Speaking for Ourselves

What do international students mean to the University of Westminster?

What do international students mean to the University of Westminster?

Jane Wallis, Head of Global Mobility, University of Westminster

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - What do international students mean to the University of Westminster?

There are a lot of conversations going on now, due to the pandemic and the resulting travel and visa restrictions, about the value international students bring not only to UK universities but also globally. 

There is no doubt that international students make a valuable contribution to our universities and also to the wider community that the University sits in. 

The value of international students has and always will be about much more than the financial contributions they bring to universities. The University of Westminster has been involved in international education since 1888 with its first school journey abroad to Switzerland.  We have worked to bring and send out students to and from international destinations because we understand the importance of a global learning landscape for all our students. One of my favourite facts about our history and our contribution to London is that we appear in immigrant literature as a place where a person was able to transition into wider UK society and to learn and gain the skills needed to make the UK home.

Having international students in our classrooms enriches our learning experience, it allows those of our students who might not be able to engage in a physical international experience the option to learn about how people from other countries think and view the world, contributing to the global skills set we all need in today’s world. It can also help UK students see that an international learning experience is both valuable and a possibility for them, empowering UK students to embrace an overseas learning experience for themselves. 

Many international students go on to work in the UK after their studies have completed, and there is no doubt that the ability to attract this international talent benefits our wider society. The role of international education in bringing these individuals to the UK should not be underestimated; it is a key reason why the UK has notable successes in, for example, areas of scientific research. As the pandemic has also shown, an international workforce has been key in ensuring the UK can fill its demand in sectors such as engineering, technology and medicine, and the UK Government recognised this in its own Migration Advisory Committee findings in 2018.

The University is currently home to 169 nationalities and we are proud that so many international students choose to study with us. International students bring many benefits to the University and the community we serve. We are proud of the diversity of our University and the positive global student learning environment this creates.


This article was written and published as part of Migrant Voice's International Students Week (13-17 July 2020). We're celebrating international students in the UK and raising their voices on the issues that affect them. Read more here.


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