Figures show that spending some time overseas studying, volunteering or working as part of their degree can have significant benefits for students in terms of employability and grades. Students who go abroad are 20% less likely to be unemployed, 10% more likely to be in graduate jobs six months after graduation and are 7% higher wage earners when compared with students who don't study abroad.
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups see even more pronounced benefits: black and minority ethnic students who were mobile were 17% more likely to be in a graduate job than their non-mobile peers; disabled students who were mobile were 20% less likely to be unemployed than their non-mobile peers; and mature students who were mobile were earning on average 10% more than their non-mobile peers.
However, currently, only 6.6% of undergraduate students in the UK study, work or volunteer abroad during their degree: a low percentage compared with many comparator countries.
The Minister said:
"We want to ensure more young people, regardless of their background, are able to enjoy the benefits that come with working, studying and volunteering abroad.
"We have been working with Universities UK international to develop options for how the government can best support outward mobility and in particular, widen participation for students from economically disadvantaged or less represented backgrounds.
"I want to thank UUKi for helping students to experience different cultures and broaden horizons via their 'Go International' campaign, and I will continue to support it as it moves forward."
Vivenne Stern, Director of Universities UK International said:
"We know that international placements offer multiple benefits to students and help to foster strong international relationships. Since the campaign launched in November 2017, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response and support from the higher education sector. We have so far received 78 university pledges to the campaign. Many universities are committed to new and ambitious mobility activities."
"We are delighted that the Universities Minister and the Department for Education share our belief in the transformative benefits of outward student mobility, and look forward to working with them on a shared action plan to double the number of students undertaking national placements by 2020."
The Go International: Stand Out campaign aims to double the number of students benefiting from time spent abroad to 13% by 2020. The campaign is run by Universities UK International, and is supported by universities and students from across the country. The event was hosted by Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Students. Other speakers included Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Bedfordshire, John Campey, an alumnus of the University of Leeds and Simmone Mclean, a student at the University of Northampton.
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Please find attached photos from the event and a video made by campaign partner student.com, which shows students talking about their time abroad.
Universities UK International
Universities UK International (UUKi) represents UK universities internationally and works to help them meet their international aims. We do this by actively promoting UK universities abroad, providing trusted information for and about them, and creating new opportunities through our ability to act at sector level. We draw on UK university expertise to influence policy in the UK and overseas, and deliver high quality services to overseas governments and universities themselves to enable engage with a broader range partners internationally, for mutual benefit.
Go International: Stand Out
Universities UK International's Go International: Stand Out campaign is designed to help the higher education sector to deliver on a national target for outward student mobility: to double the percentage of UK-domiciled, full-time, first degree, undergraduate students who have an international placement as part of their university programme by 2020.
UUKi is convening a series of activities from 2017 to 2020 to support universities in meeting the national target. UUKi encourages universities, and other organisations, to sign up to the campaign charter and to submit a pledge to help boost and broaden UK outward student mobility. So far 78 universities have joined the campaign.