Even after Boris Johnson securing a deal with the EU, the Brexit uncertainty continues. UK students especially are concerned about what is going to happen, with around 50% of students studying or working abroad doing so through the Erasmus scheme, funded by the EU. A lot of students are angry and what’s worse is that many of them were not able to vote in the original referendum as they were only 16/17 at the time. Now these students, whose futures are directly threatened by Brexit, are in their twenties and want to be listened to. So, what are some of their worries?
Arguably one of the most beneficial EU programmes is the Erasmus scheme. It allows students to study or work in another country, while receiving funding from the EU. If the UK leaves the EU with the deal negotiated by Boris Johnson, similar to that of Theresa May, there should be no effect on this academic year’s funding. The uncertainty lies in the funding for the year 2020-21, will there still be access to the Erasmus grant and if yes, who is going to foot the bill? The UK government has said it will cover the Erasmus grant but some universities such as the University of Bristol have also reassured their students that the university will step in if government plans fall through.
Unfortunately, the current Brexit situation is also putting British students off learning languages. The number of British students choosing to study a language at GCSE, A Level or University level is declining and there seems to be a lack of concern about this from the government. It will be increasingly harder to sell Modern Languages studies to young people if there are no schemes in place to support them, such as the Erasmus programme.
However it’s not all bad news for the Erasmus scheme. Even if the UK leaves the EU, it could still pay to be part of the scheme, just as Norway, Turkey and Iceland do currently. It will be up to the government to decide how valuable the Erasmus programme is to British students and whether paying for membership of the scheme is worth it. Additionally, many UK universities have partnerships with businesses and universities abroad that they hope will continue, despite the uncertainty of the Erasmus scheme. CBLingua has connections with various British universities, and it is very unlikely that Brexit will affect this. Translation agencies will always need English speaking interns, now more than ever.
Another effect of Brexit that will hit students is fee status. At the moment EU students pay the same fees as UK students, £9250 a year. Each country in the UK has said that it will keep this fee status for the year 2020-21 despite what happens with Brexit. However after this, EU students going to the UK to study could have to pay international student fees which are around £20,000 a year, depending on the course. This is a considerable increase and may force EU students to go to other English speaking universities like those in Germany, The Netherlands or Ireland. Many British students are passionate about the positive impact EU students have on university life and if the number of these students declines, the impact on campus will be felt very strongly. Studying abroad is already a privilege that not everyone has and with the increase in fees this privilege will become more and more exclusive.
One of the biggest changes to students post-Brexit will be the end of the Freedom of Movement Agreement. European students going to study in the UK may need to get a Tier 4 Student Visa and for this they will need official translations of various documents not written in the English language, including their passport. If you’re a student thinking of studying or working abroad after Brexit, wherever you’re from, CBLingua can help you get the translations you need to continue your studies and take full advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Students are being advised to keep up to date on the Brexit process and to follow updates made by their university so they know what to do in any event. Above all, UK universities want to ensure that European students still feel welcome studying in Britain and many have started campaigns such as #WeAreInternational to highlight the importance of a diverse student body. If you want to study or work abroad and money is an issue for you, do some research on the different scholarships offered by universities. There is bound to be one to help you!
The good news to come from the Brexit mess is that students all over the UK are mobilising and demanding that their voices are heard. We can only hope that those in power listen.