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UK – sneaking a peak at what the competitors are doing

A new report, entitled UK Universities and Europe: Competition and Internationalisation, jointly produced by the Europe Unit and the UK HE International Unit was launched on 31 March at the House of Commons. The study takes a look at UK’s main European competitors for international students. According to the publication, while UK is a successful story in the internationalisation of higher education – being the second biggest recruiter of international students after the US - many European countries are quickly catching up. More precisely, Germany poses a "current and future competitive threat" to the UK, the Netherlands represents a "medium-term" threat, while Sweden and Switzerland should be watched carefully too, argues the study.

The report examines the various “pull factors” employed elsewhere in Europe and makes a series of practical recommendations for UK universities to maintain their top-position within Europe, in recruiting international students. It suggests British universities should:

  • implement all Bologna Process reforms and brand themselves internationally as ‘Bologna-compatible’;
  • adopt and implement collaborative partnership models for internationalisation;
  • establish small consortia to develop and implement internationalisation strategies;
  • seek to broaden and deepen their relationships with the UK Foreign Office and Department for International Development; and
  • do more to provide and encourage second-language training as part of undergraduate degree programmes.

Print copies of the report can be requested at