Leaving home for the first time is a scary experience. But moving abroad for the first time? That’s terrifying.
Every year, thousands of students arrive in the UK to begin an educational journey that might last anywhere between three and ten years. For some, the journey never ends. Certainly not from a cultural perspective. Learning about and adapting to UK culture is every bit as important as studying for a degree at university. And so is immersion within a local community. The quicker a foreign student is able to do this, the better. Feeling included and valued as a member of a community goes a long way in the settling in process.
But what, if any, are the benefits reaped by the community itself?
How local communities benefit from foreign students
Traditionally they brought ugly skylines and empty takeaway boxes bouncing around on the streets. At least on the surface they did anyway.
Dig a bit deeper, however, and you’ll find a young, vibrant and highly diverse community. Despite what a certain and recent political event might otherwise suggest, London is probably the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in the world. Students come from far and wide, often with little cultural and linguistic understanding. What they do know is that the UK is a definite leader in global higher education and London is very welcoming of religious and ethnic minorities. No matter where a person is from or what they believe in, there will always be a community to be a part of in London.
Local communities benefit enormously from such cultural diversity. Not only does it paint a new picture of an area – think of all the food stalls, arts & crafts stalls, restaurants and international events that thrive in such communities – it creates a wonderfully unique sense of identity and fosters innate cultural understanding among the younger generations.
Community Matters to Foreign Students
Despite such diversity and acceptance of ethnic minorities, it can sometimes take a while for foreign students to settle into and begin enjoying a new community. This is often due to the fact that the local area lacks a community centre where their religion is practiced. Community matters to foreign students. The practice of any religion – from Christianity to Islam to Rastafarianism – is meant to be a shared experience. If that sense of community is missing it can greatly impact the well-being of foreign and/or religious students.
This is one great reason why more and more commercial property owners are choosing to lease their properties to religious institutions. Doing so not only gratifies an entire religious community and prevents isolation among newcomers to the area but also virtually guarantees long-term tenancy. A tenant whose enterprise or purpose for renting a property is community-based won’t want to leave in a hurry. In fact, the longer a commercial property is occupied by a religious institution, the more indispensable it becomes.
The demand in the charity sector is a lot higher than many commercial property owners realise. If anything, places of worship often struggle to find a suitable building which enables them to grow, develop and remain accessible to the community they already serve. We are talking about a massively untapped market here. It’s a win-win situation for all parties concerned.
If you’re a commercial property owner and think your property might be suitable for a place of worship then do get in touch. We specialise in bringing religious institutions and commercial property owners together to create mutually beneficial business agreements and priceless community values.
Suggested Further Reading:
- The Importance of Community and Collaboration (linkedin.com)
- Commercial Property Owners and Churches (taproperty.co.uk)
Tags: commercial property, community