On Thursday 23rd June 2016, a referendum was held in the UK: remain in the European Union, or leave. With more than 30 million people voting that day, the nation came to a momentous decision. With a precedency of 52% to 48%, UK citizens decided to leave the EU, leading to the life-changing event that is “Brexit”. This decision has significant consequences which will come into effect in the next few weeks, months, and years. Businesses will suffer losses in trade deals, and people will either lose their jobs, or stay jobless as they face discrimination. No doubt the heaviest burdens will fall onto both the UK nation itself, and the remainder of the EU. However, other countries outside the EU will also be affected by the event. This post will state and explain the effects of “Brexit” on students from abroad, especially those from Malaysia.
First and foremost, with “Brexit” comes a lack of capital for schools and universities, as EU migrants contribute to the UK’s public finances. This move has effectively caused a hole in the education budget, and thus research-based ideas and other projects may not receive enough funds to proceed. This will then cause the availability of places for people wishing to study in the UK to decrease, as the institutes cannot afford to sustain educating a high number of students, nor maintain the quality of teaching, which used to be a highly attractive factor before “Brexit”. Not only that, but these educational institutions may also start to increase their fees to make up for the budget hole.
When the UK was still part of the EU, it was a more straightforward process for teachers from European countries to migrate to the UK to work, and at the same time helped to form opportunities for both students and staff to gain international experience. Unfortunately, with “Brexit”, this benefit will be lost, and UK can no longer gain access to foreign markets as easily as before. For Malaysian students who may have wished to stay back in the UK and work in these markets, these advantages will no longer be available, and foreign students will now face greater difficulties when starting business studies in the UK. When coupled with the other disadvantage in the above paragraph, Malaysian students in the UK will be on the losing end.
On the other hand, despite these obvious drawbacks, there may be one positive outcome for foreign students: the weakening of the pound. With a smaller currency exchange rate, more Malaysian families should be able to afford school and university fees. The strength of the pound, like every other currency, can fluctuate, and so no concrete decisions should be made on this fact alone.
Overall, although it seems like “Brexit” will come with a downpour of burdens, we are still in early days yet, and should not jump to conclusions straightaway. For now, Malaysian students should wait it out, and anticipate possible significant differences to their education in the UK.