This document represents a press release issued by Romanian students in the United Kingdom through the organizations which represent them, in response to recent press criticisms against the Romanian community. Its main purpose is to present a representative and true account of the Romanian presence in the UK, namely that of a mistreated asset.
Romanian Students in the UK â€“ a Mistreated Asset â€“
High-flying libel has been set as standard in the past year within the British right-wing populist media, with the local Romanian community being the punching bag in the search of an ever increasingly ignorant readership. In a media Farage-isation, bombastic accounts revealed how Romanian gangs of beggars and criminals, already terrorising Britain, can’t wait for January 1st 2014 when work restrictions are lifted, and their ‘mates’ – the benefits MSc, the London School of Economics and Political Science; seekers – can freely leave their homes Undertaking research for Asford where “they live like animals”, to come Place on the Romanian migrant workers in the Cricklewood area of and suffocate the British labour marLondon. ket. Pseudo-alarmist accounts call for drastic solutions, ranging from extending the restrictions placed on Romanians’ access to the UK labour market to the outright British withdrawal from the EU. Representatives of Romanian students’ organizations in the UK, the present signatories of this line of argument, however, are keen on emphasising one clear point: ignorance hurts! Romanian Student in the UK Laura Chilințan
We are keen to use this channel in order to present a realist account of our segment of the local Romanian community – namely Romanian students in the UK. This segment embodies anything but the above-mentioned examples and, most significantly, is immensely more representative of the true features of the Romanian community in Britain than the accounts above. Consequently, as Romanians in the UK, we take direct offence in the intentional attempt at libelling our image and deplore both the superficiality of the xenophobic rhetoric which influences such arguments and the (lack of) deontological norms behind their publication in a number of right-wing populist media outlets in Britain. The intellectual competences of Romanian students in the UK have been constantly recognised by both British academia and peers alike. Romanian students are continually evaluated to be among the best within British education, not least because the Romanian educational system in which they originated has a strong knowledge focus. Thus, there exists a significant degree of complementarity between the Romanian knowledge-based education curricula and the British research skills-oriented focus and this, in itself, represents both a feature of British Higher Education which appeals to our nationals
and a factor which increases their com- Romanian Academic in the UK for the future young and highly skilled Dr Elena Doldor petitive advantage – as they develop to Romanian workforce in Britain, which, become products of both frameworks. according to Push and Pull Factors for This isn’t to say, however, that Romanian Romanians and Bulgarians (2012) is the students do not give back to the system most active of all foreign communities in that educates them. According to the the United Kingdom and has an unemUK Higher Education Statistics Agency, ployment proportion of only 4.4%. This during the 2011/12 academic year, 5915 is, however, only if Britain is attractive Romanian nationals were enrolled withenough to be able to benefit from their in UK Higher Education Institutions, of assets. In this sense, statements such as which 5175 were studying in England. that of Foreign Secretary William Hague At an average rate of £3200 per year, Ro- Lecturer in Organisational that, “In view of the fact that the UK Behaviour, Queen Mary University manian students in England have paid will lift working restrictions on Romaof London; their universities a total of £16,560,000 Member of the British Academy nian and Bulgarian nationals on 1 Janin tuition fees alone. If one added a very of Management, reviewer for the uary 2014 in accordance with our legal British Journal of Management, the small estimate of £50 per week in accom- Journal of Business Ethics and Gen- obligations, we acknowledged the posimodation costs (although, in England, der, Work and Organisation. tive contribution that most Romanians rents are known to be higher), living in England in the UK make to the UK economy” are welcomed for 38 weeks of the year simply means that another by the Romanian student community in the UK as a £9,832,500 can be added to the sum. Without acsign of mainstream normality; so are research concounting for any other expenses (such as shopping, tributions, such as the recent study carried out by the utilities, etc.), £26,392,500 was the 2011/12 sum of University College London, as a focus on real data. money paid by our students enrolled at English universities to cover the costs associated with their eduAs proud representatives of their country in the cation. In other words, throughout their (average of) United Kingdom, Romanian students have created three years of undergraduate studies, our 2011/12 one of the most cohesive institutional frameworks generation would have paid a little under £80 milin Europe for the promotion of their culture and lion in Romanian capital transferred to England. spirit within the academic environments in which Again, this very cautious estimate does not account they live and work. At a micro level, relationships for any other expenses such as shopping, bills, living between Romanian and non-Romanian nationals in in accommodation for longer than 38 weeks, pursuthe UK resulting from this framework are indicaing postgraduate studies (and paying for tuition fees tive not only of the spirit of collaboration and shared for longer than 3 years), or paying post-2013 tuition values between Romanians, Britons and other interfees exceeding £3200. By comparison, 5000 Romanationals, but also of the intrinsic and wide-ranging nian students paying the increased tuition fees alone academic co-operation that our students are experifollowing 2011/12, would contribute £45,000,000 encing throughout their studies. The National Day per academic year to English academic institutions. of Romania, on December 1st, when the entire corpus of Romanian student associations in the UK celGiving back does not stop here. As the results of ebrates not in isolation, but through events at which professional formation begin to show, Romanian the majority of guests are British and international students transform into young, multilingual and students, professors and researchers, is only one exintelligent professionals, and, to the potential beneample in which this phenomenon is made manifest. fit of Britain, direct contributors to the British ecoExcellence, potential, and meritocratic success repnomic recovery and growth. Even the UK Migration resent the characterising features of the Romanian Advisory Committee has noted in 2012 that educatstudent community in the UK and they are manied foreign nationals, such as our own, increase the fested in a developed and open associative environskills capital available to companies/organizations ment which nicely fits into the British multicultural employing them, which leads to a visible increase in horizons. Multiculturalism, as a celebrated political their competitiveness. This is where the representaproposal, has been extensively and discursively protiveness of the Romanian student community in the moted in recent years, fact which has massively inUK becomes most obvious - as the main supply base fluenced Romanian students’ choice to study in the
UK. However, it is arguable that today’s Romanian Researcher in the UK Ariel Alexander Chis, Association of Maria Suciu public discourse is encountering a backRomanian International Student Societlash from multiculturalism in the lights ies (ARISS): firstname.lastname@example.org of the increased security measures Andrei Dinca, University of Durham which aim to redefine immigration polRomanian Society: andrei-florinicies, among a variety of other strategic email@example.com decisions. All these place a shadow on Ioan Polenciuc, York Romanian Society: Romanian students in the UK, as well firstname.lastname@example.org as creating a dangerous, concerning and Madalina Luca, King’s College London misunderstood label which does nothRomanian Society: ing else than to stigmatize both their email@example.com tential and the UK’s benefits from their Doctoral candidate in Genomic Alexandra Bogatu, UCLU Romanian intellectual and material contribution Medicine and Statistics, University and Moldovan Society: of Oxford; to wider socio-economic developments. Investigating the genetics of red blood firstname.lastname@example.org Neither populism nor xenophobia rep- cell formation. Octavian Tuchila, Imperial College Roresent new phenomena. Present instances of their manian Society: email@example.com manifestation throughout Europe reveal that they Cristiana Mirosanu, University of Sheffield Romaconstitute nothing more than archaic instances of nian Society: firstname.lastname@example.org rhetoric typical to uneducated activists. Though, Catalin Munteanu-Ene, Warwick University Romaas their expression in British media reveals, this nian Speaking Society: does not make them less dangerous or less email@example.com sive. Romanian students in the UK can accept Ema Mihaela Tudose, University of Manchester the existence and narrative of UKIP as a disconRomanian Society: firstname.lastname@example.org certing oddity in an otherwise exemplary politAlexandra Irina Pinzariu, Romanian Society at ical environment. However, the success of this University of Nottingham: political faction in getting its purposefully email@example.com sive message across through right-wing populist Alois Afilipoaie, University of Bradford Romanian media institutions can only be codified as a deal aimed Society: firstname.lastname@example.org at increasing the audience of the said institutions – and Radu Oprescu, University of Edinburgh Romanian this, in itself, represents nothing less than a cheap shot. Society: email@example.com Ion Ambrinoc, University of Oxford Romanian Romanian students in the UK are also keen to asSociety: firstname.lastname@example.org sure the British public that they do not promote the Florin Alexandru Sîntean, Glasgow Romanian Socifalse image of a 100% saintly Romanian communiety: email@example.com ty in Britain. On the contrary, as a community we Adriana Solomon, Napier University Romanian display the same zero-tolerance to crime and abuse Society: firstname.lastname@example.org towards our own nationals as towards all others. We Nida Serban, Leeds Romanian Society: are, however, of the strong opinion that the flaws email@example.com displayed by our nationals are in no way different Dan Angelache, Southampton Romanian Society: or more widespread than those of any other Euroda7g12@soton.ac.uk pean population and, for that matter, of Britain as Dorin Frasineanu, Leicester University Romanian well. Nonetheless, we, Romanians, could never conSociety: firstname.lastname@example.org ceive to pass judgments regarding the United KingVladimir Vancea, Loughborough Romanian Society: dom exclusively by virtue of Britons’ flaws, even email@example.com if our flaws have been exploited immensely by the Ioana Nastasia Alexandru, Essex Romanian Society: above-mentioned media institutions in the past year. firstname.lastname@example.org Diana Somanescu, Exeter Romanian Society: th Signed on the 4 of November 2013 by: email@example.com Andrei Ioan Stan, League of Romanian Students Cora Georgiana, Portsmouth Romanian Society: Abroad UK Branch (LSRS-UK): firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Published on Feb 20, 2015