Canada has overtaken the UK as the most attractive English-speaking country for European Union students, according to a study that highlights the damaging impact of the Brexit vote on the UK university sector.
A survey of 219 international students at universities in the UK found that Canada was the most desirable English-speaking nation for EU students, followed by the UK, Australia, the US and New Zealand in last place.
Both the UK and the US have slipped places in the survey since it was conducted last year, with EU students stating that they would have put the UK in first place 12 months ago, followed by Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
However, this is still the order of preference for non-EU students, with the list of desirable countries remaining the same for this cohort in the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, Germany received the most votes (136) when both cohorts were asked to name three countries that might provide the most attractive alternative study destination to the UK.
The report, The Brexit Effect: An International Perspective on the Student Experience, from the UK-based market research agency Red Brick Research, also found that while UK universities are considered less desirable since Brexit, the “Trump effect” on the attractiveness of US universities is “even bigger”.
While 64 per cent of the international students said that Brexit has made the UK a less desirable place to study, 73 per cent said that the election of Mr Trump has made the US less attractive.
Nearly two-thirds of EU students (62 per cent) said that they would definitely not choose the UK if they had to pay the same tuition fees as non-EU students.
When both EU and non-EU students were asked whether they would choose a UK university now, 68 per cent said they definitely or probably would, but this figure drops to 41 per cent when asked if they would choose the UK after the country leaves the EU.
Almost six in 10 respondents (59 per cent) said they believe that international students are less welcome in the UK following the Brexit vote, while 74 per cent said that graduates from overseas are less welcome to stay in the country.
Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of participants said they believe that the UK will be a less prosperous place to work and study in when the country leaves the EU.
However, the majority of students surveyed do not think there will be a negative impact on the value of UK degrees, with 60 per cent disagreeing with the statement “My degree from a UK university will be worth less when the UK leaves the EU”.
The research also highlighted the benefit of the UK’s weaker currency, with 57 per cent of respondents saying that studying in the UK is now more affordable.
The survey ran between 28 November and 4 December 2016 and was sent to students from more than 60 different countries.