Despite Brexit and plans to slash net migration, Britain’s cities still remain most popular among international students, new data revealed by student accommodation website Student.com show.
Among other global cities, London is number one, followed by two Australian cities – Sydney and Melbourne – at second and third place respectively. Five other British cities are in the global top 10 – Manchester (4th), Glasgow (5th), Liverpool (6th), Nottingham (7th), Sheffield (8th) and Birmingham (10th).
“Reassuringly, our data indicates that there is still significant interest in the UK as a destination for international students – particularly from Asia and Europe. However, this is not an excuse to become complacent,” Luke Nolan, founder and CEO, Student.com said.
“With global competition for international students increasing year after year, the UK should do everything it can to support the internationalisation objectives of its universities and maintain its attractiveness as a study destination.”
The findings are based on how thousands of Student.com users used its website in 2017.
Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show almost one in five students (19 percent) in higher education in the UK are from abroad. The figure is several times higher at the full-time postgraduate level, with 53 percent coming from overseas.
Post-Brexit, universities have blamed the UK’s vote to leave the EU for their falling enrollment of international students. The Telegraph reported UCAS figures showing the number of applicants from the European Union has fallen for the first time since year-on-year rises from 2012. In 2017, there were only 51,185 applicants, a 4.4 percent drop from 2016.
UK Prime Minister Therese May has also rigidly refused to remove international students from net migration data despite rising pressure from MPs and her own Cabinet, though recent reports show a softening of her stance. According to The Independent, May explained that once visa abuse is filtered from their education system, international student numbers will not have “long term impact” on immigration data.
Other findings by Student.com include Friday and the summer months (July – September) being the most popular day and months to book accommodation, Cyprus students most likely to book at the last minute and Saturday being the most popular time to move in.
It has found that globalisation is well and alive in international education as well.
Among Student.com users alone, students have travelled 95 million kilometres in 2017 – that’s equivalent to taking 120 trips to the moon and back.
“Students are still willing to travel far and wide for their studies. Let’s keep it this way,” Nolan said.
“It’s important that we all play a part in keeping students globally mobile and making international students feel welcome, whether they’re from a neighbouring country or the other side of the world.”