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Gone International: mobile students and their outcomes

11 June 2015

Report from Go International provides the first national outline of which students go abroad, where they go and considers what available data can tell us about the outcomes of international experience as part of a UK undergraduate programme.

The UK Higher Education International Unit's Go International programme published a report today that provides the first national outline of which students go abroad, where they go and considers what currently available data can tell us about the initial outcomes of international experience as part of a UK undergraduate programme. Go International: Mobile students and their outcomes outlines the academic attainment and employment outcomes of mobile and non-mobile undergraduate students who completed their studies in the 2012–13 academic year.

In comparing mobile and non-mobile students' outcomes, data from the 2012–13 graduating cohort of UK undergraduates shows that, six months after graduating:

  • A lower proportion of graduates who were mobile were unemployed (5.4% compared to 6.7%)
  • A higher proportion of graduates who were mobile were working abroad, if in employment (11% of those in full-time work compared to 2%).
  • ​​On average, graduates who were mobile earned more across11 out of 17 subject areas and earned more if they remained in the UK to work. 

Graduates who were mobile were earning more in 40 out of 67 subjects (with available data), with the highest disparities in salary (of at least £3,000) being in Sociology; Computer Science; Theology and Religious Studies; Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and Physical Geographical Sciences.

Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK HE International Unit said:

"We want to increase the proportion of UK students who have an international experience whilst at university. If we want to encourage students to think about spending some time abroad, we need to be able to show them what they will get out of it. While qualitative evidence of the benefits of international experience is widely available, there is little quantitative evidence to support this. This analysis is the first step in testing the hypothesis that mobility has a positive impact on the academic and employment outcomes of undergraduate students. It is a useful baseline for future research which will allow us to identify relationships between mobility and outcomes". 

The report analysed the data from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE) and the HESA Student Record for 2012–2013. Analysis was restricted to 233,185 UK-domiciled, undergraduate first degree graduates who completed their studies in in 2012–13. 10,520 of these were identified as being mobile at some point during their course.

View the full report here.

ENDS

For further information or to arrange an interview with Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK Higher Education Unit or Anne-Marie Graham, Director of the Outward Mobility Programme, please contact Vikki Challen, vikki.challen@international.ac.uk or call 07787 423 176.

Notes to Editors

The UK Higher Education International Unit developed the UK Strategy for Outward Mobility. The Strategy has the backing from the four nation governments, and was launched in December 2013 in response to the comparatively low numbers of UK students spending time overseas as part of their higher education.  The Go International programme is implementing the Strategy and, with its dedicated website, capacity-building workshops and research programme, aims to help the sector in developing and enhancing the range of international opportunities on offer to students in UK higher education institutions. The UK Government has committed to contribute to a European Union target that 20% of  students in the European Higher Education Area will have been mobile by 2020.

The International Unit represents all the UK's higher education bodies internationally. It acts for the UK higher education sector at Governmental and EU policy forums and enhances the sector's ability to compete in a global market by providing intelligence on internationalisation and European policy development. The International Unit initiates and carries out high profile projects and activities, commissions research and produces publications to support and develop the UK higher education sector's international activities. The IU is part of Universities UK, and is also funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Scottish Funding Council, Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), GuildHE, the Higher Education Academy and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.​​

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