Around £1.6m has been set aside for a pilot project developed by the National Assembly and the British Council Wales. The program – ‘Global Wales Discover’ – aims to increase the numbers of Welsh students travelling overseas as part of their studies.
“We are taking direct action to open up opportunities”
“This program will help build Wales’ presence around the world, supporting Welsh students to spend time in countries of particular interest for the Welsh government,” said British Council Wales country director Jenny Scott said.
Those countries include the US, Canada, Japan, UAE, Qatar, Vietnam, India, China and the whole of the EU, she noted.
“Placements will help Wales form new relationships with individuals, organisations and institutions in these countries,” Scott added.
By offering shorter-term, funded opportunities, the initiative plans on reaching students who may feel they cannot fit international experiences around course, family and work commitments.
“International experience creates a generation of globally connected facing young people in Wales,” Scott said.
Minister for Education Kirsty Williams who studied at Manchester University and the University of Missouri in the US noted the importance of international education.
“As someone who benefited greatly from my time studying abroad as an undergraduate, I know first hand how such an experience broadens your horizons,” she said.
“We are taking direct action to open up opportunities, provide targeted support and improve the life chances of all learners in Wales. International study is a great vehicle to increase social mobility and I want to ensure these opportunities are open up to everyone, from every background and across the whole of Wales.”
The program is being launched in response to figures indicating low numbers of Welsh students undertaking study, volunteering or work opportunities abroad during their undergraduate courses.
Around 11% of the 2017/18 Swansea University graduating cohort studied abroad, and a spokesperson from the university told The PIE News that funding for short program such as the latest program will help to increase that number.