A recent study from the University of Nottingham, quoted by leading British periodical the Telegraph, has revealed there are currently over 22.000 British students going abroad every year, on foreign exchange programmes.
While the numbers quoted apply to students taking full-length degrees abroad, rather than to those just doing a semester or a year of their course in another country, they are nonetheless considered by sources within the University to be 'surprising’. They account for about 1.7 percent of all British university students — a higher rate than that of countries traditionally known for the number of students going abroad, such as India or China. The relatively low presence of British students in foreign universities, when compared to the aforementioned countries, might therefore have to do with the lower population density of the British Isles when compared to either of them. While there are a higher number of Indian or Chinese students going abroad than Brits, the relative percentage they represent is actually lower.
In what decides destinations in which to achieve their degrees, the study in question revealed that students from the United Kingdom greatly favour the United States of America, with roughly 8.500 Brit graduates currently residing and studying in that country. Rounding up the top three a good distance off are France, which currently houses roughly 2.500 British students, and Germany, where there are presently 2.200. These choices may be linked to the cultural and linguistic familiarity of both Germany and the USA, with French being popularly taught in British schools as well.
Taking a degree abroad, or even just doing a period of study in a foreign country, is seen by many employers and universities as a good tool for a future professional career, which partly explains the large number of Britons currently in that situation. The study in question has also revealed that most of these students prefer top-quality universities, regardless of the higher cost of tuition fees and standard of living they entail.
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