Queen, Shakespeare, London are all that students associate with UK!

DUBAI — A recent online research involving 120 young Emirati students in the UAE has revealed that they still associate UK with only the Queen and Shakespeare.

By Preeti Kannan (Our staff reporter)

Published: Thu 6 Mar 2008, 8:50 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:37 PM

VisitBritain and British Council conducted an online research last year to gauge local students' perceptions of the UK only to discover that they still associated Britain with the "Queen, Shakespeare, history and heritage and, most strongly, with London."

Hence, VisitBritain and the British Council have created a new online community, GB4U (Great Britain For You), just for young Emiratis here. Now, they can go to the site, www.visitbritain.ae/gb4u, to update their perspective on the country. The new online community offers information on travel, work, study and contemporary culture in the UK for its young members.

The research was commissioned in July last year and about 120 Emirati students were asked a set of questions, including what they know, like and dislike about the UK, through a blog.

Emirati students welcomed the move saying it would provide a window to the real UK and help improve their perceptions.

Amina Al Muhairi, AUS student and President of the Emirati Club, said, "It is a great idea to have an online web site as students spend most of the time on the Internet, whether they are studying or chatting. Now students will actually now know what Britain is all about and it is very important to have an insight into important countries, especially Britain."

Mohammad Al Falasi from Dubai Men's College thought it was interesting to have a web site as students used this medium a lot more. "It is quite interesting they have an online community as students rely more on the Internet and the TV to get their information. This would help widen their horizons," he added.

UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that the total number of students from the UAE pursuing higher education in the UK in 2005-2006 rose to more than 2,000, which is an increase of 15 per cent compared to the previous year.

The number rises to well over 3,000 students from the UAE when those studying at Further Education level and English language courses are also taken into consideration.

Carol Maddison, VisitBritain Regional Marketing Manager, said, "The UK is a very popular destination among Emiratis and we know from our research that young Emiratis feel that they know the UK and this sense of familiarity is a positive factor.

“However, further questions reveal that many of these perceptions are clearly outdated and are based on the immense wealth of history and tradition in the UK and the dominance of London within the UK."

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