study abroad, airport
exposing students to different cultures at a crucial time of their life can only be beneficial. Source: Shutterstock

They’re almost more likely to get a job straight out of university too, according to the latest report by UUK International (UUKi), the international arm of Universities UK, the representative organisation for the nation’s universities.

“Graduates who were mobile during their degree were less likely to be unemployed (3.7 percent compared to 4.9 percent), and more likely to have earned a first-class or upper-second class degree (80.1 percent compared to 73.6 percent) and be in further study (15 percent compared to 14 percent). Those in work were more likely to be in a graduate-level job (76.4 percent compared to 69.9 percent) and [on average earned] five percent more than their non-mobile peers”.

These stats only confirm what we already know – that exposing students to different cultures at a crucial time of their life can only be beneficial. The wider economy and the UK’s global reputation get a boost, too.

And as Brexit looms, closing off the UK to the EU and the outside world, study abroad programmes grow even more necessary.

UUKi’s new campaign “Go International: Stand Out” wants to get more UK students to spend time overseas during their studies – far too few do now. According to Times Higher Education, only  6.6 percent of all students currently do – this is a dismal figure compared to students from the US (15 percent), Australia (19 percent) and Germany (25 percent).

Universities are on board this initiative, with vice-chancellors quick to endorse and 54 institutes already applying to the campaign before it has even officially launched.

UUKi director Vivienne Stern hopes for 100 percent involvement across the UK, and her team are on track to achieve that goal. But Brexit and its impact on the Erasmus – the exchange programme under which more than half of UK students depend on to go abroad  – may be hampering UUKi’s plan.

“We are at a crunch point with Erasmus,” Stern said during the campaign’s launch.

“We don’t know if students are going to be able to participate in the last 19 months of the programme; we’ve been nagging the UK government to find what is going to happen.”

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