COVID-19 has had a big impact on international students, with thousands returning home from universities abroad to observe social distancing and study online.
However, figures from the University of Sunderland show that, despite the challenges of the last year, international study has not lost its appeal.
THROUGHOUT the pandemic, the University of Sunderland saw a 7.5 per cent increase in enrolments from overseas students, with applications this academic year increasing by 17.5 per cent.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 28th), the University will be encouraging overseas students to start coming back onto campus through its International Online Open Day.
Florian Hildebrand, from Germany, graduated from the University with a Mechanical Engineering degree back in 2013.
“The student experience I had was just amazing,” the 30-year-old said.
“There was a great balance between fun, studying, partying and sports. I literally said on the first night I’m not going to leave, I’m going to stay here forever.
“Super modern facilities – I remember walking in and there were all these Mac computers and modern PCs, and that was something I was not used to.”
Florian, who returned to Germany in 2015, is co-founder and managing partner of Qualifyze, which uses a global digital network to help pharmaceutical firms manage quality and compliance in their supply chains.
Earlier this year he received an award nomination for his efforts in helping keep critical drug supplies going during the coronavirus crisis.
Florian believes studying on Wearside equipped him with the skills he needed for his success journey as well as helping him flourish as a person.
“It’s the excitement of living abroad, starting a new life in an unknown environment and the friends I made,” he explained.
“I really felt like I was getting a personal breakthrough into what I really wanted to do, and it gave me a new perspective.
“It was a much more practical approach to study, so lots of projects and experiments, which I really liked.
“The city had beautiful nature all around it and I felt welcome from day one.
“When I used to walk over to St Peter’s Campus, I really enjoyed the mornings when the sun would just shine across the bridge and I would see the Stadium of Light. It was always a very beautiful trip.”
Ian Moody is Deputy Director of International at the University of Sunderland.
He said: “The impact of the pandemic has really changed how we engage with prospective students.
“This means that our online presence and digital space is more important than ever. As we look forward to September, we hope that digital innovations such as the Online International Open day, will help increase our profile and reputation globally.
“Throughout the pandemic, demand from overseas has remained strong which was demonstrated by a 7.5 per cent increase in enrolments from international students.
“With applications this year increasing by 17.5 per cent, I am extremely confident that we will continue the growth in enrolments for the upcoming academic year.”
For more information or to register, visit https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/open-days/international-april-21/