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interest in learning abroad growing – survey

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Australia-based education industry data research and analysis consultancy, Studymove carried out a time-series analysis, surveying 1,800 Australian students across 26 Australian universities, on their perspectives on gaining overseas learning experiences, in July 2021.

It found 76% of the domestic students said that they considered the opportunity to study abroad as important, up from 66% in August 2020, particularly in terms of how it enhances their employability and graduate outcomes.

Furthermore, 24% students viewed virtual overseas learning experiences favourably in July 2021, as compared with late 2020.

Forecasting demand in 2022, basis their research and data analysis, Studymove’s Keri Ramirez said, “After 18 months of travel restrictions, students still show a strong preference to undertake a study experience outside of Australia.

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“Based on these results, we can estimate that the demand for learning abroad experiences in 2022 will be strong and an important part of the study experience of local university students.”

Also, 40% of the students said that they would be keen to undertake a learning overseas experience after the completion of their undergraduate degree, rather than during it. This comes as no surprise, as students have had to postpone any overseas study plans due the pandemic.

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“Learning Abroad offices at universities have worked hard over recent years to increase accessibility, awareness and support so that one in four Australian graduates now have a learning abroad experience as part of their degree,” Simon Watson, convener at IEAA Learning Abroad Network said.

“The research confirms what practitioners in learning abroad know: that our students continue to highly value a study abroad experience and see this as integral to their studies and building their career prospects.”

The Australian government has been supporting undergraduate Australian domestic students in gaining learning overseas experiences since 2014 under the New Colombo Plan. The plan supports around 10,000 domestic students annually in undertaking physical study abroad experiences.

Scholarships have still been available in the virtual learning abroad space, IEAA’s CEO Phil Honeywood highlighted recently at The PIE Live.

The program aims to foster the development of a greater understanding of the Asia-Pacific among domestic students and also increasing their cultural competence.

“Universities need to provide purposeful learning abroad opportunities”

In his recent address at the AIEC 2021, Australian education minister, Alan Tudge spoke about the government’s perspective regarding the plan going forward.

“[The New Colombo Plan] has also obviously been paused during this pandemic, but we also hope that it can return as quickly as possible.

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“Around 10,000 students a year have taken advantage of this and we hope that many more thousands of young Australians will also have that opportunity in the future.”

“When borders re-open, we need to do everything we can to support students to develop employability skills,” Davina Potts, IEAA Research Committee Chair, highlighted.

“As internationalisation becomes integral to the higher education experience in Australia, universities need to provide purposeful learning abroad opportunities.”

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