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Why international education still matters

17 August 2020

Study Group CEO Emma Lancaster explains why international education is more important than ever in these extraordinary times. Sharing ideas, experiences and knowledge with those from other countries and backgrounds is vital in the push to build a better world for everyone.

Over the past few months, international students have shown resilience and purpose which deserves our full respect. In the face of a global pandemic, new health measures and a restriction on international travel, young people have seen more changes to their education than anyone could have imagined - teaching moved online, assessment changed, dreams of moving overseas to pursue their educational dreams were put into question.

However, what was never uncertain was the determination of these young people and of their teachers. Where it was not possible to meet face to face immediately, teachers developed online courses and found new ways to engage with and support their students. The preparation and study skills which would normally have been shared in person began remotely, and students themselves built online friendships with the cohort they still plan to meet in person once it is safe to travel once more.

After the initial lockdowns, careful preparations began to resume the activities we treasure, especially those related to education. Teachers and students showed one another their commitment to reaching their final destination even if the journey was more challenging than they had ever imagined.

The importance of international education and the benefits of widening a young person’s horizons at a leading university had only been postponed, not cancelled. Countries and universities still want to welcome talented students from around the world to share their ideas, build friendships and achieve their dreams. The question is not if, but when and how. It has been wonderful to see students and teachers find solutions to this challenge.

As the Chief Executive of Study Group - an organisation which has been committed to providing access to the highest quality international education for a quarter of a century, and which welcomes students from every continent - I am reminded daily that international education is an unquestionable benefit to young people and to society. I have seen students from nations as diverse as China, India or Saudi Arabia grow in confidence as they acquire new study and language skills which allow them to thrive in their chosen disciplines. They have gone on to shine in their studies and in university life, and have taken all they have learned as confident global citizens back to their own countries working as engineers, in business or improving local health services.

This year’s international students have already demonstrated that they also have the qualities to succeed and make the world a better place. They have faced obstacles and overcome them. They too want to make a difference.

Now we simply look forward to helping a new cohort of outstanding international students to achieve all they have to offer - online at first if that’s the only way, and then teaching in person as soon as we can. International education still matters. International students will continue to make a better world. And the warmest of welcomes awaits those whose ideas and enthusiasm will be needed to build a better world.

Emma Lancaster
Chief Executive
Study Group

Find out more about Study Group’s commitment to highly engaging teaching and learning here.

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