81% of international students in the UK are happy they decided to commence their studies during the pandemic.
Amid challenges, new research by IDP Connect and UUKi shows the majority of students pursuing a UK education are happy they commenced their studies in 2020.
UK international students were significantly happier with their country choices than those who opted for Canada or Australia. When asked to rate their happiness on a scale of one to ten, 81% rated their happiness six or above.
Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International (UUKi), commented:
“The findings from IDP show the large majority of international students who chose, despite the pandemic, to start their studies in the UK in 2020, are happy with their decision – and happier than students who chose other competing destinations.
“This is testament to swift action from the UK Government, and the fantastic work of universities and the whole of the UK higher education sector in welcoming and supporting international students throughout this period.”
The findings also reveal that international students rank the UK the best in terms of ease of obtaining a visa, and above Canada, Australia and New Zealand in terms of quality of education and overall satisfaction.
Furthermore, international students arriving in the UK reported receiving more support than from any other country, demonstrating flexibility on start dates, support for physical and mental health, and providing overall support when quarantining. This includes organising food provision and accommodation for students during quarantine periods, airport transfers and free health care.
Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, said:
“These findings show the hard work and support that has gone on in the sector to support students throughout the pandemic. The findings will also be of encouragement to all of the future international students who can see that the UK is not only open to international students but also welcoming and supportive. This research brings the voice of current students to the fore. Institutions and the sector should use this research to amplify these positive messages to future students.
The UK sector should be commended for how it worked together to share pragmatic, practical advice with students and families amid extremely challenging circumstances. By being clear and upfront with the current environment, students and families were able to make their own decisions about the next steps in their study journey.”
The findings are part of the third instalment of IDP Connect’s International Student Crossroads Research, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of more than 5,000 international students, current applicants and offer holders to higher education institutions across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Overall results showed that the UK’s policy of remaining open to international students throughout the pandemic has driven increasingly positive sentiment to the UK. The policy has also strengthened perceptions of the UK’s overall handling of the crisis amongst international student applicants and offerees.
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