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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 01:21 GMT
Foreign students 'do not mingle'
Students in a lecture
Students found living costs were higher than expected
Foreign students at British colleges say they rate their courses very highly - but most do not mix with the locals.

The council for international education polled 641 students from 87 countries at 25 further education colleges in England, Scotland and Wales.

Eight in 10 said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the support they received from their college and even more were positive about their stay.

But only 27% included British people among those they mixed with most often.

Almost all found their British peers friendly "once one got to know them", said the report by the council, UKCosa.

"Respondents tended to agree that the UK was a welcoming and tolerant society."

But they were more likely to mix with people from their own countries or other overseas students.

The report recommended colleges arrange trips, sports and other social opportunities in an effort to break down the barriers.


More than half those surveyed had sought part-time work and a third had found jobs.

But a third also had money troubles because the cost of living was higher than they had expected, and the report said the British Council should make "realistic" information more readily available.

Two thirds of those who needed a visa found the application process straightforward, though almost a fifth (18%) found it lengthy and difficult.

Geoff Pine, principal of Greenwich Community College and chairman of the survey steering group, said: "There is much in this report of which the sector can be proud.

"Nevertheless, in a competitive international market place, we cannot afford to be complacent and the report identifies areas where colleges can give themselves a real competitive advantage."

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