Bristol: Editorial – What about us? European students and their views on Brexit.

Most of around 125,000 European students enrolled to universities in the UK fear Brexit. It may also discourage new European students from taking higher education in the UK.

Coming from Poland, as European student myself, I see a huge danger of Brexit causing a lot trouble for students coming to British universities from European countries.

Why we study in the UK you might ask? Most of European countries don’t have as good education system as Britain does. That’s why European students coming to the UK can get better education on the same basis as British students. It also allows improving our language and finding more work opportunities.

The European Union seems to work really well with possibilities for European students in the UK, and also with international opportunities for British students.

At the moment, we all pay the same fees as British students and we are able to take student loans, however if Brexit happens we can all forget about that. Fees for European students will increase at least twice as much, and we won’t be even able to take out student loans any more. Taking into consideration that the cost of living in the UK is a lot more expensive than in most of European countries, European students might simply find it luxurious to come to the UK to study or simply not be able to afford it. If education is supposed to be a right, not privilege, that’s definitely not acceptable.

But not only European students can lose, British student will also suffer. For example, Erasmus programmes won’t be able to be fulfilled anymore. Therefore searching for international experience would be a lot harder. Right now everything is given on a silver platter.

I asked iCov co-writers, who are European students as well, to share their views about Brexit and its influence on us and other students coming to the UK from European countries to get higher education.

 

Kinga Fodor from Hungary

“As a European student, the fact that UK is a part of the European Union opened several doors for me and enabled me to study in a foreign country. Brexit would shut most of these doors and make it nearly impossible to continue my higher education in England. Getting a degree from an English institution in Journalism is far more valuable than a Hungarian qualification would be, and the quality of teaching in this field is more advanced as well. Leaving the European Union would mean I have to say goodbye to the tuition fee loan and alongside that, my degree. Since I don’t receive maintenance loan, staying in a country where the cost of living is significantly higher than at home already has its hardships, even with the financial support received from my family. Having a part-time job at a local nightclub is a crucial part of my life here – and it has been ever since I moved to the UK. However, with higher fees and no opportunity for a loan, no matter how hard I worked, my university experience here wouldn’t be possible. For this reason, Brexit could change my whole future – and unfortunately, not for the better.”

Airidas Blazukas from Lithuania

“At first I did not really care if the UK leaves the EU or not. Being a student means I will be able to go back and forth during my final year at University, even if it becomes more of an annoyance. But then I thought about what would it mean for other people from Lithuania (what is where I am from). I have more than a few friends who are currently working and living in the United Kingdom, and if the UK were to leave the EU, traveling back home would become sort of a problem. Another thing is, even if you do not want to admit it, European students come to England also to make money and usually work in factories. I myself had to work in one of these factories for a bit. What would that mean for the country from the economic perspective? Not a lot of UK citizens want to work in those places.”

It seems like Brexit might cause a bit of harm to European students coming to the UK to get higher education. So why would we want enable such opportunities, why would we want to make it harder for someone who is willing to leave friends and family over 1000 miles apart and come to foreign country to work hard and get a degree?

Natalia Kaluza

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