‘Wanderlust’ is the key factor for studying abroad

Almost a quarter of students and school-leavers in the UK intend to study abroad, with the main motivators being a desire for adventure, plans for an international career or financial worries about pursuing university at home, a survey has found.

May 4, 2012

The poll of 500 people, the majority of whom were undergraduates, found that 24 per cent had plans to study abroad while 73 per cent were either strongly interested in it or were considering doing so, according to Graduate Prospects, which provides information to students and graduates.

The US and Canada were the most popular countries, with 34 per cent of respondents citing North America as their preferred destination. Twenty-eight per cent listed elsewhere in Europe as their top choice.

About 33 per cent of the students, who were surveyed in March, said that they wanted to study abroad for adventure, while 26 per cent were focused on building an international career.

With 2012 the first year of higher tuition fees, 18 per cent said that they thought being educated overseas would be cheaper.

Sixteen per cent cited a foreign university’s reputation, and 8 per cent said that they were unsatisfied with study in the UK.

According to Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, “wanderlust is the biggest motivator” for students setting their sights on higher education outside the UK.

“Only a small number of people are looking overseas because they have become discontented with what’s on offer in the UK,” he said.

“Perception of the financial implications of study abroad is mixed. In fact, there are more people who are concerned about the cost of going abroad to study than there are those who see it as a route to a cheaper education,” he continued.

Earlier this week, David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said that students at English universities would continue to be able to study in other countries of Europe for free for a year under the Erasmus programme, up to and including the academic year 2013-14.

After that year, universities will receive up to 40 per cent of the full tuition fees if a student chooses to go abroad anywhere in the world.

The student will pay up to 15 per cent of their tuition fees, while the Higher Education Funding Council for England will grant the university 25 per cent.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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