UUKi calls for students to Go International: Stand Out

2 November 2017
  • Universities UK International launches three-year campaign Go International: Stand Out to increase the number of UK students studying, working and volunteering abroad as part of their studies

  • This outward student mobility supports academic and employment success, especially for students from disadvantaged groups

  • The UK lags behind the rest of the world in the percentage of its students who have these international experiences

  • Call for universities to pledge concrete actions to the growth of support outward student mobility at their institution

  • Campaign endorsed by Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and each of the devolved administrations

  • Over 50 universities have already signed up to the campaign


Today UUKi launches Go International: Stand Out – a three-year campaign to increase the number of UK-domiciled undergraduate students who study, work or volunteer overseas for two or more weeks during their studies.

Currently just 6.6% of students complete a placement of this kind. This is despite evidence that outward student mobility can improve both academic and employability outcomes. In April 2017, UUKi launched the national strategy for outward student mobility to double this figure to 13% by 2020. Via this campaign, UUKi aims to galvanise the higher education sector to act collectively to achieve this vision.

When compared to students who don't complete a placement, students who go abroad are 9% more likely to gain a 1st or 2:1 degree and 24% less likely to be unemployed. Those in work six months on from graduation are 9% more likely to be in a 'graduate' job earning, on average, a 5% wage premium (UUKi's Gone International: Mobility Works).

These gains are particularly significant for students from disadvantaged backgrounds – but they are the least likely to participate in outward student mobility. Compared with peers who stay in the UK, graduates from more disadvantaged backgrounds who go abroad earn on average 6.1% more. Outwardly mobile black students are 41% less likely to be unemployed after graduation than their non-mobile black peers.

The UK's need for the skills developed through outward student mobility has never been higher. In 2017, research by CBI/Pearson found that 39% of employers were dissatisfied with graduates' international cultural awareness and 47% were dissatisfied with graduates' language skills (CBI Pearson Education and Skills Surveys).

Seven out of ten small and medium-sized enterprises believe future executives will need foreign language skills and international experience (British Academy Born Global project).

However, UK students are lagging behind their international counterparts when it comes to international experience. 15% of students in the USA, 19% of Australian students and 25% of German students currently experience an international placement as part of their studies. All these countries are looking to increase mobility still further - for example, Germany is aiming for 50% by 2020.

The Go International: Stand Out campaign will support delivery of the national strategy by:

  • Asking university leaders to sign up to the campaign and pledge concrete actions to help grow the number of their students going abroad. Details on the campaign charter and pledges can be found here.

  • Developing resources to help universities promote mobility to their students and make the case for mobility to their governing bodies

  • Building networks of mobility champions including academics and alumni

  • Producing research to provide an evidence base and address data gaps

  • Advocating for outward student mobility with governments in the UK and overseas

The campaign has been endorsed by the UK Government and each of the devolved administrations.

Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation said:

"We know that students who have experience of studying, working and volunteering abroad have better educational and employment outcomes. Employers value the skills that students develop through these placements, including language skills and cultural awareness.  At the same time universities can build partnerships with other institutions around the world, facilitating the exchange of research and teaching.

"That's why we're working with the higher education sector to promote outward mobility and the benefits it brings young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"I thoroughly support the Go International: Stand Out campaign to get more young people interested in an overseas placement and would encourage universities and employers to get involved."

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Scottish Government, comments:

"The opportunity to work and study overseas is incredibly valuable.  It allows students to learn about other cultures, languages and world views and to test themselves in a new environment.  We are pleased to work with our universities and colleges to make this kind of life-changing experience available to students, regardless of their background."

Kirsty Williams, AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Welsh Government said:

"Wales benefits hugely from international links, at the student, university and national levels. We are committed to working with our universities and businesses to support students, from all backgrounds, to gain international experience as part of their studies. Quite simply, the experience of travelling and studying abroad broadens minds and improve students' life chances."

Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary, Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland comments:

"The Department for the Economy will ensure that every student has the opportunity to undertake an international mobility programme, whether through government-funded programmes or those provided by individual institutions. The Department wishes to make students aware of the benefits of international mobility, especially for future employment."

54 universities have already signed up to the campaign:

-           Aberystwyth University

-           Aston University

-           Bangor University

-           Birmingham City University

-           Cardiff University

-           City, University of London

-           Coventry University

-           De Montfort University

-           Edge Hill University

-           Edinburgh Napier University

-           Edinburgh University

-           Goldsmiths, University of London

-           Harper Adams University

-           Heriot-Watt University

-           King's College London

-           Leeds Arts University

-           Leeds Trinity University

-           Manchester Metropolitan University

-           Middlesex University

-           Oxford Brookes University

-           Queen Mary University of London

-           Queen's University Belfast

-           Southampton Solent University

-           Swansea University

-           The University of Bath

-           The University of Birmingham

-           The University of Chichester

-           The University of Hull

-           The University of Kent

-           The University of Leeds

-           The University of Leicester

-           The University of Liverpool

-           The University of Reading

-           The University of Sheffield

-           The University of Surrey

-           The University of Warwick

-           The University of Westminster

-           University of Bedfordshire

-           University of Bristol

-           University of Derby

-           University of Dundee

-           University of Exeter

-           University of Gibraltar

-           University of Glasgow

-           University of Greenwich

-           University of Keele

-           University of Portsmouth

-           University of Roehampton

-           University of Southampton

-           University of St Andrews

-           University of Sussex

-           University of the West of England, Bristol

-           University of York

-           Northumbria University Newcastle

For more information see our campaign report here.

If you would like to share information on the campaign via social media please use #GoIntl.

Our team


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