International students: We need to give them a break

You never complain about your friends from Jersey swamping the SJ

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“All the Asians here must be Liverpool fans as they never walk alone.”

A browse through any social media feed near the University of Liverpool campus would make you think half the student population are international students and rest are closet racists. Liverpool might have been voted the fourth most friendly city in the world by Rough Guides, but it’s definitely not the students who are welcoming our foreign guests with open arms.

Yik Yak, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat – you name it, they’ll be derogatory comments on it.  Believe the hype and you’d think “Chinese” students are taking over our Maths lectures, filling up our pavements and buying all the Pot Noodles in Tesco Express just to spite the British. They’ve got a Chinese supermarket underneath Vine Court, for god’s sake. They have to put signs up in the Sydney Jones toilets because these aliens don’t know how to use a British loo. We’re all sharing Guardian articles criticising the UK’s approach to supporting Syrian refugees while we type out snide remarks about Liverpool being the new China.

Newsflash fellow native students: while we’re slagging them off, the international students are paying for our university experience.

yik yak international

Stop counting the Chinese and start counting your falling grades

It’s true. Liverpool has a large population of international students: 5,902 undergraduates alone to be precise. That’s roughly  30 per cent of the whole undergraduate student body. Not quite taking over, though, are they?

Zachary, a third year law student, from Malaysia, told the Tab: “Most people are friendly, but racism does exist. It might just be more of a preference for white British students, but it feels like rejection for us.

“We feel like outcasts as well, it’s not that we don’t want to have a chat or mingle, but there’s cultural difference and a language barrier which keeps us apart.”

Internationals are the spice of life

And yes, over 3,000 of them are from the People’s Republic of China,  but we do have a sister university there.  There are also students from Angola, Kuwait, Poland, Russia, Oman, Thailand, Turkey and Botswana. There’s seven undergrad students from Jersey, and three from Guernsey, but because they “act” and look  British they don’t get laughed at – where’s the equality? If you’re going to be a soft racist, extend it to the States of Jersey – it’s practically France.

There’s also 193 Irish international students, 19 from the Isle of Man, 340 from Malaysia and 167 from Nigeria. Shout out to the solo Austrian undergrad. Liverpool International students come from 131 countries across the world. Find a map,  point your finger at a country and you can be pretty sure we’ve got a student at Liverpool from there. So why do only the Chinese students feel our dissatisfaction? (Baring in mind an “Asian” could come from Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, the Philippines, or North fucking London mate.)

Do Internationals really affect people so much as they bumble between their lectures? Would their slow walking be quite so irritating if they didn’t speak English as a second language?

Would get this without international students?

We wouldn’t get this without international students

Perhaps the irrigation comes from them slowing down your lectures, and disrupting your group work? Learning in a foreign language is hard you know – oh wait, you might not because 61 per cent of the population of England can’t speak a second language, let alone complete a degree in one. Try and imagine keeping up with a lecture in Mandarin, with a grasp of the language that’s marginally better than your basic GCSE French. Va te faire foutre, my friend.

And for those who complain about labs and tutorials feeling like the centre of Tiananmen Square, remember that the state-of-the-art microscopes we use are probably funded by the international student you just rolled your eyes at. It costs £13,400 a year to do a History degree or similar arts education at the University of Liverpool if you’re an international student and £16,800 to do Engineering, Science or Psychology . That’s not to forget the staggering annual £29,950 to do Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science. Those figures basically guarantee that the new Starbucks coffee machine in the SJ was paid for, at least in part, by internationals students. Think about that next time you’re sipping a caramel macchiato.

Every Liverpool undergraduate is offered the chance to study abroad for part of their degree as well. Don’t be that British expat living in Spain who posted on Facebook supporting UKIP’s closed doors immigration policy. If you’re allowed to go to Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, then the residents of China are allowed to come and study here. Fair’s fair, right?

It might be only a few people, but it’s down right ridiculous. Next time you feel the urge to Yak about that “hilarious” Asian kid who’s eating noodles noisily in the SJ and who’s been there all day, remember he’s paying a fuck load more than you to study here and he probably wants to make the most of it.

So sit tight and read a library text book on improving Sino-British relations. After all, his tuition fees probably paid for it.