The number of Asian students earning advanced credentials and degrees abroad is at an all-time high. Not only are more students than ever before seeking higher education, a staggering number are doing so outside their own national borders. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) keeps records concerning the number of international students that come to the UK for higher education each year. According to the most recent data, more than 428,000 international students pursued some type of higher education or advanced credentials last year. This figure has practically doubled in the past ten years, and that’s just for one country.

Students at Boston College

Pic: Student at Boston College.

The UK is not alone. Last year was the first on record that Canada’s universities enrolled more than 100,000 international students, according to data collected by the government. In the US, where one quarter of all international students hail from China, universities are seeing year-over-year increases in international student enrollment on the order of 5 percent or more. And according to Australia’s National Times, international enrollment is expected to surge 30 percent by 2020. It’s a trend in motion with no signs of stopping.

Of course, growth of this scale also introduces problems. Students from Asia and other parts of the world may encounter incongruence between requirements for higher education at home and abroad. In many cases, classes that they’ve taken at the secondary level may not qualify them for university enrollment abroad. This has nothing to do with academic ability. It merely highlights dissonance between academic requirements of different nations.

Belfast Metropolitan College

Pic: Belfast Metropolitan College.

And that’s only one hurdle. International students also have to contend with a language barrier – which is often amplified in an acute academic setting. Cultural differences lack of familiarity with the atmosphere on Western universities compounds the frustration. This is where further education and foundational courses step in.

Further education colleges pave the way to a university degree
Further education colleges offer everything from specialist credentials and vocational studies to English as a Second Language instruction. From the perspective of many Asian students with their sights set on Western universities, they provide  a pathway to enrollment.

In countries like the UK, where university academic requirements are particularly complicated and competitive, further education colleges give entry-level students the chance to clear their A-levels and qualify for a full-on degree program. Meanwhile, foundation courses prepare international students for the complete university experience so that they can hit the ground running, while academic English courses prepare them to participate in classroom discussions, approach academic texts and convey research results.

Oxford & Cherwell Valley College

Pic Oxford & Cherwell Valley College.

A year of further education between secondary school and university can have a profound impact on the academic careers of Asian students studying abroad. Finding the best program depends a great deal on where you are planning to pursue your university degree, as you’ll want to enroll in a further education program that has direct links to institutes in that region.

The following are among the leading further education programs for Asian students:

BELFAST METROPOLITAN COLLEGE
Belfast Met is the largest college in North Ireland. It spans several campuses in and around the city and supports a strong network of industry links and partnerships that ensure the coursework is up-to-date and relevant to current industry needs. More than 30,000 students are enrolled, involved in one or more of the more than 1,500 further education courses and 250 higher education programmes. Read the full profile here…

Belfast Met College, Pic: David Cordner.

Belfast Met College, Pic: David Cordner.

OXFORD & CHERWELL VALLEY COLLEGE
With strong links to some of the leading UK universities, Oxford & Cherwell Valley College provides further education to international students eager to pursue higher education in the UK. The college operates four campuses across Oxfordshire and Berkshire, the set of which foster a diverse and dynamic academic atmosphere. Read the full profile here…

Oxford & Cherwell Valley College

Pic: Oxford & Cherwell Valley College.

BOSTON COLLEGE
Boston College is a publicly funded further-education college situated on the east coast of England in Lincolnshire. International students have been coming to Boston College for 20 years to lay the foundation for continued studies and a successful, international career. Students from Asia choose Boston because it provides a high standard of education at competitive fees, a pathway to top universities and excellent relationships student-staff relationships. Read the full profile here…

A-levels at Boston College

Pic: A-levels at Boston College.

YORK COLLEGE
York College has been offering further education in the UK since 1827. It maintains a portfolio of more than 40 A-level subjects a comprehensive selection of vocational courses. A new campus, state-of-the-art facilities and a well-reputed international program make this a key consideration for Asian students bound for the UK.

LOUGHBOROUGH COLLEGE
Loughborough College has been welcoming international students for more than 50 years, but its roots go back much further than that. History aside, the atmosphere at Loughborough is modern, with excellent facilities and high teaching standards. It’s located in Leicestershire, in the Midlands. Tucked into the heart of the quintessential English countryside, the campus is peaceful, safe and secure.