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UK – Quarter of school leavers and students plan to study abroad

03 May 2012

Studying abroad is becoming a popular option for UK school leavers and undergraduates, according to a new survey by Graduate Prospects, which showed that almost a quarter (24%) of those surveyed in March 2012 said they plan to study outside the UK. 73% are either strongly interested or considering this option while only 4% would completely rule it out.

The most popular destinations were the USA and Canada, followed by Europe and the main motivations for this was a “desire for adventure” or to “build an international career.” Almost one in ten respondents said they were unsatisfied with UK study, while nearly one in five thought getting educated overseas would be cheaper and 16% had considered it because of an institution’s reputation. 

The survey also asked students and school leavers if there was anything that would deter their decisions to study abroad. A third quoted finance, 27% were worried about not having adequate language skills, and 14% thought that a qualification from an institution overseas may not be widely recognised by employers. 

“There has been a lot of speculation around whether increased fees will provoke people to look further afield for their education, but what this study shows is that wanderlust is the biggest motivator and only a small number of people are looking overseas because they have become discontented with what’s on offer in the UK,” said Mike Hill, chief executive at Graduate Prospects.

“Perception of the financial implications of study abroad is mixed. In fact, there are more people who are concerned about the cost of going abroad to study than there are those who see it as a route to a cheaper education. It’s clear that while there is considerable interest in studying overseas, there is limited awareness about what a first degree or postgraduate qualification from a country outside the UK really entails.” 

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