International students continue to favor London to pursue their education, wherein it proves to be one of the best settings to learn. But will the 2019 coronavirus pandemic pose more challenges for them?
Based on the 2019 QS Best Student Cities, London ranked number one again, maintaining its top position gained in 2018. The city bested other student favorites, such as Tokyo, Melbourne, Montreal, and Paris, which used to occupy one of the top five places in past QS lists. Why is London a desirable place for international students?
QS ranks cities according to the following categories:
- Student mix
- Student perspective
- Desirability of the place
- Affordability of food, housing, health care
- Employer situation
- Quality of university education
Based on the QS International Student Survey, respondents favored London mainly because of its welcoming environment, its image of safety and security for the students, and the quality of education its universities offer. London has some of the most prestigious universities, including Imperial College London, University College London, Hult International Business School, and King’s College London.
Despite the generally high cost of living in the U.K., London also provides affordable accommodation for student groups like hostels with private rooms, bed and breakfasts, serviced and self-catered apartments, and budget inns.
However, with COVID-19 affecting most industries, such as education, housing, and hospitality, what can international students expect if they plan to study in London this year?
Responding to the COVID-19 Situation
Many London schools and universities, such as City, University of London, will be holding the majority of classes online and will provide interactive face-to-face classes during the Autumn term and for the rest of the academic year 2020-21. The big campuses will be partially open and will allow smaller groups of students and staff to do face-to-face classes on-campus. Individual sessions will be available online, as well.
Universities will continue to facilitate online communication with the teaching staff and students. Online resources will replace tutorials and lectures. Schools will also carry out alternative assessments and exams for students who were unable to complete the last term because of the lockdown or for new student applicants. Schools, such as the Middlesex University London, created a page to explain their process.
London schools are finding ways to be more flexible in their approach to delivering quality education this year. While science facilities and labs will be open and will implement hygiene and social distancing measures, every class, lab work, activity done in-person will be available online for those who can’t come in for travel and health reasons. They’re also making sure student support will not decline for people taking the distance learning path and that each student gets the chance to participate in campus activities remotely and experience high-quality student life.
With the city leading the rest of the world as the best cradle of education for students, London seems set on proving that the pandemic can’t stop it. Whether it will continue to be the number one city in the QS Best Student Cities 2020 list during a major health crisis remains to be seen.