Media Perception

The public and media perception of international students can be regarded as merely positive, though there are aspects of scepticism and criticism, mainly related to the funding of higher education, financial benefits and employment issues. Among European countries, the degree and profile of student mobility flows diverge. On the one hand, there are countries that accept more students than they send out, and on the other hand there are countries which send out more students than they accept. Therefore student degree mobility is perceived in different manners around the EHEA.

ANSA (AM), VVS (BE) and EÜL (ES) have no information on their media perception since this matter isn't an object of public discussions. SYL and SAMOK (FI) report that there is not much debate on this topic in Finland, though “they very welcome foreign students within the academic community”. In Denmark, for example, eastern European students—after the EU verdict—are seen as “welfare tourists” (DSF) who have now access to university and grants, while employers in Denmark point out that they wish to have more international talents to choose from. Others see the international students as a valuable contribution to society and its educational system, as they contribute with new perspectives. It often can be observed that countries with a high share of incoming mobile students, such as Denmark or Austria, portray the incoming students as people who take away university places when studying for free. Though the discussion in Austria isn't completely internationally focused, Austrian media reports are merely concentrated on German students who are stylized and typified as evaders of their Numerus Clausus system. In return, Germany is a favoured destination in Europe; “nonetheless Germany is a net exporter and the media reports mainly on incoming students. Newspapers narrate that only one out of two international students are actually graduating”, fzs (DE) denotes.

The DAAD study (2014), which demonstrated the positive effect in several respects—academic and economic—of international students, however, was important for the positive public perception in a lot of countries, Students' Unions of Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland report. LSA (LV) shares a similar appraisement; it considers incoming students as a “treat to the states' economic development in long terms”, as well as the Netherlands, who try to stimulate the mobility flows. Therefore, all political parties are gathering and working out strategies for the realization of a balanced internationalization strategy. In 2013, they already launched a plan to make the Netherlands a more attractive country for international students. “International students are mainly seen as value, also in economic matters”, LSVb (NL) reports.

Poland perceives international students as a valuable part of the internationalization of higher education. Consequently, they try to make studying in Poland more attractive, since they are regarded as benecial for the development of their country. “They are seen as a motivator to improve public administration. Creating comfortable conditions for foreigners is one of our priorities, both in academic and general contexts”, PSRP (PL) describes the public perception.

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