Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh has joined forces with students, academics and leading organisations to champion the benefits of an international higher education sector in the UK. Around 25% of QMU’s students are international and come from over 70 countries worldwide.
QMU has joined more than 100 universities and organisations â€‹from â€‹across the UK to advocate for international students, staff, research and collaborations in higher education.
The #WeAreInternational campaign is driven by universities, student groups and people across the UK who celebrate the UK’s long history of leading in international higher education. The UK welcomes over 400,000 international students each year – contributing to student life, the economic and academic success of the HE sector and regional economies across the UK. It calls for universities to be given the tools and policies needed to remain open, friendly, inclusive and diverse.
The campaign underpins widespread discussion about recent political speeches involving international students and the perceptions this may communicate internationally.
We’re deeply proud of our international university community and what we gain from our diverse student and staff population is immeasurable – Professor Petra Wend, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of QMU
Professor Petra Wend, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of QMU, said: “We’re deeply proud of our international university community and what we gain from our diverse student and staff population is immeasurable.
“Scholars from across the continent and the world enhance our academic life, knowledge and our economic growth. They are central to the teaching of students and research in everything from our specialist research and teaching areas of health and rehabilitation, sustainable business and creativity and culture.
“At QMU, we’re committed to ensuring our university remains a diverse and inclusive community of international scholarship open to students and staff from across the world. We greatly value the international research projects involving our staff and those of other institutions. Such work brings together knowledge and perspectives from across the world, often addressing very immediate problems facing society.”
Speaking about the UK’s international HE sector, Director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern, said: “Our universities have been welcoming international scholars to our shores since the middle ages. The economic contribution international staff and students now make to UK cities and towns is immense, both through support for local businesses and subsequent job creation, and via research-led startups and entrepreneurship.
The friendships and knowledge that international students take with them after they study here can lead to a lifetime of partnerships, interest and inward-investment opportunities for the UK – Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International
“At the same time, the friendships and knowledge that international students take with them after they study here can lead to a lifetime of partnerships, interest and inward-investment opportunities for the UK. Many of our former international students act as our ambassadors – encouraging visitors, international business links and research partnerships.”
The #WeAreInternational campaign was first developed in response to the increased difficulties facing international students who wish to study in the UK. It has been relaunched nationally following the EU referendum result. The campaign is also supported by many student groups across the UK who are passionate about retaining inclusive, diverse and international environments of study.
Mostafa Rajaai, International Students Officer for the National Union of Students (NUS) said: ‘It is difficult to imagine what British universities would be like without the diversity, skills, different points of view and knowledge that international students bring with them to campuses. There is a long tradition of students coming from all over the world to the UK for a world class education and I hope this will continue for years to come.
“As the world we live in becomes more and more connected and globalised, having students from all over the world in the same class, on the same campus and in the same community, guarantees a high quality and diverse educational experience, not only for international students, but for British students who need an international education more than ever before.
To celebrate the launch of its campaign, #WeAreInternational has released a film that includes international student and academic voices talking about life in UK universities.