uk minister study abroad
The percentage of UK students who travel overseas for university is rather low. Source: Shutterstock

UK Universities Minister Sam Gyimah has announced he is supporting a Universities UK International (UUKi) campaign designed to double the number of students from the UK who study abroad, work or volunteer overseas while completing their degree by 2020.

The percentage of students in the UK who seek to expand their horizons by studying, working or volunteering abroad is relatively low compared to many other countries. According to The PIE News only 6.6 percent of undergraduate students in the UK go abroad for work or study during their university years.

Gyimah attended a parliamentary event in London for the UK’s Go International: Stand Out campaign, ensuring students have the opportunity to further their knowledge abroad no matter their background.

At the event, Gyimah announced UUKi have been working closely with the Department for Education, brainstorming and developing methods for the government to implement to encourage student mobility.

The government is now recognising the large amount of research which all points to the fact studying, volunteering or working abroad has great benefits for students, especially for their grades and future employability.

In fact, The PIE News reports that recent studies have shown students who study, work or volunteer abroad are 20 percent less likely find themselves unemployed, 10 percent more likely to be working a graduate job six months after graduating and earn 7 percent more annually compared to those who remained in their home countries.

And those from disadvantaged backgrounds are even more likely to see the benefits. Gyimah said the campaign hopes to increase accessibility to all students, but especially focuses on those from economically disadvantaged – or less represented – backgrounds.

“I want to thank UUKi for helping students to experience different cultures and broaden horizons via their campaign, and I will continue to support it as it moves forward,” he said at the event.

UUki’s director, Vivienne Stern added that since the campaign launched back in 2017, an increasing number of universities have proved their dedication to increase mobility for their students. To date, the organisation has received 78 pledges to the campaign from universities all over the UK.

“We are delighted that the minister and the Department for Education share our belief in the transformative benefits of outward student mobility, and look forward to working with them on a shared action plan to double the number of students undertaking national placements by 2020,” The PIE News reported Stern said.

The Go International: Stand Out event was hosted by the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Students, Paul Blomfield.

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