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More students consider going abroad

Rising numbers of UK students would consider studying overseas, attracted by the chance to travel and "unique" adventures, according to research.

It suggests that students are willing to travel long distances for their education, with the United States and Australia considered the top study destinations.

The research, conducted by the British Council's Education Intelligence Service, asked 2,630 people in the UK for their views on studying abroad. Of these, just over two thirds (67%) were aged between 18 and 24.

It found that more than a third (37%) of those surveyed said they were considering overseas - up from 20% who said the same last year.

The poll reveals that the main academic reason for students wanting to study abroad was to gain credit for their field of study, followed by the chance to improve their language skills.

But there were also "non-academic" reasons for wanting to study abroad, the British Council found, the most popular being the opportunity to travel overseas (chosen by 20%).

This was followed by the chance to have a "unique" adventure (19%) and improve job prospects (17%).

The US remains the number one destination for UK students, picked by 33%, the study found, followed by Australia (9%), France (5%), Germany (5%) and Canada (4%).

The biggest barriers to studying overseas were worries about fitting into another culture, a lack of confidence in foreign language skills, concerns that the degree programme may be too difficult or a belief that the length of the programme did not fit their needs.

Dr Jo Beall, the British Council's director of education and society, said: "It is essential for the UK's global competitiveness that our next generation gain more international skills and understanding, so it's very encouraging to see that more UK students are considering studying abroad.

"The internationalisation of the UK's education sector cannot be a one way process. More of our young people need to be prepared to travel if we're to catch up with countries like France and Germany."

:: The UK part of the study questioned 2,630 people.

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