Two thirds of international students in London work during their studies

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Posted on February 6, 2024


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Among other conclusions, a recent assessment on students’ experiences in London made the suggestion that data on the well-being of international students should be more uniformly shared throughout universities.

A recent report titled “Living and Learning in London in 2023” by London Higher, the city’s higher education association, describes how both domestic and foreign students view living as a learner in the city. 

The report’s findings also highlight how highly the city’s post-graduation job opportunities are valued by people who are graduating from there. The report states that internships and placements are completed by London students on average for 6.41 hours. The average for English is a mere 5.57. 

According to the research, “these figures show that students in London are more likely to select courses linked to placements and internships, and paint a positive picture of the employability-boosting activities available in the capital.”

According to data from 2022, London students were marginally more likely than the typical student in the UK to assess course organization (+2%), the possibility of landing a well-paying job (+1), and opportunities for work placement and career preparation (+4%).

According to the survey, “even though some of these gaps are tiny, when combined, they paint a picture of a London student population that is particularly employability-minded.”

The survey speculated that part of the reason London students are more focused on the employability results of their course than their overall university experience could be “due to an older and more international student body with clear career goals in mind.”

But one thing the research emphasizes is that it’s crucial to avoid generalizing about the group, especially when it comes to how institutions approach and handle their health. This is especially true with relation to international students studying in the capital. 

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ student,” said Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher Education, “especially in London, which is home to the most hyper-diverse student body in the UK, and arguably the world.”

In addition to taking advantage of London’s job opportunities, international students studying in the city make up a cohort in which two-thirds work a paid job while they are in school, which is much higher than the UK average of 55%. 

That being said, the hours put in at those jobs are really lower than normal. According to the survey, international students are the main focus of this justification, probably because of visa limits on their work hours. 

Additionally, it suggests that going forward, schools start to examine how many working hours students are putting in, but they shouldn’t go overboard with these assessments.

Instead of panicking about how long work hours can cause low grades, physical and mental health problems, or even non-retention, we should be observing why students are taking on this work and determining whether it enhances or detracts from their overall educational experience and results. 

London’s universities do have hardship funds and other measures, such counseling, to support students enduring hardship for those who are undertaking paid jobs out of economic need.

According to Beech, “tracking student working hours could be a crucial early indicator to which students may need this additional support.” 

The general level of living satisfaction among international students in the city is likewise more divided than it has been recently. On a scale of one to ten, 16% of international students from outside the EU still place a nine or ten for life satisfaction, compared to 14% of EU students who do the same.