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THE UK: Latest News

'Outward Student Mobility': Why UK students should study abroad

We look at a new programme - the Outward Student Mobility programme - to encourage British students to study abroad, as well as suggesting five reasons why they should do so.

Student choosing to study abroad

With recent news of declining numbers of students coming from abroad, the UK government are preparing a big push in the other direction, to send their students elsewhere to study, according to The PIE news.

Compared to other European countries, the UK has historically been one to receive more students than to send their own abroad. However, a depleted graduate job market has promoted opinion that sending students to other countries has benefits beyond simply broadening their cultural capital.

The Outward Student Mobility programme – led by Anne Marie Graham of the Universities UK’s International Unit – will work closely with educational institutions to better understand and harness the benefits of such mobility for students, and decide how these can be better communicated.

While few details are known in this early stage – such as pertaining to funding – institutions in current popular destinations like the US and Australia are likely to benefit. Meanwhile growing Asian markets like Singapore and Malaysia may use this opportunity to attract a whole new generation of students, and firmly establish themselves as a competitive destination.

Graham commented on the necessity to familiarise young people with the idea of studying abroad, starting with ‘sixth formers and even earlier’. She noted also that the three-person body are well aware of the role that parents play in students studying in another country (or not, in the case of overprotective and anxious parents). This is an area we highlighted in our recent student survey.

So apart from the cultural benefits which have been raised time and time again, why else should British students choose another country to continue their higher education?


5 reasons British students should study abroad


Why not?

‘Why study abroad?’

Let’s turn around the question and ask ‘why not?’ International study is a viable option for many, with scholarships and bursaries available just as they would be for domestic higher education. Films and TV sometimes give us ideas about what it means to be a study abroad student, and these aren’t always true – after all, every “type” of student is usually an overblown caricature. In fact for many, study abroad is the only option for students in some countries where facilities are not readily available for the field they wish to study.


Better weather

An easy target, but a good point all the same. While the unpredictable and frankly dull weather can unite the British people in collective misery, there comes a time when you want to get what you expect from a season. No more ‘will it or won’t it rain?’ discussions in July before walking out the door; but instead weather that you can dress for and which won’t change by the time you get to class. Meanwhile, if you’d like uninterrupted sunshine, Australia and America – depending on where you are – will treat you to the sun all year round.


Job prospects

You’ve probably seen from the media or the experiences of older siblings that the UK job market is rather unkind at the moment. News stories of forty-five applicants applying for every vacancy are routinely being reported, even before students have thought about applying – it’s enough to drain all the prestige that a degree is meant to stand for! While many countries are also going through a similarly-depressed economic climate, some are actually a lot better than others; and if you study in another country, you may find getting a graduate job there easier, and choose to stick around; these may include jobs which require a fluently English speaker, like in translating or teaching roles.


Your accent will work for you

Finally you’ll have an accent! If you’ve always lived in the same place, you probably haven’t really noticed it before. Study in the UK, and you may find that others will tease you about your accent (every country has a certain level of internal, regional competitiveness or preconceptions).

If you’re in a different country, those around you will instantly brighten up when they hear you speak because it will be so unique and different to what they’re used to. It will get you attention the moment you open your mouth, and is a brilliant ice-breaker when starting conversations with strangers. While at home, your accent may not mean a lot or stand out, in the States you’ll instantly become a suave or adorable character from Downton Abbey – a brilliant advantage in the romance department too!


More interesting Facebook updates

University photos generally look a lot alike when you see a whole news feed of them on Facebook - once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all as a lot of universities can look alike in badly positioned, blurry photos taken on a phone. The same can be said for status updates and tweets as you’re also likely engaging in the same kinds of activities, at the same times of the year if you study in the same country. Bring some flair to your friends’ feeds, and show off all the amazing sights you see just in an average day as a study abroad student. Plus you can share all the unique celebrations and customs unique to just that country. You may even persuade someone to consider studying abroad in the future.

Study in the UK


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