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Int'l Students in UK Prefer Individual Living

clock iconCreated At:14 August, 2023
write iconCreated By:Allaa Ashraf

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Research indicates that the expense, accessibility, and standard of student housing have become increasingly significant factors for international students when deciding on their study destination.

Released in July, the report by Global Student Living and College & University Business Officers delves into the accommodation experiences of international students, particularly those from China, India, and Nigeria.

In comparison to local students in the UK, the report found that international students attach greater significance to accommodation as a decisive factor when making their educational choices. It suggested that educational institutions evaluate their housing alternatives to meet the forthcoming students' demands.

Based on a survey encompassing nearly 43,000 students, of whom 15,180 were international students across the UK and Ireland, the study revealed that international students are twice as inclined as their UK counterparts to prioritise independent living.

However, the report also emphasised the importance of establishing a "sense of community" to cater to various groups of students.

"As the trend of increasing global student mobility persists, with a substantial population of over 700,000 international students presently pursuing education in the UK and Ireland, there exist complexities in meeting the requirements of a more heterogeneous student body overall, including distinct international groups," remarked Jan Capper, Executive Director of CUBO.

The report underscored that among Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, UK, and Irish students, Chinese and Indian students exhibit more favourable social experiences than their Nigerian counterparts.

"Chinese students exhibit a greater inclination compared to other student groups to favour solo living arrangements or cohabiting with friends," the document details. Their preferences also prioritise aspects such as the size and amenities of kitchens, technology and Wi-Fi provisions, and the range and quality of available amenities.

Regarding Indian students, among the 2,333 participants surveyed, the report stated that considerations encompass kitchen size and facilities, bedroom characteristics, and the availability of communal spaces.

Like their fellow students, the 937 Nigerian students surveyed emphasised the importance of value for money. They also expressed willingness to pay higher rents for enhanced bedroom spaces, improved amenities, communal areas, and innovative design

According to the report, the varying challenges faced by different student groups necessitate ongoing prioritisation of well-being support. It pointed out that Indian students reported significantly higher levels of homesickness compared to other student groups.

The report suggests that tailored support, particularly addressing homesickness, workload management, budgeting, and part-time job opportunities, could be more effective for these specific groups.

Anticipating a shift in the composition of international students, the report suggests that accommodations will need to adapt. While Chinese students will maintain their significance as a crucial market, other source countries are gaining prominence. This shift poses challenges for catering to the needs of an even more diverse range of international students.

"The emerging cohorts from countries like India, Nigeria, and others display a notable sensitivity to pricing. Moreover, they heavily rely on part-time work to complement their studies. These markets are particularly susceptible to shifts in government policies regarding family visas and post-study work opportunities, both of which are currently facing challenges."

The report advises institutions to evaluate the consequences of their international recruitment strategies carefully. They should maintain a diverse range of accommodation options and possess the flexibility to adjust service delivery to match the evolving student composition.

Institutions seeking to broaden their international student demographic should consider implementing "pro-active interventions" that enable students to connect with a substantial number of peers similar to them, as this seems to have a positive influence.

The research discovered that 51% of international students prioritise independent living, whereas only 25% of UK students share the same preference.

"Students from the UK (68%), India (70%), and Nigeria (70%) are notably more inclined than their Chinese counterparts (50%) to prioritise having an en-suite. This difference is likely due to the fact that Chinese students are more predisposed to prioritising complete independent living," the report elaborates.

Furthermore, the report outlines distinctions in how various student groups identify housing options. Chinese students show a greater tendency to arrange accommodation through education agents, while Indian and Nigerian students generally prefer university websites.


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