London remains a good choice for Indian students who want to work while they study

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Nov 26 2012, 06:15am hrs
London & Partners was established by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (who is currently on a business trip to India), on April 1, 2011, to promote London overseas as the best city to in the world to invest in, visit and study.

Kevin McCarthy, currently head, Study London, London & Partners, helped set up the Study London promotional campaign in 2002 to promote London overseas as the worlds number one study destination. Originally located within London Higher, the umbrella organisation for Londons 42 universities and higher education colleges, the project moved to London & Partners in October 2011. Prior to establishing Study London, Kevin McCarthy worked at a number of higher education institutions including London Business School, Goldsmiths University of London, London South Bank University, Queen Mary University of London and the London School of Economics. In an interaction with Vikram Chaudhary of The Financial Express, McCarthy shares his thoughts on the recently-launched Student Ambassadors programme and how studying in London can make a difference to a students life. Excerpts:

What, in your view, does London offer to an Indian student as far as study exposure and quality of life is concerned

With students from over 200 countries, Londons student population replicates Londons overall diversity. And its the diversity of the city which makes London unique. Students here generally establish a global network of friends and future business contacts that they keep with themselves throughout their careerthis learning is priceless.

What was the reason behind choosing student ambassadors for London And why students only from India and the US

Weve been told by international students that one of the things that they most enjoy about studying in London is meeting other students from their own country as well as from different countries. We set up the Student Ambassadors programme to allow students to experience London in an exciting and unique way but to also allow them to meet with students from different universities in London. Indian and US students were chosen because they form two of the most popular nationalities within Londons student body.

Traditionally, which schools/universities in London have strong Indian students presence

Almost all. In fact, London universities links with India go back many years. We commemorated Mahatma Gandhi with a statue in Tavistock Square in central London because he studied law in London in the 1880s. We also commemorated Rabindranath Tagore who studied in London in the 1870s. Apart from various leaders, we have had many successful Indians pass through London to study before establishing successful careers back in India.

Over the last decade, which are the schools/universities in London that are becoming popular with Indian students

As I said, you will find Indian students studying in all London universities and business schools but the most popular universities are the University of Greenwich, the University of East London, and Westminster University.

What are the benefits of studying at a school/university in London as against studying at, say, Oxford, which is slightly more popular than many London universities

London is a global city and is home to international companies and world-class cultural institutions like the British Museum and British Library. No other city in the UK, or the world, can offer such a range of opportunities to both work and to visit.

How is London reinventing itself as far as attracting Indian students is concerned

London is constantly changing with something new-to-do-event every day of the yearand many of them are free. London is a good choice for Indian students who want to gain that all-important work experience while they study. The city is a business and cultural capital with opportunities to work on secondments with a huge range of companies.

How much has the student visa row damaged the image of UK higher education, if it has

In the long run, the new visa system will strengthen the UK university sector because it has removed bogus colleges from the system. Indian students can now be reassured that the universities they enrol at, especially those that are on the Study London website, offer quality education.

What is your take on the London mayor Boris Johnson calling for a city-wide body to deal strategically with education in the capital

The Mayors statement followed the publication of the Going for Gold report which highlighted how Londons secondary school sector was changing with the creation of more independent schools. The Mayor has suggested that a city-wide body could help independent schools shape their strategy because they will be outside local authority control and could be based in different boroughs. The Going for Gold report did not cover university education.