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UK: interest in study abroad rising – Unifrog

Almost two in five UK sixth-formers are considering studying for a degree abroad, a new survey by online platform Unifrog has revealed.

The top destinations for this year’s cohort were US, Canada, Australia and France. Photo: LadyDisdain/Pixabay

Financial support is a top-of-mind issue

Of the 1,519 students surveyed by Unifrog, 37% said they were “actively” considering studying for a first degree abroad.

Almost a third (29%) of respondents said that an international experience would allow them to find a job more easily, while the other reasons for the ones already looking abroad were a love of travel, adventure and different cultures (43%), the reputation of the university (17%), and financial incentives such as scholarships and bursaries (14%).

“With Brexit looming large it’s understandable that a significant minority of sixth-formers now have doubts”

Financial support is indeed a top-of-mind issue, with 30% of respondents mentioning cost of living and tuition fees as their main concern, and 56% admitting they would be more likely to consider studying abroad if they had easier access to funding.

Brexit is also playing its part, with 23% blaming it for making them reconsider their study abroad plans.

“While studying overseas can be more costly it has many benefits, from improving employment chances upon graduation to gaining a wider global perspective,” Daniel Keller, head of business development and delivery at Unifrog, said in a statement.

“Some international student loans are still available for UK students in the EU…however, with Brexit looming large it’s understandable that sixth-formers have doubts about whether they should become an international student.”

Other reasons why young Brits think twice about studying abroad are leaving family and friends (30%) and a low confidence in their language skills (15%).

Over a quarter (28%) said knowing that the university provided language tuition would be important in encouraging them to study overseas.

More than four in five students said they didn’t know anyone from their school studying for a degree overseas.

The top destinations for this year’s cohort were US, Canada, Australia and France.

The results of the Unifrog survey show a more positive picture than that contained in the British Council Broadening Horizons 2017 research, which found that in only 18% of students were thinking of studying abroad, down from 34% in 2015.

Falling pound sterling and safety concerned were identified as the major factors exacerbating barriers to study abroad in 2017.

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