Why international students are so important to us

Richards Wells, Coventry University Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), stood inside a university office space with a white desk behind him

Richards Wells, Coventry University Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International)

University news

Wednesday 20 September 2023

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With the news that Coventry University Group has ranked as the number one UK institution for ‘International Student Diversity’ in the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, Richard Wells, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), explains the value of our international students goes far beyond what you may think.

We are incredibly proud of our global reach and for being recognised as a leading recruiter of international students. It is one of the many things that makes Coventry University Group (CUG) the organisation that it is, and to be recognised as the number one UK institution for ‘International Student Diversity’ in the QS World University Rankings: Europe, is a testament to this.

The UK is one of the most diverse and multicultural countries in the world and international students have a significant impact on its economic and financial growth. Universities UK’s report on the 2021/2022 intake of international students demonstrates this, showing that they contributed £41.9bn to the UK economy that year. There is a lot of talk in the media on the “unhealthy dependency” we, as higher-education providers in England, have on international students due to the financial benefits they provide. International students do bring with them higher tuition fees and are a considerable source of income for universities across the country, but it is important to remember that building a global student portfolio is by no means incentivised solely by the idea of financial gain.

Creating Better Futures

At CUG, our international students play a vital role in helping us achieve our mission of creating better futures and we are proud of how they represent who we are as an organisation. They enrich our cultural diversity and enhance our global reputation, research and student experience while making the university a more attractive proposition for future cohorts and collaborators. They encourage those within the Group to operate with an international outlook, bringing great benefits to our other students, our colleagues and communities in the process. They enable us to share best practice in research and build and maintain important relationships with industry. Our international students help ensure we’re in the best possible position to have a positive impact within the communities we serve, both at home and abroad.

Alongside our bourgeoning reputation for international students, we are also recognised as a successful research institution. Our research is designed to tackle the global societal and economic challenges facing society today and, through our collaborative partnerships around the world, we are delivering innovative solutions with a local impact. We’re committed to creating a diverse and inclusive research environment and, with their unique perspectives and experiences, our international students are helping us to achieve this. Whether it’s our undergraduates investigating the future of transport, or postgraduate researchers pushing the boundaries of our knowledge in mathematics, our international students are making a real difference to those around them.

From Africa to Asia

The diverse range of students within Coventry University Group also helps us attract collaborative partners from across industry and academia. Their presence contributes to our global reputation as a higher education establishment, improving our worldwide reputation as innovators and disruptors. The Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) we’ve entered into with academic institutions around the world, from Africa to Asia, are a by-product of our ever-growing global student population, and help to ensure we play a key role in exciting joint research projects all over the world.

Additionally, the Centre for Global Learning incorporates the skill of our talented colleagues and postgraduate researchers who strive to develop educational innovation and excellence on an international scale, exploring under exploited areas for development of new pedagogical insights and societal impact. While the importance of international students is evident in the here and now, their value to Coventry University Group, Coventry and the UK does not end when they graduate. Every corner of the globe has Coventry graduates who have fond memories of their time in the UK. This growing international network is helping to foster new and exciting connections and partnerships that grow our influence as an organisation and boost Coventry and the UK’s reputation as a place to study, work and do business.

Of course, international students represent a source of valuable income to all universities, but at Coventry, they represent far more than that. They bring knowledge, perspective and cultural enrichment to our institution, while also inspiring the next generation of global students to study with us. They are integral to our success today, and tomorrow, and we look forward to welcoming many more in the near future.