Letter: Work abroad penalty (2)

August 10, 2001

The article "Struggle to reverse student immobility" distorts the picture by focusing only on Socrates-Erasmus exchanges. It ignores the thousands of UK students who go beyond the European Union each year - to Russia, Japan or Latin America, for example, or who take up a work placement or assistantship instead of studying in the EU.

There is solid evidence that all residence abroad massively enhances a graduate's employability. But evidence also suggests that gains in confidence, foreign-language proficiency and job prospects are still higher for students who work rather than study abroad.

This is why the government's policy of penalising those who work or who go beyond the EU, with higher fees and lower support, needs urgent revision.

James A. Coleman
Residence Abroad Project
University of Portsmouth

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