Mike Kapoor, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, welcomes the international partners to Leicestershire

Mike Kapoor, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, welcomes the international partners to Leicestershire

Celebrating Leicester and Leicestershire as a prime destination for international students

International partners from across the world gathered in Leicester on 11 October to hear first-hand from regional leaders about why the county is one of the most attractive destinations for international students in the country.

More than 40 partners from across the globe joined business and academic leaders along with Civic Dignitaries at the National Space Centre in Leicester for an event that celebrated all that makes the region such a great place for international students to live, study and work.

It is part of a week-long series of activities put together by the region’s three universities – University of Leicester, De Montfort University (DMU) and Loughborough University – to encourage greater numbers of international students to choose to study in the UK.

The King’s representative in Leicestershire, Lord Lieutenant Mike Kapur, opened the event by thanking the international partners – who help support international students in their application to study in the UK – for their work in spreading the word about Leicestershire around the world and helping to enhance the diversity of our region and enrich the university experience we offer.

Speaking at the event Professor Henrietta O’Connor, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester, said: “This event is about promoting our wonderful area more widely and bringing more students to Leicester and Leicestershire. Our international students are huge ambassadors for the city and the county. They come to study here, they bring their families to visit, they all come back for graduation and they carry Leicester and Leicestershire with them for the rest of their lives. They love the city and the county.”

The event was part of a flagship project of the Universities Partnership – a civic agreement signed in July 2022 by the region’s three universities and local authorities, to work together to support the region and grow its economy. 

Sarah Thomson, Director of Public Engagement at DMU, said the event was the first of its kind.

“We think it’s the first time that three universities from a region have come together to welcome international guests from around the world,” she said.

“The aim of the day and of the week is to really show the benefits international students bring to the region, not just economically but culturally and socially, and hopefully encourage more students to choose to come and study in Leicestershire.

“As universities, we can definitely do more for our region when we work together and this is a very important cause.”

Leicestershire’s economy receives an annual boost of £100m* from international students at the University of Leicester, Loughborough University and De Montfort University. The positive impact of more than 14,000 overseas students living, studying, spending, and working in the region, also supports 1,200 full-time jobs in the wider region. 

Valentina Ballan, an international recruitment agent who works in Egypt helping to connect students in the Middle East to UK universities, said she had learned a lot from the event.

She said: “I have found the week very successful, and have very much enjoyed visiting Leicester and Loughborough. I highly recommend the region for students because it is very diverse and this is what comes up most frequently when we talk to students about what they like about Leicestershire.”

Geographical location, affordability and the diversity of the region were all factors that the partners said made Leicester and Leicestershire an attractive choice for international students.

Yasmine Alyassin moved from Syria to study in Leicester, graduating from De Montfort University with both a Master’s and PhD in Pharmacy. She said the city felt “immediately like home” when she arrived. She said: “I won a scholarship to study at De Montfort University but originally had an offer to study in London. I heard it was very expensive so looked around and saw DMU had the oldest faculty in Pharmacy.

“Leicester is multicultural and diverse and I immediately felt at home. There are brilliant shops and a very international culture, we celebrate all Muslim festivals here. There are three universities in the region, all with different vibes but all with a really welcoming community.”

The event was part of a week-long programme of activities hosted by the Universities Partnership.


* Combined figure from Hatch Regeneris economic impact assessments of De Montfort University, Loughborough University and University of Leicester.