Students Recognise the Value of a Multicultural University Experience

Posted by Kristina Murkett in

Many of us are aware of the growth in the number of international students at UK universities - indeed, we recruit more foreign students than any other country apart from the US, and they now make up 18% of the student body.

International students are worth an estimated £10bn or more a year, but surprisingly little research has gone into the educational benefits that they bring, or what home students think of studying alongside people from other countries - until now.

Last month, YouthSight and the Higher Education Policy Institute surveyed 500 UK university applicants, and found that:

- 87% believed having foreign students on their courses would give them a better world view

- 85% said that studying with international students would help prepare them for working life

- 76% welcomes the chance to develop a worldwide network of contacts

- 68% hoped to practice foreign language skills

- 67% did not expect international students to lower the quality of academic discussions

- 42% said students with English as an additional language would not slow down classes

The strategy of attracting the brightest and best from abroad seems to be working - over the last few years there has been an 18% increase in the number of visa applications from those going to universities, and a 30% rise for the elite Russell Group universities.

Nick Hillman, director of HEPI, called the results 'overwhelmingly positive' and prove that today's school leavers 'truly are tomorrow's global citizens.'

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons.