Published 21st April 2017
Let’s be honest, Brexit caused quite a stir last year. It got a lot of people hot under the collar, including TEFL teachers who were worried about their employment rights, residential status or the future of their careers.
For a long time no one was exactly sure what we were in for or how the world was going to change because of Brexit and so there was a lot of speculation, but now that the dust has settled slightly, let’s take a look and see if we can get a better picture of how Brexit is actually affecting the TEFL world.
And in fact things are not looking as bleak as we expected.
The weaker pound which has been the result of the Brexit vote is not all doom and gloom for the EFL world, with UK ELT providers reporting an increase in bookings for summer 2017. There has been a huge increase in the number of enquiries from the same time last year, even though the conversion rate is lower.
What this means is that more students are finding out information about studying in the UK but only a small percentage of those are going one step further and taking the decision to book their flights. Interestingly, the number of students booked for 2017 is still an increase on previous years, reflecting the fact that there has been a general slump in numbers of EFL students coming to the UK over the last few years – which clearly had nothing to do with Brexit.
This interest has come from all corners of the globe, from South America to Asia. There was a period of hesitation and reluctance from students and agents when the whole Brexit debacle was at its peak, understandably, but now it seems as if things have settled and their confidence in the UK is returning – probably largely because of the weaker pound and possibly also the political drama unfolding in the U.S.
While these figures are only coming in for the upcoming summer season in the UK, hopefully the upswing in numbers will be maintained for the rest of the year. Certainly we cannot rely on currency exchange and dodgy overseas politics to attract foreign students to our shores, so with any luck EFL providers will be able to build on these numbers and make the EFL environment so appealing that the UK will once again become the destination of choice of EFL students, even after the sun has gone.
Source: The PIE News