A lack of information is holding back students in the UK from considering studying overseas and taking up opportunities around the globe, new research suggests. The vast majority of UK students are still not considering studying overseas with over three quarters of them saying it is because there is not enough information to make an informed decision, according to the British Council.
Over half of the 20% of UK students who are considering studying abroad also feel there is not enough information or they have had to work very hard to find it. The most recent figures show that only 33,000 UK students experience some or all of their study overseas, less than 2% of the total UK student higher education population. The report surveyed over 10,000 students in the UK and the United States to try and understand what was behind the decision making of the vast majority of students who chose to stay at home.
The difficulty in accessing information has meant that the most significant perceived barriers to studying abroad for UK students are lack of language skills and concerns about the cost. However, more than 80% of those considering study abroad say they feel confident using a foreign language, and of the top 10 most popular countries, seven are non-English speaking. Only a quarter of UK students say the introduction of higher tuition fees in the UK has influenced their decision whether or not to study abroad.
The clear motivation for UK students to consider studying abroad is employment opportunities with over three quarters of all respondents think they will need more than a degree to stand out in the employment market.
Some 90% of those considering studying abroad, and 60% who are not, think an overseas study experience would give them the edge in the jobs market. Some 44% of UK students considering studying overseas and nearly a fifth of those not considering say they want to work for an international company and live overseas.
Quote from ExpatForum.com : “I have been recently got rejected for Australian Student Visa for not having work history after my studies. I am thinking of applying for New Zealand student visa in July Intake. But get to hear that they would be a likely chances for my rejections due to my Australian student visa rejection. If I don’t share this information with New Zealand embassy would they be able to know it that I have ever applied for Australian student visa?”
Speaking at the launch of the report at the British Council’s annual conference for the world’s international education leaders held this year in Dubai, Jo Beall, the British Council’s director of Education and Society revealed plans for a new British Council website. The site is aimed at young people in the UK and will bring together detailed information on education opportunities around the world. It has advice on everything from funding to visas and healthcare and will also offer guidance for parents to help them understand the options and what the benefits and risks might be.
‘This research goes a long way in helping us understand what is really holding young people in the UK back from the opportunities that we know are available, will make them more employable (as young people also believe) and our country more globally competitive in the long term,’ said Beall.
‘It’s vital for young people now to gain intercultural skills. Employers have made it clear that they greatly value people with overseas experience. Young people in the UK shouldn’t be deprived by a lack of information, so I hope that the British Council’s new resource will go a long way towards supporting their decision making and letting them know what great opportunities are out there for them to succeed,’ she added.