The universities in Wales are reporting figures showing that international students have a great influence on its economic state. Last year, there were 22,000 students in Wales from 140 countries. A research that was conducted by the Viewforth Consulting showed that international students and their visitors gave a rise to the Welsh output by £716m, of which £585m came from non-EU students. Almost £50m of GVA was generated, and over 900 full-time jobs were reinforced by international students and their visitors in North Wales.
This vast economic contribution goes back to both on-campus and off-campus expenditure of tuition fees, accommodation costs, local cafes, bars and shops. Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams said: “Wales continues to be recognised internationally as an exceptional place to study and live, with a reputation for excellence. “This report demonstrates that the strength of Welsh universities in attracting students from all over the world to study here brings both social and economic value to our campuses and communities, with international students making a significant contribution to the wider Welsh economy.”
Nearly 44% of the total international students come from Asia, which is the largest number; the next largest grouping is EU students which are up to 25%; Africa 11.3%; and the Middle East 12.5%. Considering the economic benefits that overseas students bring to Wales through their spending, they are regarded as long-stay tourists, as they usually stay three or four years to complete their degrees and/or courses.
Further, an additional stream of short-term international leisure visitors comes to Wales, like family and friends to visit students, which fortifies a further economic boost. Chair, Universities Wales Professor Julie Lydon said: “This report demonstrates the immeasurable social and cultural value of our international students, showing that their presence brings immediate and significant economic value to our local and national economies.
“It lays out how an international Welsh higher education sector strengthens Wales’ global presence and attracts investment, with an immediate and positive impact on communities across Wales.”
A spokeswoman for Bangor University said: “Bangor University is recognised as an international University with a global outlook, a strong international focus, and a large and vibrant international student community, attracted by the excellent quality of education and student care offered by the University.
“This is reflected in the University’s position at 118th in the world for its International Outlook, according to the Times Higher Education World Ranking 2017.
“The University greets students from many countries and has several partnerships with universities around the globe, as well as welcoming international students to Bangor to study a range of subjects.
“Our International Students enjoy a vibrant community life, and are supported with activities to ensure that they learn about Wales and make the most of their time in Bangor.”