Of the 500 students surveyed by research firm YouthSight, 85% said that having students on their course would help prepare them to work in a globalised economy, and 76% said is would help build a global network.
“Overall, people applying to university are optimistic – though not naïve – about studying alongside people from other countries”
And 87% said it would give them a better world view than working only with other domestic students.
“Overall, people applying to university are optimistic – though not naïve – about studying alongside people from other countries,” Nick Hillman, HEPI director, told The PIE News.
“They know it will make them more worldly-wise, and the results prove today’s students are tomorrow’s global citizens.”
The applicants surveyed were recruited through the UK higher education application platform UCAS, and made up a representative sample of domestic UK applicants in terms of gender, age and school type.
Results also showed that applicants’ attitudes towards international faculty are generally positive, with just 4% saying they hope not to have any lecturers from other countries.
Some applicants did express concern that the presence of international students in the classroom might impair learning, though the majority disagreed.
For example, 29% said they thought that international students might require more attention from teaching staff, though 39% said they would not.
And the same number said students without English as a first language might slow down a class, while 42% disagreed.
Only 11% said that having international students in a class might lead to lower quality academic discussions, with 67% saying this would not happen.
Hillman said part of the motivation behind the survey is to shift political debate around the hot topic of international students in the UK.
“The political debate on international students has been focused almost exclusively on arguments about economics and security,” he said. “We were keen to shift the focus to education and were pleasantly surprised by just how positive the results were.”
Sonal Minocha, pro-vice chancellor for global engagement at Bournemouth University said the survey results aren’t surprising but offer needed evidence in the education sector’s campaign to tackle the “restrictive attitude and policy toward international students”.
“We need a consistent and clearer message to our prospective international students to reassure them of our welcome invitation”
“We need a consistent and clearer message to our prospective international students to reassure them of our welcome invitation,” she told The PIE News. “A lot of damage has been done by the new visa regime. So we need a survey like this to be delivering policy impact too.”
In addition to adding original insight to the debate about international students, the survey also marks the tenth anniversary of Kaplan’s university pathway programmes.
“We wanted to learn more about the views held by UK-based students about to enter university, of studying alongside international students,” Linda Cowan, managing director told The PIE News.
“The results clearly show that domestic students believe their experience at university will be enriched by studying with international students.”