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Comparison with England and poll effects

EVERY year thousands of students from all over the world come to Scotland to study, but little is known about their views of this country and how it compares to the rest of the UK.

Since I first came to study at Glasgow University in 2010, I've always been fascinated by what people believe before they arrive and where they get their ideas from.

The main purpose of my survey was to find out if Scottish independence would impact on where international students chose to study, but I also wanted to know what they thought of Scotland compared to England.

The results showed that some people in China associate England with the Queen, afternoon tea, and it is seen as a country of gentlemen, while in Scotland it is all kilts, haggis, bagpipes and a Braveheart version of history.

One student said: "English people are very posh and well-mannered and Scotland is very rainy with the Loch Ness monster."

But the compensation for the rain is that Scottish people are said to be very friendly, while no-one said this about the English.

Looking at my results I realised there was a serious side to these views which will have an impact on whether people choose to study in an independent Scotland.

There is no doubt international students love being here, with 77 per cent saying they were happy, but the belief of many in the prestige and status of university education comes from the identity of the UK.

If Scotland does become independent, the universities here might have to think up new strategies to keep them coming.

Yajun Deng studied economics and later journalism as a postgraduate in Glasgow and is editor of online magazine ChinaGirlsAbroad.

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Education

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