Record numbers of international students are choosing the UK this year, here’s why.

The UK has long been popular for international students due to a wide range of reasons from the teaching, global politics and the country itself. This year, of course things are different, the choices international students are being asked to make are difficult as so much is still unknown when it comes to the impact and effects of the pandemic on students, travellers and careers. The Financial Times recently reported that the number of accepted university places in the UK this year has increased by “3.5 per cent compared with the same time in 2019. The figures put the sector, which feared a sharp fall in admissions as a result of the pandemic, on course for a record year.” The FT points to the influence of international students on this increase by saying, “The boost in admissions is partly down to the continued enthusiasm of foreign students for studying in the UK. International recruitment has so far increased by 1.7 per cent to a record 71,400 this year, in spite of warnings the pandemic would reduce demand”.

We spoke to Sophie Turnbull, Head of the international office at UWE Bristol to see why she thought international students still felt confident accepting places in the UK. She explains that “The UK has a long history of welcoming students from all over the world due to the quality of education and the international exposure, and the feedback from any of our applicants this year is this is still a big factor in them choosing to come to the UK. A lot has been done by universities across the sector to ensure that the health and safety of students arriving this year is at the foremost of their plans and this, coupled with support from the British Council, and UUK, will hopefully reassure a lot of students about what they can expect when they arrive in the UK and throughout their programme”. So, if you have a place at a UK university and have any concerns, contact them to see what your experience is likely to look like when you arrive. Some universities such as UWE Bristol are offering a blended learning approach which means that students will still have some face-to-face teaching alongside online modules.

Another big factor for international students will be the changes to the UK visa rules, Sophie goes on to say that “the new graduate route which launches in the summer of 2021 will also have been a large factor for many students who are excited about the opportunity to remain in the UK for two years after completing their studies to find opportunities for jobs.” This change has created a much more realistic timeframe for international students who want to look for graduate roles in the UK after completing their degrees. So, it makes sense that this would attract global students who would like the opportunity to find work in the country they studied in. More than ever, students are being expected to have a plan for their career and how they will reach their goal, this new route is making this more achievable.

To support the new route, GradLink have created a supporting webpage for international students with a step-by-step guide to finding a graduate job in the UK. This includes tips on how to find work experience, how to use your international USPs, interview skills and much more. Here at GradLink, we’ll continue to share the latest news for international students to help in the current climate for your future career. For more news, register for free!

By Jen Garmston Published: Oct 09,2020