Is England “International Student-ist”?

Angelique's picture

There has not been much good news for international students recently. Everything from the implementation of stricter visa requirements, to the recent events in the news, has shocked many students, leading them to question is 'England international student-ist'? 

To start with the worst, a twenty-three-year-old Indian boy Anuj Bidve was fatally shot on December 26th during a night in Salford. It is believed that the shooting was unprovoked and racially motivated. Is England racist? Equally, in today's England, a ban WAS going to be issued on international students in Plymouth preventing them from using shops in the town centre. This plan came from a belief that international students were the cause of unruly behaviour in the area and an increase in shoplifting. Back to the days of segregation? Here? Today in 2012's England?

And let's not forget the lady on the tram from Croydon, which I assume everyone has YouTubed, shouting racist remarks at immigrants. One takes a look at London and would dispute the very possibility of England being racist, having welcomed hundreds of thousands of international students into the city, all of whom enjoy the rights, the amenities and the opportunities of any other Londoner.

The Joys of Immigration Officials

Immigration laws have always made international students feel like a threat to the society. I enjoy my travels, so my encounters with the immigration officials are plenty. Knowing I am a genuine student, with papers in order and no reason to be fearful, I always enjoy the thorough interrogation and wonder what creative methods will be used this time. There are two moments that stand out for me.

Firstly, there was the time I was tested with a Contract Law question in order to enter the borders: "Consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate. What does that mean?". Possibly only a first year law student WOULD know what that meant. Then the best tactics so far; he lured me into a false sense of security, asking about my holiday and my stay in the UK then BAM! "So there is probably no need for lawyers in Seychelles and you would want to work here?" International Student-ist? Or Cautious? No one wants to be treated like a criminal but without a doubt, the borders need to be monitored so perhaps we just have to deal with it!

'The Welcoming Nature of the English'

I for one, am oblivious to racism and so can hardly say that I have been treated badly for being an international student. I have been able to access many opportunities, regardless of the fact that I am an international student. It merely takes the effort of perseverance and filling in constant application forms, but I have been successful on a number of work experiences. Even in terms of political rights, which I personally would not exercise, as a Commonwealth student resident in the UK, I could register to vote.

The welcoming nature of the English, and the many friends I have made, mean I certainly wouldn't ever make such claims against England. Although, I have had one unfortunate encounter with an elderly man of high status and intelligence who insisted I should return to my country, I prefer to place that to the side as an anomalous situation.

Equally, the courts are on our side for now, as was shown when a cricket-playing migrant was allowed to stay in the UK because he had made friends and it would be distressing for him to be sent home.

Occasionally, England reveals its evil ways showing intolerant, and perhaps even racist, people who continue to refuse to move into the times of tolerance and unity, but as international students we must be proud of our identity and pave our way to success.


Angelique is a student blogger for Foreign Students. Originally from the Seychelles, she is currently a Law student at the University of London. You can read all her older posts here.  

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