A third of UK students have said that they are interested in some form of overseas study. However it has been reported that only 1.3% of students in the UK actually go abroad, that is just 22,480 students, 75% of whom study abroad, 23% work abroad and 2% who volunteer overseas.
While this figure was set to rise, the recent vote for the UK to leave the EU may have significantly impacted this and is likely to reduce the number of students that go to work or study abroad.
Below we explore what drives students to take on an international experience and the effect that Brexit has had.
Benefits of studying and working abroad
For most students studying or working abroad can prove to be an adventure of a lifetime, with Erika, a student from the UK who went abroad to study at a university in Germany saying that it was “One of the best experiences” of her life so far. The opportunity gave her a new found confidence and she felt as though she could now take on challenges that she once thought would be impossible. Erika advises anyone that wants to study abroad to “go into it with an open mind, you will learn a lot and meet people from all over the world, so don’t hold back!”.
A recent report by the British Council has revealed that studying abroad significantly increases students’ communication skills, listening and observation skills, and self-confidence levels. All qualities that employers value immensely.
The study also revealed that 64% of employers consider international experience important when looking for candidates to employ, and those that have this experience are given greater professional responsibility once in a role. International Team Leader at Student Job, Philipp Tobergte says that “being part of an international team and building up cross-border relationships will immensely broaden ones outlook on the globalization issues that we are confronted with today”.
The recent vote for England to leave the European Union has meant that students and parents are now concerned about the possible consequences to follow.
It is important to note that at the time this article was written there had been no changes to the rules which affect student’s mobility to European countries remaining in the EU.
The National Union of Students (NUS) have spoken about Brexit and have stated that “if some form of free movement remains, it could be that broadly the same opportunities will exist as now. If not, then much will depend on the visa and immigration rules put in place.”. Demand for higher education is so high that many predict that the rules regarding UK students travelling to countries in the EU will not change drastically and the same goes for those students who come to the UK to study.
What about Erasmus?
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