Internationalization of Higher education in European

Promoting the University of Bolton's Ras Al-Khaimah branch campus on the streets of AjmanThe other day I was stuck in traffic in Ajman, one of the smaller of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one that has to do without Abu Dhabi’s and Dubai’s global glitz. Imagine my surprise when a car painted in the Union Jack came into view! I’ve been stuck in traffic in many parts of the world and I’ve got a sizable collection of pictures of cars decorated with flag stickers, images of flags or actual flags. This car, however, is, I think, the only one I’ve ever seen that was completely painted as a flag. The status of the little car as an island of Britishness moving in a sea of mundane Middle Eastern traffic was further enhanced by the fact that it had its steering wheel on the right-hand side: just like in Britain, but unlike every other car in the UAE.

Preston University campus in AjmanSo what do you think this car was advertising? Surely, the British state is not desperate enough for some good PR to send little cars painted with the Union Jack out onto the streets of the Middle East?

Well, the mystery was revealed when the car’s rear window came into view. The car was an ad for higher education! Specifically, it was advertising for the University of Bolton and the slogan on the rear window reads “Get a UK degree/At The First British University/in Ras Al Khaimah, U.A.E.”

In 2008, the University of Bolton opened a branch campus in Ras Al-Khaimah, the northern-most and least-developed emirate. Initially, the university’s low ranking at home caused some raised eyebrows but the branch campus now seems to be doing well and enrollment rose from an initial 100 students to 300 in 2010.


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