British students are on the move. Thousands are opting to study for degrees abroad to benefit from dramatically cheaper tuition fees, the desire to experience living country and a better chance of finding future employment.
The Netherlands, Germany, France and the United States are among the favoured destinations for young people who have taken this increasingly popular path into higher education over the past couple of years. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue as the corporate world is becoming more globally integrated and businesses are demanding that their workers possess foreign language skills and knowledge of key markets around the world.
In fact, the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship rocketed from 0.8 million worldwide in 1975 to more than four million in 2013, according to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
According to Laura Bridgestock, editor ofTopUniversities.com, prospective students acknowledge that studying abroad will make them more employable through the skills they gain, while most find it’s usually cheaper to study in another European country. “In Germany, undergraduate study is free at public universities for all students, regardless of nationality,” she says. “The same applies in Norway, and it’s also free for EU students to study in other European countries, including Denmark and Finland.”
In other countries fees are very low. France, for example, charges €189 (about £150) a year for undergraduate degrees at public universities. The main obstacle in many of these countries is the language of tuition. “While many countries offer a large selection of English taught degrees at Masters level, undergraduate courses tend to be mostly in the local language,” Ms Bridgestock explains. “There are options available, but it may just be harder to find the perfect course.”
Language may not be a barrier in other popular undergraduate destination, such as the United States, Canada and Australia, but studying is likely to be more expensive in these countries than in the UK. “In the US average annual tuition fees for 2015/16 are approximately $24,000 (about £17,000) at public colleges and $32,000 at private universities,” says Ms Bridgestock.