Universities UK International (UUKi) are calling for higher education providers to join the Go International: Stand Out campaign to help reach their goal of doubling the percentage of UK undergraduate students who go abroad as part of their studies by 2020. Here Stephanie Kleynhans, Policy Officer at UUKi, tells us about the new campaign.
Currently, just 6.6% of UK undergraduates spend two weeks or more studying, working or volunteering overseas as part of their degree experience. Yet, across three years of cohort studies (UUKi’s ‘Gone International’ report series), we have seen that students who have a mobility period consistently have stronger academic and employment outcomes than those who do not, and this is more pronounced for students from less advantaged backgrounds.
On 2 November 2017, Universities UK International’s Go International: Stand Out campaign went live. The campaign is designed to support delivery of the national strategy for outward student mobility, which aims to double the percentage of students who study, work or volunteer abroad as part of their degree by 2020.
UUKi previewed the Go International: Stand Out campaign with Universities UK members at the annual conference in September. By the campaign launch date, 27 universities had formally signed up; with as many more confirming that they will take part. In joining the campaign, universities commit to undertake new or expanded activity to help increase the numbers of UK domiciled students studying, working or volunteering abroad from their institution. All universities participating in the campaign will have their commitment and pledge profiled on our webpages.
The announcement of the UK getting a budget uplift for 2018-19 ties in well with the Go International: Stand Out campaign objectives: it represents an important opportunity for universities to fund even more placements for students in the 2018-19 academic year.
Erasmus+ is an incredibly important provider of outward mobility in the UK, with over half of all mobile students (55%) travelling abroad through the programme each year. Not only that, but Erasmus+ provides universal funding by way of grants for students undertaking outward mobility, many of whom would not be able to have the experience without it. Additionally, there are increased grant rates available for disadvantaged and disabled students ensuring accessibility to those who have the most to gain from outward mobility.
The popularity of outward mobility and Erasmus+ continues to rise. The 2017 call was the most popular for Erasmus+ in the UK yet and 2018 looks set to be even bigger with a 23% budget uplift. With a significantly enlarged budget, the UK will have the capacity to provide important international experiences to more students than ever.
Graduates with international experiences are increasingly important to employers. For example, the Erasmus Impact Study found the share of employers across Europe who consider experience abroad to be important for employability nearly doubled between 2006 and 2013, from 37% to 64% and has continued to rise since.
Erasmus+ offers a strong, reputable brand widely known among businesses and employers alike. Without access to the Erasmus+ programme and these opportunities, the UK’s students and graduates would suffer.
The Go International: Stand Out campaign, together with a boost in the UK’s participation on Erasmus+ signal that outward student mobility is still a high priority, and will help ensure our students and graduates are well-equipped for the ever-changing world in which we live.
A media briefing for the Stand Out campaign took place on 2 November. For more information please contact [email protected]