We’ve all been through the exhausting process of trying to choose a college before we get to Lancaster University. County is all about their tree, Lonsdale is the party college, Fylde is for the sport and pretty soon though you’ll only have one option if you’re an international student – and that’s Cartmel.
There has always been controversy concerning the collegiate system with people commenting how it encourages segregation and rivalry between colleges. Though this true, it’s part of the fun. Finding a college you identify with and, especially in Freshers’ Week, telling everyone why your chosen college is the best is pretty much an integral part of being within a college. Will this still be the case, however, when all internationals will be placed together simply on the basis that they are not UK residents?
Rising student fees and increased recruiting in foreign countries have led to a massively increased influx of foreign students to Lancaster University this year. On top of that, the rising status of the University as well as its leading business school has all contributed to rocketing international figures. Because international students are paying so much more than UK resident students, it seems they’re all being placed in Cartmel College. Maybe internationals are being placed in Cartmel because this is the most expensive accommodation on campus at about £110 a week, and have ‘better’ facilities, such as superior en-suite bathrooms.
What will this mean for Cartmel though? As a Cartmelian, rumours that next year Cartmel will be approximately 90% international is worrying. It’s definitely clinched my decision to stay off campus in third year despite the advantages of being on campus. My first year experience of international students wasn’t brilliant either, and this will have definitely influenced my decision. One second year student and a member of Cartmel College said “I definitely won’t come back to Cartmel knowing that it will be pretty much all international students. Last year I found it really hard to make friends as most of my flat bar me and another girl, were Greek and we felt very much segregated and unsettled in our flat.” Other students in Cartmel last year believed that the heavily international flats meant that their expectations of freshers were bitterly disappointed and some even saying they felt left out and marginalised in their own flats.
Another problem of Cartmel being the international dumping ground is segregation. Isn’t the whole point of coming to a new country to do a degree to make friends from England? To immerse yourself within the cultures and traditions and have an experience completely alien to one you’d have in your own country? That would be what I would be looking for if I did a year abroad. I think I’d be bitterly disappointed if I went to America only to find myself drinking tea every day and having a roast every Sunday with a bunch of other Englishmen instead of getting into the spirit of the country.
I would suggest that there should be no more than two international student in every flat in every college. This way they get to make friends with other Lancaster University students indigenous to the country and get a proper experience of what it means to be a student in England, instead of merely living within a bubble of their own community.
So what does the future hold for Cartmel College? A place of combined learning and mutual experience or repository for non-UK students?