IDP Connect found that 57% of students who are planning to study in the UK are already fully vaccinated while 31% said they intend to get their vaccines quickly to study on-campus. Source: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

International students are willing to get vaccinated and quarantine to study on-campus at their chosen study abroad destinations, said a survey by IDP Connect. The International Student Crossroads V survey revealed that 57% of students who are planning to study in the UK are already fully vaccinated while 31% said they intend to get their vaccines as soon as possible, despite the UK having no vaccine mandate in place for students ahead of starting their programmes.

Making vaccines available to international students would make their study abroad destinations more appealing, they also said. Among the unvaccinated, 77% reported that if their destinations made vaccines available to students upon arrival, it would be more attractive to them. Only 5% responded that they did not want to be vaccinated or would view the destination as less attractive if offered the vaccine. 

Vaccines offer international students a blanket of security

More than half (56%) of students reported that they were extremely comfortable with travelling after receiving their first vaccine dose in their home country and receiving the second dose in their destination country, 16% reported being very uncomfortable with that approach and a further 28% expressed having some discomfort with the idea. 

Students are willing to quarantine for an on-campus study experience. A whopping 88% of students reported a willingness to quarantine upon arrival in their destination country rather than defer. Of these students, nearly a third were prepared to pay the full costs of quarantining at a government facility themselves, while 44% expected to pay a portion of the fee. Only a quarter of students were unwilling to cover the costs of quarantining. Of those who were not willing to pay for quarantine, 65% expected the destination government and institutions to share the responsibility of covering the costs. 

Students keen to study on-campus in the UK

The importance of being able to offer an on-campus experience to international students was reaffirmed by IDP Connect’s research which showed that perceptions of the UK, Canada and the US have improved, whilst New Zealand and Australia have seen declines as their borders remain closed. 

The UK has been attracting international students with the Graduate Route, which enables students to work or look for work after graduating for a maximum period of two years, or three years for doctoral students. Recently, the government announced that it will be introducing a new “High Potential Individual” scheme that would enable graduates of top global universities to come to the UK.

Research notes UK institutions can expect high numbers of international students enrolling, with 86% for those applying to study in the UK saying they expect to start their studies as planned this year, against a global average of 79%.

“The UK has remained a welcoming, safe and highly supportive destination for international students throughout the pandemic,” said Universities UK International (UUKi) director Vivienne Stern. She added that students’ desire to get on-campus was demonstrated by their willingness to get vaccinated and to quarantine on arrival.


The IDP Connect survey shows students want an on-campus experience. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

She added that international education contributes over 16 billion pounds to the UK economy and has a positive impact on local economies around the country. “It is therefore important that we have the right quarantine and arrival processes in place and that these are quickly communicated to students so that they can plan their arrival,” said Stern. 

IDP Connect CEO Simon Emmett said the countries that are demonstrating welcoming policies are being rewarded with high student demand and interest. “We are continuing to see students’ resilience and determination to arrive safely and commence their studies on-campus through their overwhelming willingness to comply with vaccination and quarantine policies,” he said.

“The UK and Canada have both recently clarified their policies regarding vaccines, confirming that they will be available to students on arrival and these latest findings show that this is welcomed by students, and factored into their decisions on preferred destinations.”

The research examined the attitudes and intentions of over 4,000 international student applicants, offer holders and current students from 20 countries during July 2021.