Brexit, xenophobia and international students: how to combat 'public paranoia’ over immigration
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No sector in the UK has more enthusiastically embraced globalisation than higher education. Top universities have erected campuses in new continents, expanded their share of students from abroad, and touted their instruction of “global citizens”.The University of Oxford, for example, boasts that its “international profile rivals that of any university in the world”. My own institution labels itself “London’s Global University”. Such branding doubtlessly appeals to a new footloose class of international elites. Yet as
Too many students?Cultural xenophobia may explain some antipathy toward international students. Yet my own research with Stanford political scientist Carlos X. Lastra Anadón paints a more complex picture. It seems the public’s perceived self-interest also plays a pivotal role in shaping attitudes. We discovered people were about 15% more likely to
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Valuable skillsIf international students do have a downside, it’s that they too often leave after graduation. This deprives the economy of valuable skills. Yet this is a problem with restrictive immigration policies, not talented international students. As Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of London First, a not for profit advocacy group complained:
With firms struggling to fill skills gaps and vacancies outstripping the people available to fill them, it is economic madness to send these talented youngsters packing as soon as their studies are over.As someone who teaches at one of the world’s most international universities, I know firsthand the unique benefits of international students. Balancing a global student body with a commitment to the nation isn’t a zero-sum game. UK universities know this, but they need to do better at explaining why. If, as my research shows, self-interest drives public support for international students, then it’s essential that Britons know the facts. International students offer myriad advantages for the UK – and they should be welcomed with open arms. Thomas Gift, Lecturer of Political Science and Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Programme, UCL This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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