Studying abroad is well-known to be a rewarding experience, equipping students with life skills and practice that they wouldn’t be able to get if they hadn’t taken the leap.

But don’t just take our word for it – in a recent report published by the British Council, UK students returning home from studying overseas shared how their lives changed for the better after venturing to foreign lands.

The report, which is the fourth in the annual Broadening Horizons series, compiled answers collected from nearly 260 university students, looking into their study abroad experience with a specific focus on their perceptions regarding employability, institutional engagement, and global awareness.

Overall, the report found that returned students are a useful resource to tap into when promoting overseas study, especially as the majority of them can attest to the many benefits of the experience, such as improved communication skills and heightened confidence levels.

According to the students, these benefits subsequently had a positive impact on their social and academic lives.

Many of them also believe that their study abroad experience gave them a competitive edge, making them more attractive to potential employers compared to those who had not studied abroad.

Besides that, students who studied overseas tend show more empathy towards international students, and can therefore help enhance the experience for international students in the UK.

Up to 91 percent of respondents said they strongly felt that domestic students should welcome and include international students.

In a statement, Education Intelligence Research Director Zainab Malik said: “Our research shows that, after study abroad, UK home students are eager to share their wisdom and worldview with their peers.”

“By inspiring returned students to unpack the lessons learned while overseas and to be advocates for study abroad and for international students, the life-changing effects of the experience are maximised and shared,” he added.

Here are the key findings from the report:

  • 91 percent of returned students said study abroad made them more inclusive and welcoming to international students, citing greater empathy towards international students and the challenges they may face;
  • 83 percent of students believed that study abroad had strengthened their job prospects; returning students largely believed they are more employable than those who had not studied abroad;
  • The vast majority of respondents – 91 percent – were likely to recommend study abroad to other students and would emphasise positive value to their social, personal, and professional lives;
  • 81 percent of students who had studied abroad were more interested in global issues after studying abroad while 69 percent said they had become more interested in national political issues after study abroad;
  • There is a positive relationship between study abroad during higher education and the desire to go abroad again, for academic or professional reasons. Almost one-third of respondents would ‘definitely’ apply for job abroad and 54 percent stated they were now more open to the option.

Image via Unsplash

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