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I can’t go abroad Because................. Elissa Williams Global Education Manager Keele University Melissa Schuessler U of Leeds.

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Presentation on theme: "I can’t go abroad Because................. Elissa Williams Global Education Manager Keele University Melissa Schuessler U of Leeds."— Presentation transcript:

1 I can’t go abroad Because................. Elissa Williams Global Education Manager Keele University Melissa Schuessler U of Leeds

2 Everybody wants students to study abroad But..... 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

3 Who is Everybody? British Council Broadening Horizons 2014 - Embedding a culture of overseas study Hefce UK Outward Student Mobility Strategy The UK Higher Education International Unit (IU) Global Opportunities for UK Higher Education Erasmus+ You and Me!

4 Graduates in the 21 st Century “Against a background of continuing globalization and technological change, employers need graduates who can compete in global marketplaces and meet global challenges” Global Graduates Do today’s students need international experience to be successful after graduation? Yes! They do…

5 Graduates require skills in team working, communication, presentation and self-management gained through work experience, professionalism and industry knowledge no matter whether they are working locally, regionally or globally. However, there are global dimensions that need to be added to this list of attributes. These include: – an ability to work collaboratively – communication skills which include speaking and listening – drive and resilience, and – embracing multiple perspectives Note that multi-lingualism is not on this list

6 Global Mindset Graduates need to have an outlook that considers wider global influences, and can reflect on both themselves and others in the world around them They need to demonstrate openness, curiosity, & innovation, as well as beliefs and values towards colleagues, clients and the wider community It can be as simple as an understanding & respect for other cultures

7 In addition… The ability to communicate & manage people of different cultures & backgrounds An openness to learning new languages Adaptability & flexibility A knowledge of global affairs

8 Studying Abroad is the route … “it’s the quality of the experience that is important.” Global Graduates Studying abroad provides: – Immersion in a multi-cultural environment – Interaction with a diverse range of people It can help in the development of a global mindset Studying abroad or doing a European placement can provide the well structured environment that employers can appreciate and include tangible outputs that the student can include on a CV or in an interview

9 So, why do so few UK students go on exchange? Do students have a clear view of the core value of studying abroad? Whose responsibility is it to ensure that students have this clear view? Would linking students to the 21 st century reasons for study abroad encourage more student to take up the opportunity? Let us start with reviewing the data that students at Keele have given….

10 Methodology A survey of three parts to include: – Student information – Motivations to study abroad – Barriers to studying abroad Surveys were given to: – Keele students in year 1 and Year 2 who have expressed an interest in studying abroad or who are preparing to study abroad in January 2015 – A focus group session with Year 2 students at Keele

11 Where do the Year 1 students want to go to? 4%

12 What does this tell about how and why a destination is chosen? Some thoughts: Other students’ opinions and experiences both incoming and returnees? The cost won’t be as high in North America? – Then Europe with the Erasmus grant should have higher numbers It doesn’t seem so far away? – Geography wise – Most of Europe is closer North America has a more familiar language and culture? – If so, why isn’t Australia more popular?

13 Why do students want to go on exchange?


15 Motivations




19 What about the future? 88% of UK survey participants showed that they connected this experience (exchange) with attaining the edge they need to stand out when applying for jobs…However, this response directly contrasts with the response both groups gave when asked to select main non-academic drivers that would interest them in study abroad- better employment prospects were ranked only third by UK respondents (11%)… much lower than the priority they put on travelling and experiencing other cultures. Broadening Horizons 2014

20 Results of the Focus Group Session Why are they going abroad in January? – New experience – Independence and confidence – Adventure – Travel – Different culture – New people – Weather – Different Environment

21 No mention of career or future prospects! Why? – We are still students – It is ‘our time’ to do something we want to do – Going on exchange should be about the experience and not about the future – Thinking about a career isn’t important at this point in my studies – I want to do something different

22 What are the barriers to studying abroad?






28 Key Barriers – Focus Group Finance Missing Family and Friends The process is too complicated Academic Departments aren’t very helpful Confidence and Independence

29 Global Education Challenges This current generation of students are part of: – A more complex educational environment – A challenging job market – Higher tuition fees – A more globalized world Does this mean we need to think differently about what the exchange should be and what it should mean?

30 Is this why so few UK students go on exchange? Students have little vision for the future and live in the here and now. Going on exchange should be fun and offer added opportunity for travel and adventure within a degree, nothing more. The international office needs to look at a new direction, a new sales pitch for studying abroad International experience is not embedded in the university culture and without this ethos studying abroad remains an added element

31 What about other factors that provide barriers? Sexuality - LGBTI Gender Physically Disabled Cultural restrictions Religious Issues Learning difficulties

32 Barriers in comparison? Barriers to Studying Abroad – Number 1Year 1Year 2BUTEX A Financial Concerns11 & 2 B Missing Family & Friends2 & 33 & 53 C Languages and Culture653 & 7 D Too Complicated to apply4 & 77 E Exchange is a waste of time89 & 10 F Confidence and Independence544 G Little encouragement from Lecturers64 & 5 H Academic Concerns76 I Part-time Job1089 J Doing something international is not important in my life 98 & 9

33 Solutions Each table will be given a barrier that students have identified as a reason for not going on exchange. Please discuss for 20 minutes and make notes At the end of that time we will ask one member from the table to present their ideas or solutions to work with this challenge

34 Focus Group Solutions The application process is too complicated! – Involve Subject Tutors more in the process – A checklist and a time line could be useful to understand what the process is all about – Find a way to make selecting modules easier

35 Focus Group Solutions No help from my academic department – Develop exchange ‘stars’ within departments to help with academic specific exchange tasks – Subject tutors should know what they are doing and be interested in helping students – their term as Subject Tutor should be longer – Keep in touch with your department while you are away – tell them what you are doing – send a postcard

36 Focus Group Solutions Missing Family and Friends – Take photos – Use Skype, Viber, Whatsapp and blog – Keep your family and friends informed – Remember that you don’t need to be alone – Keele wouldn’t send you somewhere that wasn’t safe – Depending on where you are – invite your friends and family for a visit during holidays – Overall – Do this for yourself!

37 Focus Group Solutions Confidence and Independence – Go home less and less in your 1 st year at Keele – Say yes to everything while on exchange (within reason) – Join societies and clubs in your first year and look for corresponding clubs at your host university – Meet with the Peer Advisers – Workshops through student support – Keep busy!

38 Focus Group Solutions Finance – Organize funds before and during exchange – Develop budgeting skills – Do fundraising – Think about working while on exchange – Do research into the country or destination that you are going to – cost of living, taxes, benefits for students – Research the ‘extra’ trips & activities and be selective

39 Conclusion After reviewing the surveys and speaking to students, the research findings have let me to reconsider how we will market our international opportunities to students Involve Careers as part of the Information process Study Abroad Fair Information Session Orientation Re-entry Workshop

40 Work more closely with students to review financial planning for studying abroad during the information gathering stage and once the student has been nominated for their placement Ensure that students understand where financial assistance can be come from and help them learn to fundraise and budget Develop case study material from graduates who have gone on study abroad and how that impacted their career

41 Develop ‘Champions’ for studying abroad from academic staff and senior management Encourage academic departments to look at studying abroad from both an academic and a career point-of- view Ensure that peer advisers are informative about the costs, the academic value and the future that studying abroad can offer

42 Overall – help students to connect the dots and follow the links. Studying abroad is not a one-off, an adventure during degree study, but an integral part of the degree process

43 References Diamond A., Walkley L., Forbes P.,Hugher T., Sheen J. (June 2011) Global Graduates into Global Leaders, Accessed at: British Council (April 2014) Broadening Horizons, Embedding a culture of overseas study, Accessed at: Centre for International Mobility (CIMO), Swedish Council for Higher Education & Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, (2013) Living and Learning – Exchange Studies Abroad, Accessed at 013.pdf 013.pdf Carbonell, Joan-Anton (November 2014) Further up the road. Six years of growth for outward student mobility in the UK (from 2007-08 to 2012-13), Accessed at

44 Thank-you very much! Any questions or comments?

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