Journal article Open Access

International Students in the Era of Trump and Brexit: Implications, Constructions and Trends

Brendan Bartram

As Rose-Redwood and Rose-Redwood (2017) made plain:

We are living in troubling and uncertain times. Xenophobia is on the rise as right-wing, authoritarian nationalism has witnessed significant electoral gains and the very ideals of democratic inclusiveness and international pluralism are under direct attack. With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the country with the largest share of international students globally is increasingly becoming an unwelcoming place to study abroad. (p. i)

            The above authors are far from alone in making such claims (see Watt, Costa Candal, & Quiason, 2018, for example). Across the Global North in fact, many commentators have begun to note the expansion and spread of nationalist sentiments with some concern. Outside of the US, in the immediate aftermath of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union (EU) in the June 2016 referendum, there was an alarming increase in reported incidents of hate crime targeted at non-U.K. nationals (Burnett, 2017). These varied from physical attacks on individuals to verbal abuse and cyber assaults. Commentators suggested that the vote to leave had somehow—and for some people—legitimized the open display of negative attitudes toward foreigners and cultural difference, casual xenophobia, and indeed racist behavior (Khalili, 2016). After many years of uneasy E.U. membership (Ford & Goodwin, 2017), a decision had been taken to reject a notion of unity and cooperation with the UK’s European neighbors in favor of what others have variously interpreted as a desire for independence driven by

As Rose-Redwood and Rose-Redwood (2017) made plain:

We are living in troubling and uncertain times. Xenophobia is on the rise as right-wing, authoritarian nationalism has witnessed significant electoral gains and the very ideals of democratic inclusiveness and international pluralism are under direct attack. With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the country with the largest share of international students globally is increasingly becoming an unwelcoming place to study abroad. (p. i)

            The above authors are far from alone in making such claims (see Watt, Costa Candal, & Quiason, 2018, for example). Across the Global North in fact, many commentators have begun to note the expansion and spread of nationalist sentiments with some concern. Outside of the US, in the immediate aftermath of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union (EU) in the June 2016 referendum, there was an alarming increase in reported incidents of hate crime targeted at non-U.K. nationals (Burnett, 2017). These varied from physical attacks on individuals to verbal abuse and cyber assaults. Commentators suggested that the vote to leave had somehow—and for some people—legitimized the open display of negative attitudes toward foreigners and cultural difference, casual xenophobia, and indeed racist behavior (Khalili, 2016). After many years of uneasy E.U. membership (Ford & Goodwin, 2017), a decision had been taken to reject a notion of unity and cooperation with the UK’s European neighbors in favor of what others have variously interpreted as a desire for independence driven by

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