A recent report about a Chinese student jailed for attempting to bribe a professor into awarding him his final degree (which he was about to fail) highlights the notion that international students in the UK may be under more pressure than home students.
Of course this is only one case, but university staff who work with international students often tell us they think international students are under enormous pressure to succeed academically. The weight of expectations from the entire extended family, many of whom will have invested financially or emotionally in their success, can be a burden. This may be especially so for Chinese students, where there are fewer young people in the family due to the one-child policy.
It’s not just a problem for students who are here. Back in China there’s a lot of pressure to have foreign qualifications and there seems to be quite an industry churning them out. Last month the Huffington Post reported that a number of people were found guilty of producing fake certificates from American universities, real and invented, in a scam amounting to 3.4 million yuan.
It’s easy to find a website that will offer any type of certificate, for any university. They’ll even promise to match security features.
At HEDD, most enquiries come from outside the UK and although fake certificates are rare, they do also tend to come from overseas.
I’d really like to know how international students themselves feel about this so I’m going to post a poll on our sister site Prospects, which gets a lot of traffic from international students. I’ll report back here on the results.
Sinéad McGovern – HEDD Business Manager