Brr… exit? ‘Britain exits’ or ‘breaks it’, as often presented in press coverage over the globe, has undoubtedly become an essential part of every small talk’s agenda. It is now positioned alongside, weather talk and Trump’s inappropriate behaviour and is regularly brought up even in pub environments. This is well justified when you consider the uncertainty Brexit generates among students and institutions.
When it comes to the conditions for foreign youngsters willing to go on a course in Britain, the picture has not majorly changed yet, but despite that, the percentage of those choosing to study elsewhere is already declining. A Ucas report announced a 4.4% drop of EU student applications, compared to those in 2016, which might not be a result of the practical changing conditions, but the lack of explanation surrounding Brexit consequences.
Karoliina, a Finnish second-year student at Newcastle University, is concerned about the lack of information for the future of the European students in the UK. She argues: ‘Not many changes have yet taken place (at least on a personal level to me) but instead there’s so many speculations on what might or might not happen.’
there’s so many speculations on what might or might not happen
There is a bunch of possible outcomes, which are still unconfirmed and only build up tensions amongst society. One thing is for sure, people who voted in favour of Brexit were tempted by the solemn promises of campaigners. This is what reinforces the popular notion that this vote was a very strategically played, relying on Englishmen’s inherent call for pure Britishness and the proclamation of the independence idea.’
However, a detail that seems lightly neglected when reporting the Brexit results is that, according to YouGov, the significant 71% of under-25s stood behind the decision to remain in the European Union. This may be associated with university experience and students’s acquaintance with foreign students in that environment. So, if you ask someone of this age group it is highly possible that they oppose leaving the EU, and are more conscious about the economic, cultural and ideological consequences, accompanying the already taken decision.
A major flaw in the post-Brexit process might be the possibility of putting students and young people off coming to Britain for legitimate reasons, especially those willing to study here and explore the local culture. It is unclear whether we would be able to enroll university courses the same way as we do now, which is a pity, but the hovering uncertainty does not seem to attract foreign students.
With regards to Europeans, they generally understand Britain’s reasons to leave the EU and they also realize the potential drawbacks the country may experience. Oliver, a second- year student with a dual nationality (Italian and English) focuses on the people attracted to the UK because of its opportunities for development. He argues:
‘Britain will lose many intellectually gifted individuals that knew they could shine to the best of their potential in the UK, simply because they were limited in their own home country. It won’t make too much of a difference for the same individuals (they’ll probably find another place in which they can export their talent/intelligence.
We hope that whatever the consequences are, they are as harmless as possible to both sides and this decision does not stop people from looking beyond the ‘closure of the British doors’’.
As an EU student, I am particularly grateful for the opportunity I was given – to obtain a high-standard education, while gaining unique, soul-stirring experience.
It is not the end of the world, and no matter what Brexit determines, I dare all of you, who are too bold to stay where you were born, to not stop travelling and discovering foreign lands.