With up to 200,000 A level students unlikely to find a place in a UK university, I was interested to read that Dutch universities are attempting to tempt away British students, with the lure of tuition in English combined with lower fees and cost of living.
Before we dismiss this as media hype, we would do well to remind ourselves of the contribution overseas students make to UK universities and the wider economy. The UK has been very successful at attracting overseas students over the years, indeed the first recorded student was Emo of Friesland back in 1190. According to the Economist, 3m overseas students account for £2.9bn of university income (10% of the total) and add £2.3bn to the wider economy (not all alcohol related, they say).
So is it a good idea? My personal opinion is yes, and on a number of levels. Firstly, going to university is important as it broadens students experiences and what better than going to a different country to do so. Secondly, I do not see the logic in making students wait until they enter a university as it creates a log-jam for the next years intake. Thirdly, I gather that life in the Netherlands isn’t all football and Heineken, although that is often what the media would have you believe.
So why not consider going overseas to learn? It seems like a sensible decision to me.