Over the last few years, international universities have seen a surge of interest from Latin American students. One university that seems an increasingly popular choice for students from this region is the University of Leeds in the heart of the UK. First established in 1904, the institution boasts a rich heritage of world-leading academics, and stands as one of the largest and most respected universities within the UK sector. Leeds has earned a sterling reputation among the international student market, recently being named University of the Year 2017 by The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide.
The UK is viewed as an elite academic destination for students from Mexico and wider South America. Studying here allows these students to develop academic and professional networks outside of the Americas, also giving them time to hone their English-speaking skills. And of course, the UK is world-renowned for the calibre of higher education on offer.
The University of Leeds offers a vibrant, multicultural atmosphere
The University of Leeds has always been known as an inclusive place to study, with an ‘access for all’ mantra that set the stage for future academic programmes. Today, the university continues to cast a wide net, capturing top talent from all four corners of the globe and setting an example of accessibility for schools across the UK, and the world.
Now, the university represents one of the most diverse and multicultural universities in the region. Every year, upwards of 6,000 international students choose to study here. You’ll find students from 142 different countries, and this includes a significant number of Latin American students.
A remarkable place to study and discover a new culture
Bianca, a Brazilian student currently studying a PhD in Economics, said that one of the main factors that motivated her to come to Leeds was a scholarship developed between the Leeds University Business School and a partner university in Brazil.
There are several such programmes in operation. This is yet another way in which the administration at the University of Leeds openly demonstrates a desire to make the campus as diverse and welcoming as possible.
As Bianca puts it, “There are professors and students from every corner of the world that not only creates a diverse academic environment, but also ties the university with other countries.”
Bianca adds that the daily exposure to native English speakers has “greatly improved” her English language proficiency. Factor in the access to world-class facilities and ultra-modern technology, and you’re left with one of the most attractive opportunities in higher education.
Bianca agrees, stating: “This has been the greatest personal and professional experience of my life, and I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a remarkable place to study and discover a new culture.”
But Brazil and Mexico are certainly not alone in their endeavour to place Latin American students at universities around the world. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, countries including Chile, El Salvador, and several other Latin American nations sponsor similar programmes.
As one education-fair organiser told The Chronicle, these initiatives are trying to dramatically increase the number of students they send abroad. “The idea is that they come back with more skills and help the economy and help with its growth, especially in areas where there are shortages.”
Leeds: A dynamic, student friendly city
Beyond the university campus, Leeds city itself is also an attractive place for international students to be based. Saul, a recent Mexican graduate in Sustainability and Consultancy at the University of Leeds, says that he appreciates living and studying in Leeds city centre, which he describes as a “vibrant, young place”.
Saul comes from Mexico City, one of the biggest metropolitan centres in the world. “So it feels amazing to be in a city like Leeds,” he says, “which is big enough to have things for everyone’s interests but small enough that it is not overwhelming and everything is close.”
Indeed, Leeds does have a little bit of everything. The Lonely Planet describes the city centre as a “vision of 21st-century urban chic, with sky-scraping office blocks, glass-and-steel waterfront apartment complexes and renovated Victorian shopping arcades”. The arts and culture thrive here, with countless art galleries, world-class museums and grand venues like the Belgrave Music Hall and the Canteen. The city also benefits from easy access to London, with a journey time of just two hours between both destinations.
But even with all of this cosmopolitan appeal, you don’t have to travel far out of town to find blissful natural landscapes. The Yorkshire Dales are less than 25 km north-west of the university, whilst Lake District National Park is perfectly located for a weekend away. It’s difficult to imagine a better place to be based whilst earning an internationally-respected degree.