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First Minister Urges Welsh Universities To Compete With London And Oxbridge

First Minister For Wales Urges Welsh Universities To Compete With London And Oxbridge Speaking at the launch of the Wales International Study Centre (WISC) Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan AM, the First Minister for Wales, urged Welsh Universities and Higher Education Institutions to seize this opportunity to compete with the elite of UK universities as a destination for international students. He said: "This initiative will allow us to capitalise on the warm welcome Wales already extends to international students from around the world and our reputation for treating our students as individuals, rather than as just another statistic. It will enable us to truly compete with the ever-popular Oxbridge and London universities". He continued: "By working together to create this opportunity for students to study in a safe beautiful, and cost effective environment, where they can familiarise themselves with the 11 partner universities and make informed decisions, we hope to create an altogether more satisfying long-term experience for our international students." The centre, created as a partnership between Study Group and the University of Wales, Newport, offers international students an exciting opportunity to prepare for degree studies at one of 11 universities and higher education institutions across Wales. Based on the campus of The University of Wales, Newport, students benefit from access to all on-campus facilities within a supportive environment, whilst studying their University of Wales validated Foundation course. Executive Chairman of Study Group, Arvid Petersen, supported the First Minister’s view: "The opening of this new facility will herald a new phase in the development of international student education in Wales. Through this unique public-private partnership, Study Group will be actively supporting Welsh institutions in achieving their international student objectives. It will also be supporting the promotion of Wales as a quality international study destination in its own right". With significantly lower living costs than other UK student destinations, Wales is fast becoming a real contender for international student attention. According to the London School of Economics, the annual living costs for international students in the capital, exclusive of tuition fees, can exceed £12,000. In contrast, 2007 figures released by the Wales International Consortium highlight an average annual living cost of just £6,500 in Wales. In addition to the financial benefits, Wales offers students an enriching on-campus experience. Recently, the Wales Student Barometer, published by i-Graduate, revealed that international students in Wales are happier than their peers in the whole of the UK in almost every aspect of their university education. The University of Wales, Newport, where the WISC is located, also recently achieved acclaim by being voted the most satisfying campus in Wales in a poll of international students. Peter Noyes, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales, Newport, said: "It is a great honour for Newport to host the Welsh International Study Centre and we look forward to this exciting new chapter in the development of the international sector in Wales, and the range of international perspectives these students will bring." Virginia West, Director of the Wales International Consortium, commented: "With international student numbers at Welsh institutions up by 36 per cent in the last five years, there has never been a better time for a partnership of this scale." ENDS 

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