Is the UK a racist country? Channel 4 National News visit SGI English school in London to get the opinion of international students.
As part of the current raging national debate on immigration to the UK, Channel 4 News visited the world famous English language school, St George International (SGI), to ask their international students the question, Is the UK a racist country? The students, all of whom have recently arrived in the UK, provided answers that paint a far more positive picture than many national headlines suggest. Multicultural London All the students spoke of the incredible mix of people in the capital. Ania from Katowice Poland had this to say “People seem comfortable here I guess, you sit on the tube and there are so many different nationalities, it’s normal”. Filipo from Catania Sicily added “It is the most multicultural place I’ve been to, I study and live with many different nationalities, it doesn’t matter where you are from, more what you do or can do” Racism and Politics On the specific subject of racism, Denis from Paris France feels that the UK is less racist than his home country. "You go in the shop, perhaps the [person at the] cash desk is Muslim, that is not a problem. In France, that is a problem," he said. On the subject of the "fear" about immigration here, Dennis added, "I think it (racism) is just fear run up by the politics: Oh, vote for me please.". The school, a positive international environment Max Loach, SGI’s School Principal, feels that the school environment encourages a positive internationalism among the students, as shown in their comments. “Here at SGI we have been providing English courses for international students for over 50 years and we take pride in fostering a positive attitude towards other cultures, both in the school and classrooms and through our enrichment programme, that encourages students to mix and socialise together”. He added “It’s always very heartening to see such a diverse and international group of students studying and working together!” Josh Round, the school’s Director of Studies, added “It’s not easy coming to another country to live and study and so it’s important that we are there to help students to have a better understanding of British culture, as well as for students to know that the school is a safe and supportive environment where they can learn English and express their opinions freely, no matter what their religion or nationality” The last word goes to Moustapha from the Ivory Coast “It is amazing that all cultures are in one place, I love this about the UK” The debate on migration will no doubt heat up as we move towards the UK general election in 2015 but the picture painted here in London, shows a more heart-warming side of the debate that is not often visible in the British national press. YOU CAN SEE SGI STUDENTS ON CHANNEL 4 NEWS HERE