According to the British Council 28,640 students chose to study abroad last year, this number has increased by 58% since 2013. One explanation for the increase is the lower cost of university education abroad when compared to the UK. One survey by TransferWise has even suggested students could halve their debt with a move abroad. However, other motivations have also been suggested by parents, when asked would they encourage their children to study abroad. They felt the additional benefits, other than financial, would include improved career prospects, broadening their worldview and gaining better life skills. The parents asked did have some concerns still about encouraging their children to study abroad. 34% were concerned about sickness or accidents and 19% about terrorism.
Despite the seeming positive attitude of parents towards their children studying abroad, the UK is far behind it’s European counterparts when it comes to the number of students who consider studying abroad. Despite the fact that they appreciate the benefits it could have long term for their careers and the financial savings to be made only 8% of UK students said they planned on studying abroad. The TransferWise survey asked parents and students from UK, France, Germany and USA. Nilan Peiris, TransferWise commented that the low number of UK students considering this option was “a real shame” and encouraged UK students to consider study abroad more seriously.
The findings also revealed some of the reasons why UK students might be less inclined to study abroad. Whilst 60% agreed it could improve their career propects, they had slightly different concerns to the parents. Their biggest fear seemed to be running out of money, however they were also concerned by not speaking the language. This was supported by the fact that over half said they would rather study in the USA than Germany.
In spite of their concerns, it would appear that with more parents approving of the idea and the impact of the higher tuition fees in the UK, Mr Peiris suggests that over the coming years we will see greater numbers of UK students opting to study in countries like fans were lower costs will allow them to avoid paying off debts when they finish their University education.