In 1968 student activism and the international connections between students became a source of interest and concern throughout the world. These international connections, however, were far from new. Internationalism has always been at the core of the National Union of Students of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (NUS), the largest student organisation in the UK. The NUS represented the majority of British students, although their policies were never universally accepted but were the outcome of sometimes vociferous debate. In the years between the end of the Second World War and 1968 the NUS was deeply involved in setting up two international student organisations, the International Union of Students (IUS) and the International Student Conference (ISC), as well as developing their own bilateral connections with students around the world. The membership and leadership of the NUS were clearly interested, and concerned, about students internationally. However, the extent to which this interest and concern should be seen as solidarity or is more rightly a new manifestation of older British traditions of paternalism and liberal internationalism is questioned in this article.