Brexit – a word so commonly used that it has even been entered into the Oxford dictionary, the most respected English language dictionary. It comes from the combination of the words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’, and is defined by Oxford as ‘The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union’. This seems simple when put like that, but the reality is as far from simple as you could get. What does Brexit actually mean?
There are endless questions that must be answered before anyone can tell you what Brexit really means as the British government holds talks with the other European governments and the European Union itself. The question that matters most to students around Europe, however, is how Brexit will affect their plans to study abroad. As the title of this article suggests, the short answer is: it won’t.
Before this answer is expanded on, it’s necessary to have some context to the discussion. In 2016, after 41 years of membership, the British public had a referendum on their future in the EU. The country was split. 48% of people voted to remain a member and 52% voted to leave.
Despite the fact that this referendum took place over 2 years ago, Brexit remains undoubtedly the hottest topic of debate in the United Kingdom at this moment. The question of Britain’s departure from the EU is being discussed not just in the Houses of Parliament, but all over the country: in offices, restaurants, pubs and clubs.
How will Brexit affect Europeans wanting to study in England?
- Firstly, there’s the question of visas. Currently EU citizens do not need a visa to come and stay in the UK, but other people from other countries around the world do. This is one of many questions that is still to be answered, but if it is decided that EU citizens will also now need a visa to enter the UK then this is still by no means an obstacle to studying in the UK. Student visas can be obtained either through a university if you are attending one or simply through your language school. The length of these student visas is usually between 6 and 11 months, and they can be easily extended with the help of your university or language school as necessary.
- Another important factor in deciding whether to come to the UK to study is how expensive it is. Although compared to some European countries the UK is already quite expensive, the good news is that this shouldn’t increase due to Brexit. You’ll still need to exchange your local currency into British pounds, and in fact the pound could even weaken after the UK leaves the EU which would make it cheaper for foreigners than it is now!
- Finally, perhaps one of the most important considerations for foreigners coming to study in the UK post-Brexit is whether they will still be welcome. The answer to this is a categorical yes. Brexit wasn’t a poll on decreasing the number of people visiting the UK, and it also wasn’t a poll on whether there should be fewer immigrants entering the country. There were many social, political and economic factors which contributed to the public’s vote to leave the EU. Indeed, in a recent poll conducted by Universities UK, 75% of respondents expressed their desire for the number of international students in the UK to stay the same or even to increase.
So, with no need to worry about visas, the possibility of a better deal on the currency, and the vast majority of people positive about the impact of international students, there has almost never been a better time to come and study in the UK! What are you waiting for?