The benefits of studying abroad for students are well-documented: international experience is high on the list of qualities desired by graduate employers; the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people and become immersed in a new culture doesn’t often come along in the years after university; and it opens up a whole world of renowned academic institutions. However, it’s easy to fail to consider the benefits from the other side – what about the benefits that international students bring to the country where they’re studying?
We’re not simply talking about cultural enrichment and diversity, although those are all very real and important benefits of having international students. A new study has shown that international students in the UK generate more than £25 billion for the economy, and significantly support local businesses and jobs across the country.
The UK is the second-most popular place in the world for international students to attend university, in large part due to the academic reputation and wealth of its higher education institutions (the only country with more international students is the USA). In 2014-15, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 437,000 international students in the UK: almost a fifth of all students.