International students ‘feel welcomed’ by UK peers

A new report reveals the extent to which British students welcome their international peers

September 14, 2014

Launched by the British Council on 11 September, Integration of UK Students: A UK perspective, presents the results of a survey of 2,632 UK-domiciled students in February and March this year.

The results provide clear evidence of a high-level of integration and acceptance. Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents stated that they believe “the UK has a collective responsibility to make international students feel welcomed”, while only 2 per cent feel that “international students do not belong in the UK”.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) indicated that they thought “international students are welcomed by their peers in the UK”.

As of the 2012-13 academic year, 82 per cent of the UK’s 1.9 million students were UK-domiciled and 18 per cent (just over 425,000) international, whether from within the European Union or outside the EU. At undergraduate level, the proportion of international students was 13 per cent, an increase of 1 per cent on the year before, while at postgraduate level they made up a far more significant 37 per cent.

“International students who connect with home students and faculty at an early stage are more likely to feel a sense of security and belonging,” argues the report’s author, Zainab Malik, head of research at British Council Education Intelligence.

She adds that this can then “translate to academic advancement and personal growth. That feeling of contributing and belonging is what continues to draw so many international students to the UK.”

A previous survey by the British Council of young people considering overseas study has found that a country’s reputation as a safe and multicultural society is a key factor in deciding where to live and study.

Rebecca Hughes, the organisation’s director of education, said: “This month nearly half a million new undergraduates are starting university, and one in ten will be arriving from outside the UK.

“There’s plenty of evidence that shows international students make a tremendous academic, cultural and economic contribution to the UK as a whole, but we wanted to know what UK students themselves think. It’s great to see that the UK’s young people are welcoming and willing to play a part in integrating our visitors into British life.”

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