Foreign students rate British universities as the best in the world for satisfaction

by Ray Clancy on July 26, 2017

British universities are popular with students from all over the world with the latest research showing that the vast majority of overseas students are satisfied with their studies.

The UK is ranked first by international students for overall satisfaction, according to an analysis based on the findings of the International Students Barometer, the world’s biggest survey of international students.

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It found that overall satisfaction of international students studying in the UK is very high with 91% of international students across all levels of study reporting that they are satisfied with their experience in the UK.

The reputation of the institution is the most important factor in international students’ decision to choose the UK at the undergraduate and postgraduate taught levels at 93% and 95% respectively. For postgraduate research students, the most important factor is the quality of research at their chosen institution at 97%.

The UK emerges top in terms of students recommending its universities. Undergraduates ranked the UK first, followed by Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Australia and then Canada. Postgraduate students also put the UK top, followed by the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, Canada and Australia. Research postgraduates ranked the UK top, then Australia, Germany, the United States and Canada.

While undergraduate international students focus on a mix of social aspects and the learning environment, postgraduate taught students place significant emphasis on the learning dimension of the student experience. For postgraduate research students, the quality of the research environment and employability are important drivers of recommendation.

Meanwhile, a separate report shows how British universities have changed, with more foreign students and also more academics from overseas. Non-UK nationals accounted for nearly two thirds of growth in all academic staff since 2006.

For some subjects, such as engineering, and the humanities and language based studies, non-UK nationals have accounted for most of the growth in academic staff numbers, 63.5% and 54.6% of growth between 2006 2016 respectively.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, acknowledged that the last 10 years has seen significant changes for universities, both in terms of the way they are funded and their increasingly important roles locally and internationally.

‘UK universities continue to face a number of challenges, including the possible impact of Brexit. We have to continue to work hard to attract the staff, students, funding and partnerships that are central to the sector’s, and the country’s, success,’ she said.

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