Oxford ‘failing’ foreign students

first_imgInternational students have criticised the University for failing to help them successfully integrate into life at Oxford, and have complained that their fees are unjustifiably high.In a Cherwell survey of international students from colleges across the University, almost 50% of the respondents admitted to having difficulties integrating with fellow students at Oxford and agreed that not enough was being done to help them.A member of the OUSU International Students’ Committee (ISC), said that he felt support from the University was ‘seriously lacking,’ adding that ‘international students in Oxford are barely acknowledged, let alone catered for. Fees are huge but there is no help financially, and there is a serious lack of transparency.’Anuvrat Rao, an Economics and Management student at Mansfield, said that although his experience of Oxford had been positive, he felt let down by the university and his college who had not given him enough support. ‘As an international student, I don’t really see what the university do for us. I felt a bit left in the dark when I first arrived here. I wasn’t given any induction or information,’ he said.International students form 14 per cent of full-time undergraduates and 63% of the graduate population at Oxford. According to statistics compiled by former lecturer and Senior Tutor at the London School of Economics Mike Reddin, Oxford is the third most expensive university for international student studies in the UK, with students facing fees of up to £17,800 for science-based courses, while those studying for MBAs are charged in the region of £35,000.Respondents to Cherwell’s questionnaire complained about the ‘extortionate’ fees they faced, with 37% stating that they were unfair. Students argued in favour of more grants and scholarships for international students, and several said they felt their fees were merely used to subsidise national students’ tuition.Co-chair of the ISC Angel Sarmiento agreed that the issue of fees was a ‘valid concern’, but pointed out that Oxford tuition fees were not out of proportion with other top universities around the world, such as Harvard, which charges around £22,600 a year.A Queen’s College undergraduate said that the lack of financial aid from the University made other institutions more attractive: ‘Many colleges, including my own, don’t offer any scholarship or bursary for foreign students from developed countries. This makes the US, where financial aid is more available for international students, a more tempting destination, and indeed, many good international students are lured away from Oxbridge by top US institutions.’Students have called on the University to do more to help promote integration, with suggestions including the creation of a ‘buddy’ system, assigning each international student a British student to help them settle in, as well as the organisation of more ‘mixer’ events and greater provision of college accommodation.Over a quarter of survey respondents agreed that it was difficult for international students to befriend nationals and commented on the divide which exists between the two groups. A Wadham undergraduate commented, ‘You really have to be proactive in order to integrate, and even then it can be difficult’ and she suggested the organisation of socials where international students could meet nationals.In response to the survey results, a Oxford University spokesperson indicated recent developments in provision for international students, including a ‘meet at greet’ service at Heathrow and the prioritisation of international scholarships in its fundraising campaign.She said, ‘The University takes these issues seriously. We are not complacent and will continue with our efforts to improve opportunities for cultural integration further.’Âlast_img

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