UK Economy Could Benefit From Students Going Abroad, Specialists Say

03 Mar

The United Kingdom’s economy could benefit considerably from a higher number of students going abroad to pursue a degree or even just an exchange, specialist publication the New Economist recently considered.

According to a piece published on the periodical’s website, the low numbers of British students going abroad — especially when compared with the number of foreign students coming into Britain — is a worry to the government, with the urgency of encouraging foreign exchange in the British Isles being stressed in a recent student mobility report.

The report in question, especially requested by UK Minister of Universities and Sciences David Willetts, aims to devise a new strategy for international mobility for UK university students. Titled the “Outward Student Mobility Strategy”, it addresses the importance of raising awareness to the benefits of studying abroad and suggests measures to make this possibility more widespread, ranging from scholarships to credit equivalency.

According to the author of the piece, the implementation of such a strategy in the British Isles would greatly benefit their economy in the long run. The writer posits that, contrary to popular belief, encouraging international mobility among students would not ultimately result in a ‘brain drain’ for Britain, as the strategy has worked well for countries such as Spain and Germany. Rather, the experience of living and studying abroad could, according to the author, give British students a new perspective of life, much like it does for international students coming into the United Kingdom from other realities, countries and cultures. International exchange experience might also help students going abroad develop a larger network of contacts, as well as acquire linguistic and cultural skills that might prove important in their professional life, the writer believes.

The piece goes on to consider that, despite the worrying lack of interest on the part of British students for undertaking periods of study abroad, the country itself has been making strides in the direction of widespread international student mobility. The progressively deeper bonds the country has established with South America are a good example of this, as South America’s untapped potential could prove a valuable asset for the UK job market in upcoming years.

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