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UK students will be encouraged to travel overseas for part of their higher education courses

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Currently just one UK student studies abroad for every 15 international students in the UK – and the UK lags behind Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland in accessing the European Commission’s Erasmus funding for study or work placements.

The strategy, developed by the UK Higher Education International Unit, comes on the same day as the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which is providing initial funding for the strategy, publishes its International Education Strategy.

Financial, linguistic and non-recognition of qualifications are some of the barriers which deter students in this country from gaining valuable international experience, with worrying implications for the cultural understanding and long-term employability of our graduates.

A recent report published by the CBI shows 47 per cent of employers are dissatisfied with graduates’ international cultural awareness, and 55 per cent with foreign language skills, reinforcing the importance of a coordinated programme to promote outward student mobility.

In delivering the strategy, the supporting programme will work with universities, higher education institutions and the British Council, as well as other agencies and partners, to increase the number of international opportunities for UK students.

The programme will promote the benefits of outward mobility to students, academics, parents and other influencers. Additionally it will offer a range of services to help the higher education sector increase the number of UK students taking up and accessing international opportunities including developing online resources which will bring together all the relevant information on studying abroad and details about financial assistance available to both institutions and students.

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