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UK Students Abroad: Few, But With Reward

VU International News and Reviews No. 113 May 21 2018

May 2018

This month, Universities UK International published another report in the context of its  Go International: Stand Out campaign.  The current report is on the 2015-16 graduating cohort. In March 2015, we reported that the 2012-13 cohort report of UUKI calculated that students with international experience in their studies are more likely to find employment and – when they do – have higher earnings than their fellows who didn’t go abroad.

According to this new report, the percentage of the full cohort who are mobile has remained the same, but the percentage of students from less-advantaged backgrounds, and the percentages of Black students and Asian students going abroad has increased. With more than half of mobilities in 2014-15 facilitated through the Erasmus+ Programme, the UK remains reliant on this scheme to deliver mobility for students. Like in the 2012-13 report, the data show that the positive impact of study abroad: less unemployment, better jobs, and higher starting salaries are even stronger for students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

The report contains an interesting overview of mobility by discipline. That Language takes 1st place with 32.1% doesn´t surprise us. But Medicine (31.2%) is often seen as a ´hard´ field for student mobility. Only four subject groups (Languages, Medicine, “Combined” and Veterinary) score above or close to 20% – after that, there is a deep dive to less than 8%. One wonders if that might have anything to do with the fact that a programme “with a year abroad” in England still invariably means “one more year”.

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