Magazine article Times Higher Education

How Do Overseas Students Feel? Milked and Bilked

Magazine article Times Higher Education

How Do Overseas Students Feel? Milked and Bilked

Article excerpt

Artwork channels ill feeling over high fees and visa changes. David Matthews reports.

Amid fierce debate between the government and universities over the rights and wrongs of tougher student visa requirements, international students themselves have rarely had their voices heard.

But if an artwork by a South Korean student at the Royal College of Art is anything to go by, they are not feeling loved.

When Min Jae Huh decided to created an artistic protest against the decision to end post-study work visas, she asked other international students to suggest images that symbolise how they are seen in the UK.

Worryingly for UK universities, one respondent to Ms Huh's online call for suggestions - some of which feature in a collage of the results - put forward "criminals". Others suggested "a person in a crate, i.e. a disposable good", "ants", "something miserable" or any image that "plays with erectile dysfunction" - an idea that does not appear to have made it in to the final work.

But the most common theme was that international students felt that they were seen as "walking cash", a "cash machine" or a "cash cow".

On 6 April, the post-study work visa route, which allowed students to work for two years in the UK, was shut, although graduates can still stay if an eligible company sponsors them.

Ms Huh said that she may have to leave the UK two months after she finishes her two-year master's in visual communication later this year, rather than staying on as she had expected when she applied to the degree. …

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