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4 reasons why Brits should study abroad more

Time to apply for that internship in Bali. Source: Artem Bali on Unsplash

Last year, Universities UK International (UUKi) launched the “Go International: Stand Out” campaign to help the higher education sector achieve the UK’s national target for outward student mobility.

Specifically, UUKi’s UK strategy for Outward Student Mobility 2017 – 2020 aims to double the percentage of UK-domiciled, full-time, first degree students who undertake international placements as part of their higher education programmes to just over 13 percent of students by 2020.

Currently, only 7.2 percent of the 2015–16 graduating cohort crossed national borders for these purposes, between 2013–14 and 2015–16. Considering the fact that UUKi has conducted research that found a correlation between outward mobility and improved academic and employment outcomes, this figure looks pretty dismal.

British students are still held back by fears that international placements will be costly, take them away from family and friends and unsuitable for them without proper foreign language skills.

Around 40 percent of British students cited lack of confidence in foreign languages as the top reason for their apprehensions with regard to studying abroad. Source: Yiran Ding on Unsplash

The reasoning behind the “Go International: Stand Out” campaign is simple: International placements, be it for study, work or volunteering, overcome these perceived disadvantages.

Instead, they bring many benefits to the outgoing British student, particularly in improved academic and employment outcomes.

These are the ways British students stand to benefit from going abroad:

1. Lower unemployment rates

Unemployment has risen in its fastest rate in almost five years, as official figures reveal 1.47 million Brits are out of work, reportedly fuelled by an increase in unemployment among young people, according to The Guardian.

UUKi’s report found that internationally mobile British students have lower unemployment rates, at only 3.6 percent, as compared to those who were non-mobile (4.4 percent).

2. More likely to earn a 1st

Despite talks that the value of a first-class degree has diluted over the years, graduating at the top of one’s class still holds much sway in one’s employment prospect.

In addition to lower fees and gaining a valuable global experience, internationally mobile British students have a higher chance of scoring that first-class degree as well.

The report found 29.7 percent of Brits who go abroad receiving a first, while only 25 percent of non-mobile students do.

3. More likely to score a graduate job

As Brexit causes uncertainty across industries, employers are reportedly cutting their recruitment of graduates significantly. The private sector had reduced their hiring plans by 10 percent, according to a High Fliers Research of the UK’s leading 100 graduate recruiters – including Goldman Sachs, Unilever and BP.

A job seeker attending a Graduate Recruitment Fair at the ExCeL Centre in London. Source: AFP/Ben Stansall

Brits with experience can thank their lucky stars for investing in that international stint as UUKi’s report also found that they hold a higher probability of landing a graduate job after university – 77.7 percent of internationally mobile British students score a graduate job, compared to only 70.5 percent from the non-mobile student cohort.

4. Higher starting salaries 

The same High Fliers survey found that the referendum vote may have caused graduate salaries to be repressed, with the median figure of £30,000 the same as four years previously.

Internationally mobile British students are likelier to buck this trend, however, with the average starting salaries among them found to be at £23,047. This is a significant increase from the £21,628 the non-mobile cohort earns.

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