Over the last few months there has been constant chatter about the EU referendum, do we stay or not? Our own Prime Minister has called on us to vote to stay, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, has taken a stance against some of his higher-ups and made impassioned cries for us to leave.
But as students, do we care, and more importantly should we care?
A commonly mentioned subject when talking about the referendum is the freedom of movement, which ties into life for international students. If you’re studying abroad or planning to, being in the European Union simplifies the process greatly.
If you do end up studying abroad (in the EU) you will pay cheaper fees, due to the fact residents of EU nations are usually able to study in other EU countries as ‘home students’ rather than actually paying the huge sums international students end up paying: £15,000 + per year.
If that doesn’t interest you because of your xenophobic tendencies, then perhaps you’ll still be pleased to know that the 125,000 EU students in the UK (roughly 5%) have contributed an estimated £2.7bn to the British economy.
You may hear about how important EU nurses and doctors are to our wonderful NHS, well they’re important to teaching too. Just as an example nearly a quarter of staff at the University of Kent are from EU countries outside Britain.
Now what about funding? It’s true, the UK does have to pay membership fees to the EU, however the EU repays the favour giving huge amounts to universities every year. For example, Swansea University recently opened a new science and innovation campus for £475m, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the finical support of the EU. As well as contribution to general funding the EU also provides substantial payment for research in UK universities in research grants.
There’s a lot of different things to look at regarding whether we should stay in the EU or not. But from a student at university’s perspective, it seems ideal to stay in the EU from here. That’s not to say if we left the EU it would be the end of all of this, but I am sure it would have detrimental effects on some if not all of them.
The political landscape will be different after the vote too, if we do end up leaving, will that be the end of Cameron? Will it culminate in seeing Boris Johnson’s glib buffoonery slip him into number 10? Tie that in with the US of A voting in Donald Trump and you have two very dangerous blondes.