British student interest in studying overseas is at its highest level since 2015, a new study shows.
Data gathered by Unifrog, an online portal designed to help sixth form students choose the best universities and apprenticeships, reveals that almost two in five (37 per cent) sixth-formers are currently actively considering studying a first degree abroad. This compares with 18 per cent in 2017 and 35 per cent in 2015.
Almost a third (29 per cent) believe that studying overseas would make it easier to get a job should they return to live in the UK after graduation.
However, while the number of students’ interest in studying overseas is growing, the number could be even higher were it not for Brexit concerns held by some. Almost a quarter of the students surveyed stated that Brexit is making them less likely to consider studying overseas.
Aside from the impact of Brexit, the other major concerns people have regarding international study are living costs and tuition fees (39 per cent), leaving family and friends (30 per cent) and a lack of confidence in language skills (15 per cent).
For those wanting to study overseas, a love of travel, adventure and different cultures (43 per cent), the reputation of the university (17 per cent), and financial incentives such as scholarships and bursaries (14 per cent) are the main reasons for their interest.
The most popular destinations for those interested in studying overseas are the USA, Canada, Australia and France.
The study found that boys are far keener than girls on studying in the USA, with girls preferring the prospect of studying in Australia. Both genders see Canada as an equally attractive option.
“While studying overseas can be more costly it has many benefits, from improving employment chances upon graduation to gaining a wider global perspective,” said Daniel Keller, head of business development and delivery at Unifrog. ““While some international student loans are still available for UK students in the EU, in the Netherlands, for example, they are not offered by the British government. However, with Brexit looming large it’s understandable that a significant minority of sixth-formers now have doubts about whether they should opt to become an international student.
“Beyond the EU, many universities will often expect international students to pay higher fees than home students but many have scholarships and bursaries, specifically for international students, which can be applied for.”
Article published 17th January 2019