Following the decision to leave the European Union, European born students are concerned about their future in the United Kingdom.
Andrei Tuta, the president of the Romanian Society at Birmingham City University, raised a number of concerns saying:
“There are many students who gave up on coming to England for studies. They were accepted by the universities but refused to go anymore. They got scared that they would need a student visa, that they would be forced to pay more expensive fees, or that they won’t be able to finish their studies. “
Regarding the students that changed their mind on coming here, he says he disagrees with their decision but he won’t judge. European students will keep receiving loans to fund their studies, and if not they will still find methods to get the money just like universities will find new methods to lure students to their studying offers.
Having an important role in the Romanian society and being one of the first students on his course he had the chance to talk at different conferences and studying abroad fairs in Romania representing BCU.
“The number of international students will drop, but I don’t think there will be a situation where you will stop seeing International students at UK universities. There will be someone there who will think “I’m going to get a bank loan of £27.000 to pay for my studies. There will be students who will make efforts to come here.”
As the leader of the society he realised the brexit movement got students together.
“It united us because we realised we are being left out here and we are forced to survive. Our primary instinct was to help each other and form new friendships.”
He feels there is a moral responsibility for international students coming to study here, because the pressure of failing is even more intense than for other students.
“We come here, leaving our homes, with parents who send us money, who pay for our rent and we don’t have the intention to go back to our country saying: mom, dad, I failed this year, I need to go and repeat it. Please give me £9000 more. “
Before BREXIT he had plans on staying in the United Kingdom to start his own business. However, the recent events made him change his mind, being insecure of the future.
“Before Brexit I was dreaming of living here. Last year I went on a trip to London with the university where we had the chance to visit all of these start-up businesses. I grabbed a pen and started writing notes about how could I start my own office. I wanted to follow those people and their path. I put on paper everything that I needed to start my own company, not immediately after university, but in time. Then in June, when the BREXIT referendum came, with 51% people voting to leave the European Union, I just threw that paper in the bin”
After the results on June, several people reported acts of racism against immigrants. Andrei experienced the same situation when he wanted to move houses for his second year of studying.
“When I had to come this year to move, two landlords did not accept me because I started looking for houses after Brexit and they said they didn’t want to receive immigrants.”
About the future he does not think he will remain in Britain after finishing his studies.
“To live here it would mean to get a citizenship. Otherwise I will always be looked at as an European Union immigrant. It depends on the person. Maybe some people will be willing to make sacrifices to get a visa or become citizens.“
Despite students’ concerns about future fees and extra costs, the international office at Birmingham City University however, assured that they had no problems with European students so far. They had the same amount of students applying this year and hopefully the number will remain the same. After the referendum result, european students received several letters and emails from both the university and Student Finance saying that the fees will remain the same for those who applied in 2016.
Currently in the UK there are around 125,000 students studying in the UK. Among top countries that send students there are: Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Romania or Bulgaria.