Why are international students important to the UK?

Posted 05 October 2015
Bellerbys international students with flags

Posted in


The UK is one of the top destinations in the world for international students. Celebrating the chance to meet the brightest minds from around the world, we have been welcoming students from all corners of the globe into our schools, colleges and universities for generations. 

Bellerbys College is passionate about delivering the best possible education to students from overseas. The College has been helping to prepare them for the rigours of UK university study for over 50 years.

The UK is uniquely supportive of international students because it values their talent, input, ideas and everything else they have to offer. More than 435,000 international students came to the UK in 2013-2014, according to UKCISA. According to HESA, they made up more than 18% of the UK student population that year, making a significant contribution to universities, the economy and British society as a whole.

Here are just some of the reasons why international students are so highly valued in the UK.

Our future business leaders

According to HESA’s latest figures (table F), almost 40% of Business and Administrative Studies students in UK higher education are overseas students. It’s the most popular subject area chosen by international students who come to study in the UK. It’s not surprising, as the UK, and London in particular, is a vital global and European business and financial centre.

For Britain, international students bring a fresh approach. Some of the world’s brightest minds offer new ideas through our Business-related degree and MBA programmes. As a nation that relies heavily on the financial services sector, attracting the best business minds is vital to the future success of the UK.

At Bellerbys College, we help prepare tomorrow’s business leaders through our Business-related GCSE and A Level Pathways, as well as our Pre-Masters programmes aimed at preparing international students for the challenges of the UK’s best university MBA programmes.

Enriching British life and international relations

The diversity that international students bring to schools, colleges and campus life at university enriches the educational experience for British students and fellow international students. Students from all over the world can learn from each other in ways far above and beyond the curriculum and course work can teach. Finding out about new cultures, traditions and languages helps students develop better social skills, cultural awareness, respect, and understanding of the world as a whole. With students forming friendships that can last a lifetime, international students in the UK help to build strong links with other nations for decades into the future.

Keeping research, technology and teaching world class 

The UK is renowned for its teaching excellence. According to the latest Research Assessment Exercise, the UK’s research work is considered world leading. We need the contribution and skills of top international students and academics to keep our universities at the cutting edge of global knowledge, technology and innovation. HESA’s report also shows that international students account for around 45% of the UK's postgraduate students, many of them in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects. Without them, some research may not even be possible in the UK.

The economy

International students also contribute a significant amount to the British economy. In a 2013 government report, students from overseas were found to have contributed £13.6 billion to the UK economy in terms of tuition and accommodation fees alone in 2011. They also contribute every time they shop at our stores, enjoy eating out, going to gigs – or spend money anywhere in our communities. Without the financial aid of international students, the UK’s recovery from the global economic crisis would have been even harder to accomplish.