#WeAreInternational campaign boosts UK’s appeal to international students, despite Brexit, according to Hobsons International Student Survey
The International Student Survey 2017 by education consultancy Hobsons of more than 62,000 prospective international students, 27,955 of whom were considering studying in the UK, found that the decision to leave the EU had made no difference to their decision of 68.5% of students, while only 12.7% said they were less interested. The remaining 11.3% said Brexit made them more interested in the UK.
The results indicate a softening of the initial negative reaction to the June 2016 EU referendum when 43% said the decision had affected their choice of study destination.
The survey cites campaigns such as #WeAreInternational for helping to shape positive perceptions of the UK as a welcoming country to overseas students.
After respondents were shown news coverage of #WeAreInternational and #LondonIsOpen campaigns, almost half (46.6%) felt fully persuaded that the UK is a welcoming country. An additional 37% reportedly feeling slightly persuaded and only 16% said they felt no persuasion at all.
The #WeAreInternational campaign, founded and developed by the University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union, was relaunched following the EU referendum result. So far, over 160 universities, education institutions and international organisations have backed it.
Dr Malcolm Butler, Director of Global Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said:
“UK universities have always been international in their outlook and communities, and that will never change. Sheffield itself is consistently cited by international students as being a friendly and welcoming city. However, we know that there will be times when we need to work harder to make sure that students and staff know how welcome they are in the UK.
“Here at the University of Sheffield, we are incredibly proud to have founded and led on the #WeAreInternational campaign – which is now supported by every UK university, the British Council and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. To hear that the messages of #WeAreInternational are being well received by international students makes us even more determined to keep promoting our positive, welcoming messages.”