An International Branch Campus University – Why it could be for you.

international branch campus universities in dubai

An International Branch Campus University in the UAE could be the answer if you are looking for an international degree experience.

Attending an international branch campus university is a growing global trend and with good reason; it gives more students the opportunity to access a degree education from a well- established university with a strong brand in their home country, but with the advantage of being on their own doorstep.

The branch campus offers the same or comparable undergraduate and graduate programmes, so students can have the same high quality support and ‘student experience’ as they would find if they were studying at the home institution.

Recently, we have seen significant growth of more international universities setting up international branch campuses (IBCs), so why are more and more universities moving abroad?

Want to discuss the opportunities for studying at an international branch campus university? Gabbitas can advise at every stage. Get in touch to find out more.

Why the big move?

For the Universities the primary objective is often to increase their reach and to open up more accessible opportunities for international students. These universities are no longer merely content to entice students to their own campuses, but want to branch out and capture local demand. Universities like the UK based Middlesex University or the University of Wollangong from Australia, were quick to spot the advantages here in the UAE.

The benefits for students and faculty works both ways with exciting exchange opportunities and the chance to study for an internationally recognised degree across two or three campuses, which Universities such as Herriot Watt and Modul university are keen to promote with opportunities to study in Scotland or Austria respectively.

 How does this benefit the host country?

The growth of IBCs is not only beneficial to the universities themselves but also brings numerous benefits to the new host country. Internationally renowned institutions such as NYU, the Sorbonne and more recently Birmingham University, opening in Dubai in 2018, not only bring prestige but also deliver strong economic benefits.

The institutions attract local students but in addition become study destinations for students from overseas. With the recent changes which allow students to work part time the UAE has become very attractive to potential students from neighbouring regions and as far away as China.

Working closely with Government the degree programmes offered can be tailored to meet local demand and are often designed to help fill identified skills gaps in the local market and prevent ‘brain drain’ of locals talent.  It is interesting to note that  recent studies have found that 80% of students, who go to the US to study, stay for 20 years*. So it is easy to understand why it is strategically important to encourage young people to stay on to study in their own country.

 IBCs case study – why consider the UAE?

The UAE and particularly Dubai is densely populated with international branch campuses (IBCs) and has established itself as an intellectual hub in an investor-friendly environment.

In 2003 Dubai Knowledge Village was created, a free trade zone for foreign-owned education and corporate training institutions now hosting 15 IBCs and 150 training institutions and learning centers.

This was followed by Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) in 2007 for foreign owned higher education (HE) institutions now serving over 24,000 students from all over the world on more than 400 undergraduate and post-graduate programmes.

“The world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education and the pursuit of intellectual growth” DIAC website

Dubai has been motivated by the increased need for training and foreign talent to fuel its economy and has been able to work in partnership with universities to produce programmes which develop in-demand skills for the region.  However, they aren’t just selling training at IBCs across the city, but access to contacts, networking and professional opportunities. In a recent DIAC and BMI Media study** employment was cited by students as a major reason for choosing a particular university.

With education seen as a major investment in their future, you can see why the UAE and Dubai are not just hubs for education but for business too.

Thinking of applying to a international branch campus or university abroad? Gabbitas can help with every stage of your application. Get in touch to found out more.

 Top Ten reasons to study at an IBC in the UAE?

  1. Access and benefit from the state of the art campus and educational facilities, the new Amity campus is absolutely stunning!
  2. Choose from a huge variety of programmes from top universities from all over the world – all approved by the KHDA –  from Computing at Curtin to Journalism at Murdoch, or Microelectronic Engineering at RIT or Architecture and Interior Design at AUD.
  3. Take advantage of studying exactly the same degree as the home branch.
  4. Explore the opportunities for doing a 2 + 2 degree with half the time in Dubai and the rest of the time at the home campus.  Herriot Watt has a wide range of programmes which offer this opportunity.
  5. Capitalise on the development of programmes that build in-demand skills for the region and improve your job prospects both here and internationally.
  6. A global student experience in one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative cities. With somewhere like Hult University you can study in a different city each semester for real taste of being truly international!
  7. Opportunity to explore and learn from Dubai and the rest of the UAE’s diverse cultural and social landscape
  8. Opportunity for local internships and the ability to work part time to support your studies.
  9. Safe learning environment in a country with very low levels of crime
  10. You’ll never be bored in your free time.  Choose from water sports, trekking, dune bashing, shopping, parachuting, eating, camel riding, belly-dancing…the list is endless!

But perhaps a few other things to consider…

  • It can take some time to build up these new institutions
  • The risk of quality control – although monitored closely by the KHDA in Dubai

Thinking of applying to a IBCs or university abroad? Gabbitas can help with every stage of your application. Get in touch to found out more.

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*Philip Altbach, Director of the Centre for International Higher Education at Boston College
**Transnational Student Mobility and Future Employment Trends in 2017 – DIAC and BMI Media