With the number of international students here increasing by more than a quarter since 2016, they also tend to feel more positive about their experience of college, a new survey has found.
In 2019, the number of international students enrolled across the third-level sector reached 14,412, an increase of almost 27% since 2016. This also far outstrips the 5.4% increase in Irish students enrolling in third-level during the same time frame.
The finding is included in the 2019 national StudentSurvey.ie, which sees 40,000 students sharing their experiences of the sector. Measuring ‘student engagement’, a term referring to a range of interactions between students and the colleges they attend, it found that international students in general were more positive about their experiences than their Irish counterparts.
According to the Student Survey, international students reported significantly higher engagement in the quality of their interactions with staff, and in the supportive environment at their institution.
Postgraduate students from overseas also reported a very high quality of engagement in personal development initiatives, such as career advice, placement and internship, and training in entrepreneurship and innovation.
However, international students were also less likely to report ‘excellent’ interactions with their fellow students than students from Ireland.
This year’s survey also found that there were 2,524 UK students in higher education institutions here during the 2017/18 academic year, 864 of which were from Northern Ireland. Almost two-thirds of post-graduate students who responded to the survey are in receipt of a scholarship, the survey also found.
Dr Siobhán Nic Fhlannchadha, of StudentSurvey.ie, said: “Considerable efforts have been made by staff and students to make the 2019 surveys a success and the next steps for the surveys are necessarily focused on similar efforts to interrogate and draw meaning from the results.”