Short Term Overseas Study As Valuable as A Year Abroad: According to a new survey carried out on behalf of the British Council and the UK Higher Education International Unit, 70% of respondents who had been abroad to study, work or volunteer felt that they were more committed to their degree as a result.
Around two in three said that their experience of traveling internationally would help them get a better grade in their degree, and more than half said it would help them secure a job come graduation. In addition, more than nine in ten reported an improvement in their independence, self-confidence and their understanding of other cultures.
Perhaps strikingly, the research found only a very modest difference between the benefits gained by those who went away for a semester as opposed to those travelling for a year. Students who travelled for only a few weeks did seem to suggest that the academic benefits were lessened, but they perceived the personal benefits to be as strong as their more mobile counterparts.
According to the findings, the principal reasons for wanting to study abroad were a desire for an enjoyable experience and to enhance employability. However, some students did feel worried about the potential cost and being lonely whilst away from home. Some also suggested that there is a lack of information about the availability of opportunities to study overseas.
A key takeaway for universities and other HEIs in the UK should be that whilst it remains important to continue to offer year-abroad schemes and other more lengthy options, some students would like to see more short-term opportunities – and they gain the same kind of benefits from these types of provision.
The research looked at the views of 1588 undergraduates living in the UK.
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