluated for acceptance in completely different systems, and there is a cap on the number of UK students admitted to any university, so UK students are never competing for spots. Second, he addresses the myth that foreign students arrive in the UK, soak up knowledge, and then leave without contributing anything back. The author argues that the presence of global perspectives in a classroom is a valuable learning experience for home students. The third myth, and arguably the most common, is that international students will continue to arrive to study in the UK. There are new competitors seeking international students, namely the United States, Canada, and Australia, and the UK will have to work to make sure that international students continue to choose British universities. Already, international students only comprise 13% of the student body, and if international students feel as though their presence is unwelcome, they might seek their education in a different country. It is widely accepted that international students greatly benefit the classroom, they are an important part of the economy, and they foster beneficial relationships between countries, so the UK would benefit from making sure that international students continue to come there to study. The author concludes by saying, “We are convinced now more than ever that the international dimensions of higher education are central to the wellbeing and prosperity of the UK.”