Friday, 10 May 2013

Are language difficulties putting UK students off from studying abroad?

Research this week from the British Council (which has been tracking the opinions of international students since 2007), has posed the idea that many students in the UK are being put off from studying abroad because they are worried about language barriers. 

Students often look upon the decision to study overseas as a way of travelling the world.  It is the whole cultural experience of living and studying overseas that makes this way of life so appealing to most students – and remains a popular reason for choosing this route to further education.  But ironically, the wealth of different languages spoken across the world is surely a big part of what makes travelling abroad such a ‘cultural’ wonder; remove this and you remove the authenticity of the experience.

It’s well documented that the skills gained whilst studying overseas can develop and expand a student’s abilities and credentials, making them more attractive to potential, future employers – which in a market over-crowded with jobless graduates has to be a differentiator. 

For students worried about language barriers, it’s all about learning to live with the fact that you can’t speak every language. With the best will in the world you might attempt to brush up on a few phrases, but in reality, you’ll need to live in the chosen country for quite a long period of time before you move even half-way toward fluency.  But there are other ways to communicate while you are abroad and you shouldn’t let these concerns override the fantastic opportunities that living and studying abroad can provide.

Cost was also cited as another prime concern for students studying overseas along with oversubscription to certain institutions and a lack of diversity of courses.

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