On March 29th, the Government of the United Kingdom triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, effectively beginning the process by which the UK will leave the EU.
Since no member state has ever left the EU, it remains unclear what the long-term effects of this act will be. However, in the short-term, the expectation is that the British government will spend the following two years, until April 2019, organising new agreements (such as trade agreements) with the member states and perhaps those outside, such as Commonwealth nations like Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
With so much unknown about what will happen, especially in regards to the deals and agreements that Britain will have to make to lessen the effect of the lack of deals that will occur following Brexit proper, it can be difficult to predict the effects on the individual.
However, considering that one of the foremost concerns for the British voters was that of immigration, that topic will undoubtedly be at the forefront of the negotiations. One area that is of great sensitivity to all is that of international education. Britain prides itself on having one of the best education systems in the world, in addition to some of the best universities in the world.
Furthermore, the number of international students is something of pride and value to both the British people and the British political system and there have been suggestions that the immigration British voters decided to leave the Union for have not been understood to equal students or similar skilled or valued people.
There has also been little indication that there will be a rejection of international students from the British public, government or institutions.
In fact, with the breaking of ties to mainland Europe, there is a hope that the British government will introduce greater freedoms for students, with the intention of further encouraging them to choose the UK. These may include a streamlined visa application, work placements or even a reduction of fees.
The Scottish government, for example, has confirmed that free tuition will continue for EU students studying until at least 2022.
As suggested, a lot of what the British government and university system decide to do will be dependent on the progress of trade and freedom of movement agreements that will occur over the next two years.
Regardless of what happens, you can rest assured that the reputation, facilities and relationships of British universities will remain strong and eager to encourage global students to their shores.
Despite the confusing and obscured road ahead, there remains plenty of optimism that Britain will continue to be one of the most welcoming and supportive countries for an international education in the world.