Has Brexit affected UK student’s desire to study abroad?

By Sophie-Anne Bradley on 21-10-2016
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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”.

Brexit’s Impact

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? 


UK director of Erasmus, Ruth Sinclair-Jones, has said of the scheme, “we face a sad moment of uncertainty, after 30 years of this enrichment of so many lives”. The programme has helped over 200,000 students from the UK who work or study in European countries with their funding, but Brexit has meant that the programme might not be able to continue. Sinclair-Jones added that “in the long term, it’s an unknown situation. We will continue with our plans until 2017 but after that we have to wait”. So it is a waiting game to see what new rules and regulations will be imposed by the UK government and then it is up to Erasmus to respond to these changes accordingly.

Top Destinations

There are many reasons why students choose to work or study in the following 10 countries, whether it’s the culture or the study programme on offer, these are the most popular destinations for UK students to choose and the number of students that studied there in 2015.


Grab your chance!

All-in-all studying and working abroad can be an extremely beneficial experience for you both personally and professionally. Upcoming years will see lots of changes to the future of England and their relations with the rest of the EU but one thing that will never change is student’s desire to travel and to see the world. If you are interested internships or jobs abroad check out our vacancies.

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