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November 20, 2019

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UK universities looking beyond Brexit

As the UK struggles with Brexit, some British universities are now looking beyond the EU and seeking closer ties with the rest of the world, including China.

Anthony Forster, vice chancellor of the UK’s University of Essex, said at a recent press conference in Shanghai that Brexit was an opportunity to become more international and the school is prioritizing Chinese partnerships in particular.

“Irrespective of whether we will stay or leave the EU, the UK is already becoming more outward-looking and globally oriented in trade, and in political and cultural engagement, including and especially in higher education,” he said.

He pledged a broad-based level of engagement with Chinese institutions in three areas: research, joint degree programs and capacity building.

Forster also said he was delighted by the UK government’s decision to offer two-year post-study work visas for international graduates of British universities. Essex has opened an innovation center on its Colchester Campus, supporting 50 student startups a year.

Max Lu, president and vice chancellor of the University of Surrey, also the UK’s first and only Chinese-born president and vice chancellor, said the new visa rules make now the best time ever for Chinese students to study in the UK.


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