Post-Brexit UK: Decline In University Attractiveness


Amsterdam leads the way among new university destinations as Giulia and Emilio tell us in the streets of the Dutch capital.

“I had to give up my studies in London because of Brexit. The prices of the universities and the possibility of being able to move there have become unaffordable for me.”

To tell us about it is Emilio Di Mauro, a nineteen-year-old Sicilian, whom we meet in Amsterdam where he has recently begun his university career at the Willem de Kooning Academie.

Next to him, Giulia Morabito, an eighteen-year-old from Catania who attends the Interior Architecture and Furniture Design course at the Royal Academy in The Hague in the Netherlands, who presses on: “I too initially wanted to move to London, work and at the same time enroll at the University. But being now the United Kingdom, no longer in Europe, I was discouraged by the bureaucratic procedures, the difficulty in finding a job, which was not undeclared, and a room to settle down.”

Stories, these, which resemble those of thousands of students who, finding it difficult to settle in the post-Brexit United Kingdom, look to other European destinations, Amsterdam in the lead.

This is confirmed by Massimiliano Sfregola, founder and director of 31mag, a news magazine from Holland and Belgium. “Today, a city like Amsterdam represents, compared to London, an excellent second best for both students and young professionals. In reality – explains Sfregola – this is a phenomenon we have been witnessing even before Brexit. But the UK’s exit from Europe has amplified that.

Indeed, Amsterdam and London offer similar conditions. You can live by yourself, there are museums, attractions and many things of interest. We can say that in terms of external image and attractiveness Amsterdam offers a lot. Add to this the advantage of English. Furthermore, Dutch universities are among the top hundred in the rankings of the most prestigious universities. All of this makes Amsterdam a low-cost, quality alternative to London.”

A diaspora that is also confirmed by experts in the world of education working in the United Kingdom.

Students Who Turn to us to Enroll in British Universities

“Over the years we have recorded a decline in Italian students who turn to us to enroll in British universities” confirms Clizia Albertella, senior recruiter manager of EU Network, an agency that supports the enrollment process in UK universities.

Not only Brexit weighs, but also Covid and the new settlement status regime. “For three years, in fact, we have had a 30-40% drop in requests. A significant number, but honestly lower than we expected, which is also compensated by an increased number of non-European users”.

In short, London and the United Kingdom are always captivating, but Italians and Europeans in general are increasingly looking elsewhere.

This article is originally published on


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