Today in New Delhi I met more than 70 of India’s most prominent Scottish alumni, and asked them to become ambassadors of our unique higher education system.
I urged each alumnus to reflect on their own time in Scotland and to unite in a drive to encourage others to experience the distinctive benefits of living, working and studying in our great nation.
Scotland is world-renowned for excellence in higher education. Five of our universities rank in the top 200 in the world, and a new British Council Scotland report shows that the Scottish system rates highly against the rest of the world and the overall learning satisfaction of our international students is unmatched worldwide. There are almost 47,000 overseas students currently studying in Universities and colleges, of which Indians make up the third largest group.
These findings back up what we in Scotland have known for a long time - that our overseas students can and do enjoy a fulfilling academic experience in Scotland, and that they contribute significantly to student life.
But contemplating whether to embark on a new course of study, and a new life overseas is no small matter. There’s so much to consider – your studies, your finances, your opportunities and of course, your overall wellbeing.
In Scotland we warmly welcome international students and researchers and we value the significant cultural, economic and intellectual contribution they make to our institutions and to our nation.
And although our universities’ results and our world rankings speak for themselves, Scotland’s alumni can assist us further and strengthen our reputation by helping to promote the whole package of benefits and opportunities that studying in Scotland can offer.
I was immensely proud to hear today about the positive experiences the alumni in New Delhi had while living and studying in Scotland, and how the qualifications, skills and experiences they gained have had and continue to have a positive impact on their lives and careers.
Our former overseas students are incredibly important to us, because they are better equipped than anyone else to present to others the most-rounded and accurate picture of what living and studying in Scotland is like for those who come here from overseas.
The event I attended in New Delhi today aimed to showcase the very distinct quality of Scottish higher education and encourage more Indians to choose Scotland as a place to further their studies.
It was an opportunity for Scotland to reengage with some of our most prominent and successful Indian alumni, to encourage them to put their own positive experiences of studying in Scotland to excellent use by becoming ambassadors for Scotland and our world-class higher education system.
Their task now is to help us spread the word throughout India – one of the world’s fastest expanding economies, our third largest international market for students, and a country where young people make up more than half of the population - that Scotland is a great place to live, study, work, visit, do business and invest.
Minister for External Affairs and International Development
* Mr Yousaf is in India from October 10-16 to highlight and strengthen Scottish education, business, tourism, cultural and diplomatic links with the country