British Embassy invites Israelis to explore studying in UK

Initiative seeks to capitalize on high rankings of country’s top universities; 4 ranked in global top 6.

Queen Elizabeth II (521) (photo credit: Reuters)
Queen Elizabeth II (521)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Britain’s Ambassador Matthew Gould held a reception at his residence in Ramat Gan on Sunday evening for hundreds of Israeli students to present to them opportunities for studying in the UK.
The initiative came following the latest QS World University Rankings, released earlier this month, which showed that four UK universities – the University of Cambridge, University College London, Imperial College London and the University of Oxford – were ranked in the global top six.
The University of Edinburgh and King’s College London were also both placed in the top 20 this year.
In addition, the study found that graduates from UK universities are among the most employable, with employers rating five UK universities among the world’s top 10.
Sunday night’s event also marked the launch of a new campaign by the British Council in Israel to “inspire students and young professionals to enrich their education and advance their careers with a UK qualification.”
“Today we start a real effort to reach out to Israeli students and help them understand what the UK has to offer,” Gould told The Jerusalem Post before the event on Sunday.
“To be honest, in terms of numbers of Israeli students in the UK, they are not as big as we want them to be,” he added.
“When I look at potential and then the actual numbers, we are unfortunately nowhere near potential.”
Gould explained that in addition to UK universities being “phenomenal assets for people’s careers,” they can especially interest Israeli students for various reasons such as the UK being closer to Israel in comparison to US universities, the English language, and their strength in areas that particularly interest Israeli, including technology, biotechnology and engineering, among other fields.
He also pointed out that most British master’s programs are completed in one year, which can benefit Israeli students who, because of the mandatory army service, tend to be older than their international classmates.
According to the council – the United Kingdom’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities – the UK has hosted some 500,000 international students from about 200 different countries in the year 2012.
Gould told the Post that besides what UK education can bring to Israeli students, he believes “Israeli students are special.”
“When UK universities recruit Israelis, they get phenomenally high quality, determined, experienced, mature and creative students,” he said. “Israeli students are special because of what they’ve been through before university, because of the economy they come from and because of the country they come from.
“As an ambassador, this relationship is incredibly important to me,” Gould added.
“It is the single best way to create understanding between the two countries,” he explained. “When I talk to people in the UK who are friends of Israel and are not Jewish, for most of them the reason why they even started thinking about Israel was because they knew an Israeli student.”
Some 60 Israeli alumni of UK institutions also spoke to prospective applicants at Sunday’s reception about their experiences of studying there as well as professional life after their studies.
On its website, the council’s education organization, Education UK, offers international applicants help concerning English language programs, UK boarding schools for children and teenagers, undergraduate and graduate studies in the UK, single courses applications, as well as information on traveling and student life in the UK.
“UK education is all about giving you inspiration to develop your knowledge and skills, freedom to be creative, and support to help you achieve your best,” the website advertises.
“UK schools, colleges, universities and English language centers offer you a world-class education, the chance to follow your passion for learning and gain qualifications that are respected by employers and academics worldwide.”