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UK: Face-to-face teaching vital for int’l students

Nearly half (45%) of prospective international students interested in studying in the UK have said they will only feel comfortable travelling overseas to study when campuses are open and face-to-face teaching has resumed, according to research by QS Quacquarelli Symonds

QS has conducted a study on prospective international students' attitudes to studying abroad. Photo: Pexels

The new research included 1,021 respondents interested in studying in the UK

The study was conducted to explore prospective international students’ attitudes to studying abroad 6months on from the start of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March 2020. 

“These insights play a vital role in helping universities understand prospective international students’ priorities”

Other key findings were that 43% of respondents said they would travel overseas to study once a vaccine is developed and available and 25% said they would be comfortable travelling their destination country as soon as they were legally allowed to.

“As universities across the country begin the new academic year in very different circumstances to previous years, these insights play a vital role in helping universities understand prospective international students’ priorities and concerns during this challenging period for the sector,” said MD of QS, Jessica Turner. 

“Our research highlights that the cessation of face-to-face teaching and government travel restrictions have both impacted prospective international students’ abilities and plans to study in the UK.

“The data also underlines the importance of universities continuing to effectively engage and support its community of prospective international students, with many of them currently planning to travel abroad and begin their studies in 2021,” she added. 

The new research included 1,021 respondents interested in studying in the UK.

The data forms part of QS’ ongoing research into the impact of Covid-19 on global higher education, which began in February and highlights the changing dynamics the pandemic is having on the international student market.

According to QS, it shows that restrictions on leaving and arriving in different countries have been the most impactful barrier on the ability of prospective international students to start their studies in 2020. 

“Additionally, face-to-face teaching is the most important factor for prospective international students when considering if they feel comfortable travelling abroad to study,” a statement from QS said. 

Other findings were that 32% of prospective international students said they had intended to begin their studies in 2020 and that 84% of respondents who said they would like to start their studies in 2021 currently expect to do so.

Government restrictions on leaving their home countries impacted 33% of prospective international students’ abilities to start their studies in 2020, while 30% of respondents said government restrictions on entering their new countries had impacted their plans.

Over three quarters (77%) of prospective international students believe that universities have been effective at supporting international students during the outbreak of Covid-19. 

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