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Is It Necessary For British Students To Study Abroad?

British students haven’t been eager to study abroad in the past. But there is a strong reason why the next generation should change this.

After all, the UK higher education system is facing a supply and demand crisis. Government funding cuts have made it harder to get into university, even though the number of applications has gone up. UK universities could be fined for over-recruiting, and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) thinks there won’t be many places available during Clearing.

Edinburgh, Warwick, LSE, and Bristol are just some of the top universities that have said they are already full. This means that many students whose A-level grades don’t match their conditional offers or who didn’t get an offer when they first applied risk not getting into university at all.

So, why aren’t more UK students taking advantage of the higher education options available to them around the world? The UK system can’t handle the number of students who finish high school with the qualifications and expectations of going to college.

Changing views of the world

It is thought that more than three million students around the world study abroad, and the Atlas of Student Mobility says that there are currently 415,585 international students at UK universities. But only a small number of British students go in the other direction.

A report from 2010 by the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills says that there are about 20,000 UK students studying abroad around the world. The most are in the US (8,568), followed by France (2,570), Germany (1,949), Denmark (1,584), and Australia (1,584). (1,545).

On the surface, the reasons why UK students don’t seem to want to study abroad are easy to understand. Because the UK has always had a strong economy, it has always brought in more students and workers than it sent abroad.

Universities in the UK have benefited from having a lot of high-quality international students and professors. This has helped raise standards, and universities like Oxford and Cambridge have been known for a long time for their academic excellence and do well in international rankings. In the 2009 QS World University Rankings, Cambridge (2) and Oxford (5) joined UCL (4) and Imperial College (5) in the top ten.

But now that there are a record number of applicants for a smaller number of spots, many UK students may have to rethink their reservations. And with the threat of fee increases (or even a new graduate tax) at UK universities, a more global workplace, and a graduate job market that is already full, there are reasons to think that this traditional reluctance to study abroad may not last for much longer.

Why you should look abroad

The QS World University Rankings show that there are many times when UK students could save a few thousand pounds by going to a similarly prestigious school in another EU country. Recent news stories say that British students can expect to graduate with debts of up to £25,000. This could make the idea of getting a similar education in France, Germany, the Netherlands, or Denmark for a fraction of the cost very appealing.

Even though the UK continues to do better than other countries in Europe as a whole in the annual QS World University Rankings, there are many institutions in Europe that do better in certain areas than top UK universities. In the 2009 QS World University Rankings, the University of Amsterdam is used as an example. It is ranked 32nd in the world for social sciences and 49th overall. Only Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, and LSE are higher.

Also, the university has a BA in economics and finance that is taught entirely in English and costs €1,672 per year to attend. This could save UK£5,500 over three years compared to the average annual fees of £3,225 that most undergraduate students in the UK have to pay.

With the graduate job market getting more and more crowded, the language skills you get from studying abroad, as well as the increased cultural awareness, life experience, and initiative you show by doing so, are becoming more and more important ways to stand out from the roughly 70 similarly qualified graduates who are now competing for every job. Also, making international connections while in school is a smart way to invest for the future.

It might take longer to persuade UK students to study abroad in the same numbers as those who already come to the UK to get their undergraduate degrees. But for the many UK high school graduates who won’t get into college this year, studying abroad could be a good, cheap option that will help them in the long run.

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