Globalization has led to expansion of business sectors across the world. There has been increase in the amount of business activities in addition to improvement in the standards of the execution of the works. One significant factor which has been on the rise is the exchange of knowledge and techniques when it comes to business transactions.
In this regard, one of the major sectors to benefit in terms of revenue is the education sector (Lee, 2011). There has been a surge in the migrants since the commencement of the 21st century, especially in the regions of Europe, United States and Australia.
Educational Tourism consists of a program introduced by a country for individuals from other countries. The main aim of such a program is to attract students who have a strong desire of learning about the country’s culture and its practices. In this regard, the role of the local community is very vital as it needs to be conducive for creating a learning environment (Benckendorff, 2015).
If the response of the local residents is not favourable, it could severely affect educational tourism. Thus, social and cognitive factors play a vital role in establishing the educational tourism sector in a region. These have a direct impact on the mentality of the individuals pursuing their activity in a foreign land (Reisinger, 2015).
Educational Tourism is one of the growing sectors in the Europe and America. The individuals who undertake Educational Tourism have a major focus on obtaining knowledge and experience from the countries they visit. United Kingdom is one of the most sought-after destinations in the sector of Educational tourism (Arnold, 2013).
One of the main reasons for UK being a favourable destination is the fact that the courses designed for the students generally have shorter duration when it is compared with other countries in Europe. This has a direct effect on the time required to spend in the country, thereby cutting down valuable costs for students in the region. This includes both the food and accommodation costs which are expensive in the European countries (Hsu, 2012).
Source- (Gross, 2014 )
United Kingdom is a mix of cosmopolitan villages and towns which provide a surreal experience for the students visiting their countries. All the cities and villages are well-connected through road as well as rail transport which enables an individual to visit the place of their choice (Roberts, 2013 ). On the cultural part, United Kingdom is a mix of cultures, hosting a multitude of nationalities in the country. Thus, a global environment is being provided for the individuals spending their time in the region. Thus, there is presence of a vibrant culture in the region. Most importantly, United Kingdom is home to some of the best universities of the world (Lee, 2011).
Among the top ten universities of the world, four universities are located in England which makes it one of the destinations on high priority for the aspiring tourists or students. The standards of teaching and infrastructure provided make UK one of the best destinations for educations for students across the globe (Plunkett, 2012).
The tourism activity forms the core intention of educational tourism. It can be categorised further into four types.
This is recommended for students in the teenage who like to visit places in the form of excursions. The visits mostly include places of historical importance where they believe can gain valuable information about the subject (Harris, 2017 ). Such places may provide a learning environment in terms of cultural or historical learning.
This is one of the fastest growing sectors within the Educational Tourism. One section of this focuses on International education with specificity to research programs. More students across the world pursue their Master’s course in a foreign university where they believe the exposure would help them to lift their knowledge and experience (Brebbia, 2012 ). In the last decade, the number of students pursuing their Master’s course, have risen by 100%, which is an enormous number, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Source – (Lee, 2011)
Another aspect with the Tourism Education is the Student Exchange program where students from local universities in their country, can study one or two semesters in a university abroad while still being enrolled (Gross, 2014 ). European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) has introduced programs such as internships and summer camps for students from other countries. Such programs have helped in a short stint for college goers thereby, gain valuable knowledge in the process.
Many workshops are conducted where the students are given an opportunity to interact with professionals in the field (Benckendorff, 2015). This would help them acquire valuable tips and knowledge about a specific subject they are interested in. There is no restriction in terms of age and gender when it comes to Workshop travels.
Individuals get an opportunity to learn more about a language and it culture by enrolling themselves at a language school (Arnold, 2013). Europe is one such centre where there is plethora of opportunities in this arena. Getting an opportunity to learn from such institutions not only provides a wholesome experience on the language but also an opportunity to explore and delve into the depths of the local culture and tradition.
There is an opportunity to interact directly in the native language in the region, through which learning becomes faster (Hsu, 2012).
Knowledge about the host country
One of the most important factors in the choice of a country for educational tourism is that the individual looking for the education must have high awareness about the country where they wish to pursue (Plunkett, 2012).
In this regard, the information about the country must be available to the candidates so that they get to know more about the country and get an idea about the industry there. The ease of availability of the information and its reputation for the quality of the education play an important role in influencing the final decision (Reisinger, 2015).
Influence of Referrals and Recommendations
References and recommendations from the close circle of people certainly is an important factor. The individuals are most likely to be influenced by the people and individuals who are around them. Since they fall under the trustworthy category, the individuals are more likely to go by their advice (Johnston, 2013 ). Also,
if they have any of their friends or relatives pursuing courses in the country already, then their views are likely to have an influencing role on the final choice of the country. Thus, their experience and judgement are likely to be heeded more by the individuals aspiring to pursue the education in that particular country (Gross, 2014 ).
Source – (Brebbia, 2012 )
Europe is touted to be one of the costliest destinations despite a few being more economical compared to United States and Australia (Hsu, 2012). Hence one of the factors to be considered before choosing the country for education destination would be the costs.
Even if the costs including food and accommodation are high, individuals consider the option of working part time which brings decent money for survival. If all these factors are found favourable for the pursuit for education, then it will have a positive impact on the educational tourism (Brebbia, 2012 ).
There are many students who pursue their education in the United Kingdom. Such students belong to native African countries which are not much developed in terms of economy. Such individuals do face a lot of issues while trying to sustain in the United Kingdom (Lee, 2011). This is because of the enormous difference in the currency rates between Britain and their native country.
Hence, in this regard, cost becomes a huge deterrent to the individuals willing to pursue their educational tourism goals in the United Kingdom. The Euro crisis of late, has created a lot of confusion among the individuals from the foreign countries, though it has not deterred individuals from visiting UK much (Reisinger, 2015).
Political Climate and Environmental Factors
Political stability is a critical factor considered by aspiring individuals while taking up educational tourism. Countries like United Kingdom, France are considered to be a safer despite recent instances of terrorist attacks (Benckendorff, 2015). Further factors such as racial discrimination and crime, deter the individuals from choosing a particular country, if their incidence is found to be high.
The conduciveness to accept individuals from foreign countries and the compatibility of the society are critical factors in this regard. The physical climate, political conditions and the lifestyle are important factors which are considered by an individual before evaluating a particular country (Plunkett, 2012).
United Kingdom is considered to be one of the safest destinations for education. Along with countries such as France and Germany, the United Kingdom ranks high among the preferred destinations for education because of the highly stable political climate in the region (Hsu, 2012). This has been an attraction for UK among the aspiring individuals for educational tourism.
The last but important factor is the geographic proximity of the country to the native country of the individual. Sometimes, the cultural similarity plays a significant role in the choice of the destination country for pursuing educational tourism (Gross, 2014 ). Also, the presence of their close circle, which include family or friends in the country, would pull them towards the country.
Individuals who are present in the East Africa apart from those in the Middle East have higher inclination to pursue their educational tourism goals in the United Kingdom. This is because of the proximity of their respective countries with Britain (Lee, 2011). Thus, geographic proximity is a vital aspect to be considered while evaluating the factors influencing educational tourism in United Kingdom.
Thus, these factors which can be defined as Pull factors play an influencing role in the choice of the destination of Educational Tourism for an individua (Roberts, 2013 )l. It is important either or all of the factors are strong for an individual to make a final decision on the choice.
United Kingdom has approximately half a million foreign students who are pursuing their masters as well as undergraduate courses in various universities in the country. Some of the universities are more than 100 years old and carry with them rich cultural heritage which aids in Educational Tourism (Anastakis, 2014).
The quality of the education and infrastructure provided by these universities to local as well as foreign students are highly commendable which make UK as one of the preferred countries for studies and educational tourism. Students registered through NHS get free Medical care which is one of the highlights (Johnston, 2013 ).
Foreign students feel at home while pursuing their education or educational tourism at UK. This is because of the presence of International societies in the region which houses more number of individuals from the native countries (Reisinger, 2015).
Thus a society is formed and the individuals have an opportunity to interact more among themselves, thus learning and getting to know many aspects which they have not come across before. Such societies organise informal meets and outings among themselves and this gives them a chance to explore more about the country and know its culture and customs (Arnold, 2013). Further, these aspects act as one of the strong influential force to pursue educational tourism in UK.
Sheffield is one of the happening cities in the country of United Kingdom. The city is touted to be one of the safest and highly conducive for Educational tourism because of a variety of factors.
Source – (Benckendorff, 2015)
The city has a rich cultural heritage and is one of cultural as well as historical importance. An example if the Victoria Quays Canal basin which is of prime significance for its location (Brebbia, 2012 ). The Winter Garden which is home to the Crucible and Lyceum theatres, and the Millennium Galleries are two of the city’s cultural symbols and heritage.
The presence of these places of historical importance add value to the cultural quotient of Sheffield which enables the candidates to learn as much from the environment directly (Harris, 2017 ). Thus, there is an added advantage of knowing more about the culture of the region, in addition to the language.
Sheffield is one of the rare destinations in the United Kingdom which has a few exotic spots for the tourists to visit (Roberts, 2013 ). It has Medieval castle which has been reopened after complete restoration. Such a place reflects the cultural heritage of the place and provides the connection with Britain’s values and culture.
The Sheffield Botanical Garden is a favourite among the tourists. It has been restored of late and hence comes under the exotic place list. Further, the walkers have a point to be satisfied with Sheffield because of Golden Route which is a favourite among the individuals who love to take a stroll (Gross, 2014 ).
In addition to these points, Sheffield is a hub of industrial heritage. It is easily connected with Peak District National Park which is more popular in the region. Thus, Sheffield serves as a hub of tourism in this regard and has been contributing to the economy of UK through direct and indirect means (Plunkett, 2012). Visitors to Sheffield are hugely attracted by the Dark and White Peaks.
Sheffield is usually referred to as the Hobbit country because of the presence of so many valleys that are exotic to United Kingdom (Arnold, 2013). The Rivelin Valley and Porter Valley are some of the finest spots to be visited.
The Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Kelham island are places that are not to be missed by any educational tourists. All these spots reflect the rich exotic nature of Sheffield and in turn, that of United Kingdom. Further, Sheffield is home to museums and visitor centres that provide a lot of information about the city’s culture and heritage (Johnston, 2013 ).
Universities and People
The Sheffield University is one of the top-class universities in the region of United Kingdom. The University offers courses in undergraduate and Post graduate categories and hence, a lot of students are admitted for various courses (Anastakis, 2014).
The quality and class of teaching at Sheffield university is very high that the university is a favourite destination for many foreign students willing to pursue their masters course. Further, it is widely known that Sheffield is one of the safest cities in the region of United Kingdom which makes it a top favourite among the individuals. The universities in Sheffield have highest retention rates and hence are widely reputed (Reisinger, 2015).
The incidence of crimes has been so low since 2011 that the city has seen a surge in the number of students taking up higher education, especially among the foreign contingent.
The people are friendly and warm towards the visitors which makes Sheffield a most-sought after among not only the foreigntourists but also the students (Harris, 2017 ). The conduciveness of the environment has been a talking feature about Sheffield and that has been one of the prime reasons for Sheffield to rank among the favourites among the foreign students.
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