In 2014/15, 6.6% of full-time, first degree, undergraduate, UK-domiciled students undertook an international placement, either studying or working, as part of their degree, according to HESA data.
“Initially we were looking at just increasing the proportion [of students] who spend some time overseas”The numerical target of doubling this proportion to 13.2% by 2020, said Vivienne Stern, director of UUKi, is both “achievable” and “realistic”.
The first national strategy for outward mobility was launched in 2013. However, there is now a “new urgency” to increase the number of students with overseas experiences, said Stern.
Going Abroad to Study – Why the Support?
Going abroad to study was once considered to be counter-productive by many.
After all, local universities need to do their best to enrich their student populations with the brightest young people available. Consequently, some people question why educational institutions, parents, and government agencies might encourage students to go overseas to obtains university degrees or improve their skills in foreign languages.,
There is also the issue of tuition fees and other financial considerations. Wouldn’t it be better for the United Kingdom if their young people invested in an education in the UK?
“No one has lost the momentum or the energy behind recognising the bonuses that outward mobility brings.”
International Education is Practical
Going abroad to study is a two-way street. Although a country like the UK loses certain tangible assets, such as money, when its citizens chose to study abroad, they can benefit even more by hosting foreign students. In fact, students from overseas tend to pay much more than locals. This goes especially for tuition and housing, not to mention travel, sightseeing, and entertainment.
The less tangible benefits of study abroad must also be considered. Whether a UK student goes abroad to study Spanish in Mexico, or a Chinese student attends medical school in the United Kingdom, there is a significant exchange of culture.
What if this was a perfect world and every university student was able to take a gap year to study in another country? Yes, there would be certain inconveniences and expenses.
Consider, however, the benefits. Every person who studies abroad is a personal ambassador, illustrating that people from her or his country are pretty much like those in the study abroad destination. Every international student, whether inbound or outbound, reduces a government’s expenses for things like diplomacy, military and regulation.