Survey reveals that more British students are looking to study abroad this year
The number of British students interested in studying abroad is increasing. Source: Erik Odiin/Unsplash

Compared to just 18 percent in 2015, 30 percent of sixth-formers in the UK are now actively considering studying abroad for their degrees. Among their top global study destinations include the US, Canada, Australia and France.

A survey by Unifrog found that almost a third (29 percent) of respondents believed an international learnng experience would give them an edge when finding a job.

This reflects a growing demand for employers seeking workers equipped with a ‘global perspective’, and their tendency to favour applicants who have spent time or studied abroad.

Other reasons for studying abroad include a love of travel, adventure and different cultures (43 percent), the reputation of the university (17 percent), and financial incentives such as scholarships and bursaries (14 percent).

But for those who are still unsure about studying abroad, financial concerns are their main reasons for not pursuing an international degree.

The results were gathered from a survey of 1,519 sixth-form students, 30 percent of whom mentioned cost of living and tuition fees as their main concern, while 56 percent claimed they would be more likely to consider studying abroad if they had easier access to funding.

Brexit and its effect on the economy and the availability of international student loans could also be a factor, the survey found. Twenty-three percent of the survey respondents said the current issues caused by Brexit are making them reconsider their study abroad plans.

Students at the University of California Berkeley campus enjoying a warm spring day outdoors on the grass. The US is the top choice for British students planning to study abroad. Source: Shutterstock

Daniel Keller, Head of Business Development and Delivery at Unifrog, said in a statement, “While studying overseas can be more costly it has many benefits, from improving employment chances upon graduation to gaining a wider global perspective.

“Some international student loans are still available for UK students in the EU…however, with Brexit looming large it’s understandable that sixth-formers have doubts about whether they should become an international student.”

Thirty percent of young Brits are wary about studying abroad due to concerns about leaving their family and friends, while 15 percent cited low confidence in their language skills as a reason. Twenty-eight percent claimed they would be more likely to pursue their studies abroad if they knew the host university provided language tuition.

It was reported last year by The Economist that among all the big western countries, Britain has one of the lowest rates of students studying overseas. The report cited the reason for their unwillingness to study abroad as a combination of parochialism (few pupils master a foreign language at school) and superiority (universities at home are excellent).

It looks like the tides are turning, as the Unifrog results reveal a growing number of students in the UK interested in studying abroad. In 2017, only 18 percent of students were thinking of doing so, found a study by the British Council Broadening Horizons.

Supporting Unifrog’s research, The Economist also found that out of seven countries surveyed, universities in the US, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands have all seen a big increase in the number of British students since 2010.

The US is the most popular and attractive to British students, pulling in approximately 11,489 British students in 2016-17.

In fact, Ivy League institutions now recruit heavily from Britain’s private schools, as these students can not only afford their exorbitant fees, but also have the excellent grades required for acceptance.

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