Tag Archives: foreign students

Student Tuition Fees Protest Turns Violent

11 Nov

Protests in London yesterday turned violent as students marched against the proposed increase of university tuition fees.

It all started peacefully when an estimated 50,000 students and lecturers arrived in the capital from all over the country on Wednesday morning. They converged on Westminster to demonstrate against tuition fees rising to £9,000 a year and against plans to cut higher education funding by 40%.

However, violence broke out when a small group began to gather around the Conservative Party headquarters, burning placards and banners. This then quickly escalated as protesters began to force their way into the Conservative headquarters, smashing through the large glass front before destroying anything they could inside the building.

The police were heavily outnumbered and failed to cope with the sudden outbreak of violence which resulted in 14 injuries and 35 arrests.

The violence has been roundly condemned by politicians and student leaders. National Union of Students (NUS) president Aaron Porter (who helped organize the original demonstration) criticised the actions of the violent few, saying:

“we’re now having to spend time talking about the rights and wrongs of violence and criminal damage, so actually in many respects I think it undermines our argument rather than allowing us to concentrate on the devastation to our universities and colleges.”

Similarly, Prime Minister David Cameron slammed the attacks, whilst saving praise for the “brave” police officers. He insisted that the protests would not cause him to abandon the plans for increased tuition fees, arguing that the reforms would create “a more progressive system than the one that it will replace”.

Image: Manfred Werner on Wiki Commons


‘Universities UK’ President Joins David Cameron in China

10 Nov


Relationships between British and Chinese universities are being strengthened this week as Professor Steve Smith- President of ‘Universities UK’, has joined senior figures from the UK government in Beijing.

Prime Minister David Cameron has spent the week in the Asian country with Vince Cable, George Osborne and Michael Gove among others, forging business relationships.

Steve Smith was full of praise for the growing relationship between the two countries, and particularly their higher education systems:

“There has been substantial progress in recent years in strengthening links between universities in the UK and China. Our research collaborations with China are increasing in number more quickly than with any other international partner. These partnerships are very important to the higher education sector in the UK…Education and research are central to our increasingly close relations.”

China already sends more students than any other country to come and study in the UK- with numbers reaching 47,000 in 2009- and judging by Steve Smith’s words, that number is going to continue increasing. Here at ForeignStudents.com we’re sure that it will continue to be to the mutual benefit of both countries, and to the students themselves.

Thinking of coming to the UK to study next year? Read our easy step-by-step guide to help you break it down into to simple, achievable stages.

Image: Francisco Diez on Flickr

Celebrities Turn Out to Turn On Christmas Lights

8 Nov

Rihanna turned on the Westfield Christmas lights.

‘Tis the season for celebrities to turn on the Christmas lights in towns and cities across the UK.

Over the coming weeks, this very British tradition will be ‘delighting’ crowds up and down the country who turn out to see their favourite actor speak, or their beloved band perform, or, more likely, a D-list ‘celebrity’ press a button. We’ve selected some of the highlights of the 2010 Christmas Lights Switch-On Ceremonies:

             –  Westfield Shopping Centre, London (4th November): Representing the truly A-list celebrities, Rihanna turned on the Christmas lights at Westfield after a performance that wowed her many fans. The bad news: if this is the first you’ve heard about this performance, then you missed it.

             Braehead Shopping Centre, Glasgow (4th November): Last week, Glasgow became the first of the cities to invite an X-Factor reject to turn on their lights, except there was a bonus…there were two X-Factor rejects turning on the lights! They were the ridiculous twins that call themselves Jedward.

             Regent Street, London (9th November): Continuing with the X-Factor theme, Regent Street has last year’s winner, Joe McElderry turning the lights on. He is fresh from doing absolutely nothing in the music charts for the last year so it should be a good show.    

            Cardiff City Centre (10th November): Cardiff has gone against the X-Factor trend by impressively snagging two real celebrities in Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. They are of course best known as Dr. Who and his red headed assistant.   

           Sheffield City Centre (21st November): And finally, possibly the most exciting of all the celebrity Christmas lights appearances, Sheffield have managed to persuade the Zingzillas (!) to perform at their ceremony. We don’t really know what they are but it sounds exciting doesn’t it?   

Impressed by any of these celebrity endorsements? Know any others in your area? Let us know below.

Learn all about the traditions of the various festivities in Britain with our Guide to British Celebrations.

Image: MiKeARB on Flickr.

Is British Food the Best in the World?

3 Nov

The Good Fashioned English Breakfast (Image: Avlxyz Flickr)

Traditionally British food has been mocked by other nationalities who see it as boring, unhealthy and badly cooked. However, over the last few decades there has been a revolution in British food and people from around the world are starting to realise that the days of overcooked meat, mushy veg and greasy side dishes are long gone.

VisitBritain recently did a survey asking 26,000 people from 36 countries about British food and the results show that perceptions of British food are starting to change.

When asked if they had always wanted to try that most classic of British dishes, the full English breakfast, the majority of nations answered with a resounding ‘yes’. The keenest were (quite randomly) the Russians, Brazilians and Indians who all started to salivate at just the thought of the eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, fried bread and whatever else you like to include in a good fry up.

They were also asked if they agreed with the statement “British food is very bad”, to which the vast majority said no. Here, those from Russia (again), Estonia and Egypt (the three well known foodie countries) were the most enthusiastic about British food, whilst Spain, Italy, Japan and France still have their doubts.

What do you think? Have you moved to the UK from abroad and love/hate the food? Let us know below.

Don’t know your Spotted Dick from your Bubble and Squeak? Have a look at our Guide to British Food and Drink.

Top 10 Most Popular Babies’ Names Revealed

27 Oct

The most popular names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2009 have been revealed. And the winners are….drum roll please… Oliver for the boys and Olivia for the girls.

Oliver has risen from 2nd in 2008, to knock Jack off the top spot for the first time in 14 years. Olivia meanwhile is the most popular girls’ name, just beating Ruby for the second year running.

Here at ForeignStudents.com we have been trying to think of celebrities who may have inspired the two winners to victory, but there are slim pickings. For the boys there is director Oliver Stone, (though we can’t think of many people who would name their baby after him), whilst for the girls there is ‘House’ actress Olivia Wilde. Not exactly A-listers I think you’ll agree.

Here are the full lists:

Boys Names:                         Girls Names:

1. Oliver                                    1. Olivia

2. Jack                                      2. Ruby

3. Harry                                    3. Chloe

4. Alfie                                     4. Emily

5. Joshua                                  5. Sophie

6. Thomas                                6. Jessica

7. Charlie                                 7. Grace

8. William                                 8. Lily

9. James                                   9. Amelia

10. Daniel                                10. Evie




The London Film Festival Comes to Town

18 Oct

‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’ at the London Film Festival

For two weeks every year London is gripped by film fever as the city hosts the London Film Festival. The festival always includes screenings of some of the best new world cinema, and this year is no different. Here at ForeignStudents.com we love world cinema, and have picked out some highlights of the festival.  

Two particular highlights come from the main prize winners at the Cannes Film Festival earlier in the year. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a surreal Thai film that depicts the last days of the title character’s life, as he meets the ghosts of his dead wife and son. The mysterious meanings and style of the film won it the Palme d’Or (the biggest prize at Cannes) and it is well worth checking out.

Des Hommes et des Dieux (Of Gods and Men) was another success story at Cannes (winning the Grand Prix prize) and is certainly also a highlight of the London Film Festival. It focuses on the clash of cultures between a group of monks living in a monastery in Algeria surrounded by a mostly Muslim population. It manages to be both daring and compassionate and is beautifully understated in the way it is shot.

If you are studying in London we really recommend you get involved in the London Film Festival which is running from 13th-28th October 2010 at venues across London. For more information and full listings, visit the official website here.   

The Importance of Foreign Students to the UK

14 Oct

Here in the UK, students and universities have been front page news for the last week as the government debates whether to increase university fees. However, a separate debate surrounding foreign students is also beginning to emerge in the press.

There is talk of a new immigration cap being introduced in the UK which would affect the number of international students and staff able to come to study or work at British universities.

A number of top figures in the academic world are fighting against this, making sure the government knows how important foreign students are to British universities.

One of the leading voices is Nicola Dandridge- head of ‘Universities UK’- who has recently spoken out against the immigration cap. In an article in UK newspaper the Guardian, she explains how:

[foreign students] add such richness to our campuses and allow our UK students to experience a global culture that is likely to be essential for their future as graduates in a global world” .

Here at ForeignStudents.com, we couldn’t agree more!

What do you think? Would tighter immigration laws and higher student fees put you off studying in the UK? We want to hear your comments.

If you are thinking of coming to study in the UK, or if you are already here and are worried how the changes could affect you, join our Facebook page to get all the latest news and be part of our community of foreign students. 

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