Mandatory Credit: Photo by Geoff Pugh/REX/Shutterstock
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Geoff Pugh/REX/Shutterstock

International KU students faced with uncertainty after Brexit vote

Foreign students at KU have welcomed a drop in the pound following the Brexit vote which means they can study and live in Kingston for less but wish the UK had remained in the European Union regardless.

Ine Julia, Rojahn Schwebs and Nina Soberg, Norwegian students studying international relations and criminology, and Zac Fountain, an American history and human rights student, have all benefited from the changes in the exchange rate.

“I woke up to the BBC notification on my phone and was in shock,” said Schwebs.

“I never thought that the UK would leave the EU. That said, the low value of the pound has benefited me extremely as £1 last year was equal to 13 Norwegian kroner and £1 now equals closer to 10 Norwegian kroner. That means I have saved about 8000 Norwegian kroner solely in tuition fees this semester,” Schwebs added.

Fountain said: “The pound has fallen to an all-time low against the dollar, which is a positive outcome for me personally.” 

Despite the financial gain for international students, Schwebs, Soberg and Fountain all said they would have opted to remain if they could have voted.

Soberg said: “This is a difficult question as I knew that Brexit would result in an economic profit for me as a overseas student. However, if I was British, I believe I would have voted to stay in EU because I believe the UK is economically more safe and strong as a part of the EU.”

The university have confirmed that they are committed to remaining “open, outward looking and inclusive”.

A KU spokeswoman said: “Kingston University is committed to continuing to provide high quality teaching and learning for all of our students and continuing the wide ranging research it conducts with a number of international partners across an array of subject areas.”

Brexit will probably affect students from EU countries more in the future after the UK has implemented article 50, which is due to happen in March, and negotiated the terms of their exit of the EU.

As well as the issue of Brexit happening there are concerns on tuition fees rising for foreign students.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also announced that there will be a crackdown on visas for foreign students.

The new tough restrictions will require international students to have more financial savings, as well as demanding better English from prospective students.

In the Conservative party conference, Rudd said that some companies were giving away jobs to foreigners due to a “tick-box culture”, despite British citizens being capable.

This pressure is echoing into universities as they face increasing pressure to offer places to British nationals over international students. Rudd explained that she was passionately committed to making sure that the UK’s world-leading institutions could attract the biggest and brightest students possible.

However, she does not believe that a one-size-fits all approach to student selection is really right for the hundreds of different universities that provide thousands of different courses across the country.

Rudd said: “We will also look for the first time at whether our student immigration rules should be tailored to the quality of the course and the quality of the educational institutes… But a student immigration system that treats every student and university as equal only punishes those we should want to help.”

Summing up her plan on reducing immigrants and foreign workers Rudd said that she would try to get immigration down to a sustainable level by reducing the numbers from the EU in the long term. With her three year plan, and by reforming students and work routes, pressures on public services would be reduced.

For now, EU students are still paying the same amount as British students in tuition fees, and will have access to loans worth up to £28,000 until at least 2020.

Second year international relations student from Italy, Ilaria Ferrari, said that nothing much has changed other than the hope for an inclusive future with a good outcome of Brexit.

“I really can’t see a positive with the UK’s decision to leave,” she said. “So far no big changes have happened, but the future is unpredictable so we just need to wait and hope it won’t be bad. I would have voted to remain if I could have.”

“The more people working together for the future of humanity the better results we would get,” said Ferrari.

About Idha Valeur

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