U.K. International Students – viewpoints put together.
Intelligent Overseas Education Travel Update: The United Kingdom has long been an international student destination. The U.K. economy was bolstered by 20 billion GBP by these students in 2018. Not only that, but the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has a £110 million International Research and Innovation Strategy (2019) for academics and innovators globally. With an increasing number of international students and finances to support them, one would think the University would be more accessible, but this is not always the case. I want to express my views on issues that impact international students in general and the Coronavirus outbreak in particular. As a new member of our student union, I plan to frame my observations properly.
According to the Bristol Students’ Union’s International & E.U. Students Research Project (2018), I came to the U.K. to study to improve my career prospects. The University of Bristol Careers Service is a professional and helpful resource for students. Bristol Students’ Union is also required to build an ‘S.U. Job Shop’. Because many job postings are competitive and some firms refuse to sponsor work visas, international students face an uphill battle.
The Graduate Route Visa (from July 1 2021) is a new tool to help overseas students find jobs in the U.K. A UKCISA Fest poll indicated that of 42 respondents, 20 wanted to work and stay in the U.K. after graduation via the Graduate Route. Owing to COVID, students must be in the country by September 27, 2021, which many students may not achieve due to travel restrictions. The positive impact of the scheme could therefore improve. One such solution might eliminate the need for students to apply for a student visa. The University of Bristol charged £11,900 for Band 1 (Arts / Classroom) degrees and £14,950 for Band 2 (Science / Lab) degrees in 2010/2011. Compared to 2021/2022, fees for arts/classroom courses average £20,100, while science/lab programs average £24,700.
On behalf of future cohorts, Bristol Students’ Union began a full-scale tuition fee campaign in March 2020. Due to COVID countrywide lockdowns in November 2020 and January 2021, the projected ‘blended learning’ experience cannot operate all year. But many international students couldn’t get to the U.K. (due to COVID restrictions in their home countries). Others come to the U.K. only to take part in restricted physical education, which many miss. A component of the initiative involves other Russell Group universities’ International Student Officers.
Solicit student ambassadors.
We are organizing a fee-setting meeting and gathering petition signatures. We all came to the terrible realization that none of our requests could be practically implemented without the Government’s help, leaving the University with considerable financial risk. As a result, I believe it’s time to rethink higher education spending. International students’ tuition must rise to keep up with rising college costs.
Racism against Asians is nothing new. Still, bias has risen since COVID-19. From January to June 2020, the Metropolitan Police documented four hundred fifty-seven racial offences against people of ‘Eastern’ origins. Dr Peng Wang, a Southampton lecturer, was shouted at and abused while jogging in February 2021. The pandemic has brought several cases of Asian hostility to Bristol. The BME Network organized a ‘Standing Against Sinophobia’ event, providing students with a chance to share their stories and learn from others. Staff initiatives included a newsletter declaring unity and support. My students’ union asked East and Southeast Asian students if they had experienced discrimination. The results concurred. In the intercultural awareness training of the University, this curriculum is still employed. The data can be used to increase the number of consultants who speak the native languages of pupils.
Rent and accommodation are significant expenses for university students. Without a guarantor, you may have to pay a year’s rent upfront. Students from King’s, UCL, Brighton and Edinburgh pay the highest in Bristol’s student housing market. 63 So, as an International Student Officer, I persuaded the University to build an internal guarantor system akin to Edinburgh and UCL’s plans. Bristol University currently has a business agreement with Housing Hand, where students pay £250 to have the firm guaranty them. Also, most university-run programs are only £50, a far more doable fee. While the University may face financial and reputational risks, students are sure to see this as a genuine expression of love and support.
Globalization has had a significant impact on international students’ university experiences. The less reliable lateral flow antigen tests were ruled out by the end of November 2020. By this stage, LSE was already offering free PCR tests to international students. A comparable service was proposed in Bristol. It cost £150 for each student to travel home. Returning students were given the exact amount. They were working with the University on a similar issue that made lobbying for an extra £210 per student much more accessible. Students from red-list countries had to quarantine at government-approved hotels. Ten days at £1,750. 64 The University’s financial condition in 2020/21 prevented this spending. In the end, a concession was made to meet the next academic year’s costs.
In 2020/21, Bristol’s activities were often sector-leading. They now provide what students want and need in this turbulent time. In any case, the school and sector should do more to assist international students. In Bristol, a government-funded ‘Coronavirus impact fund’ awarded all pupils hardship money, with great success. Due to the inadequacy of the “International hardship fund”, many students would be unable to afford a year without COVID.
Why not provide the same resources for international students as the University presently provides for struggling domestic students?
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