How Brexit Can Affect Travel, Study Abroad to Great Britain

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Brexit is official.

On June 23, a majority of British voters approved a referendum authorizing their country's exit from the European Union— hence the name "Brexit."

However, the separation will not happen right away; Great Britain has two years to complete the exit after the government triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. (The article states that "any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.")brexit papers

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she doesn't intend to invoke Article 50 until 2017, meaning the earliest Brexit would happen is 2019.

Why Brexit?

Those who favor Brexit have cited their concerns “to protect, or perhaps restore, the country's identity: its culture, independence, and place in the world," with many also opposing immigration, according to the New York Times.

The backers who voted to “remain" believe being a member of the EU is beneficial to the British economy and don't share the same level of concerns about immigration and other cultural issues.

Stronger Dollar

The immediate benefit for U.S. travelers to Britain is that the American dollar has gained on the British pound. Prices have fallen at least 10 to 15 percent in the aftermath of the vote, and are estimated to be 30 percent cheaper than in 2014, according to Jack Ezon of luxury-leisure travel agency Ovation Vacations.suitcase packing

"In the short term, it will be business as usual, except tourists will probably get an even better value now than they have in decades," Ezon tells NBC News.

Hassle for Travelers?

Once Brexit is finalized, travel between London and Paris and other parts of the European continent is likely to become more “cumbersome and time consuming," according to Ezon. Whereas today, it's possible to travel between the cities without having to stop at immigration, this will likely no longer be true.

Airfares between London and Europe may rise because Britain will lose its connection to the European Common Aviation Area, which had reduced fares, according to Time. Routes also could change and travel could become less smooth with the addition of checkpoints.

Impact on Studentsstudents with notebooks

U.S. students planning a study abroad experience to the U.K. for 2017-2018, and possibly 2018-2019, should experience little or no effect from Brexit, except for perhaps seeing their dollar stretch further.

Some have expressed concerns that, once Brexit is complete, fees will go up and tighter visa restrictions (than those for the EU) will be imposed. However, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey are among the non-EU countries that take part in the so-called Erasmus+ program that allows for study abroad in Europe.

“We have always believed in the strength of engaging with multilateral institutions and we will find ways to continue to work in partnership with other European countries and with EU institutions to create opportunities to build connections and engender trust," a spokesperson for the British Council said.

Studying abroad? Here's everything you need to know about working in the U.K. as an international student.

Conversation Starter

One interesting side effect is that the controversy over Brexit could serve as a kind of cultural ice-breaker for foreign students wishing to better understand British culture.

Discussing politics in Britain “isn't taboo" and British students “are sure to give their opinion" about the situation, according to CISabroad Blog.

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