Next year, a record 6000 students from beyond the shores of Europe will enroll at Scotland’s universities.
Applications have soared by 20% , according to the Universities and College Admissions Service (Ucas) figures issued yesterday.
Many of them will scarcely have heard of the place for the first 20 years of their lives, but they are likely to be an important part of Scotland’s future, bringing their tuition fees and taking away not just a degree but abiding memories and impressions with which to influence the people back home.
They may harbour ambitions like Sooho Choi, 27, from Seoul, who has been in Scotland since August last year studying at Strathclyde University Business School. She hopes to be back here in a few years running a Korean electronics factory.
From graduating in computer engineering from Pusan University in 1999, her route to Scotland has been methodical and focused.
She said, “I wanted to study in the UK first of all because it is a one-year intensive masters degree course, whereas in America it takes two years. I did not have a masters degree and I felt my engineering degree was not enough for me to progress in management. I needed to learn about how business is done in other countries, and what differences there are in the UK. I heard that Scotland has a developed biotechnology industry, Strathclyde Business School has a very high reputation, and it is cheaper for me to live here than in London."
Jim Wallace, deputy first minister said, “I’m encouraged by the increase in the number of overseas students applying to study at Scotland’s universities that these interim figures show – a rise of 20% compared with the previous year. This is a reflection of the world class reputation of our universities, the quality of life in Scotland, and programmes like the first minister’s Fresh Talent Initiative. International students make important social, cultural and academic economic contributions to Scotland and the executive will continue working to encourage them to stay on after they complete their studies."