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President visits the ever popular Go Abroad Fair

25 Oct 2019

Nancy hears how ‘going abroad’ is developing graduates with a global mindset

Go Abroad Fair

Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor attended the Go Abroad Fair and met with students who had recently returned from studying abroad as part of their degree programmes. She also learned about the growing importance being placed on the intercultural competence and language skills of graduates by businesses.

According to the Confederation of British Industry, the vast majority of companies were dissatisfied with the linguistic skills and cultural awareness of graduates. Linked to this, the UK Government launched the ‘Go International: Stand Out’ campaign in 2017 which is aimed at doubling the percentage of UK-domiciled students who study, work or volunteer abroad during their degree studies.

The University of Manchester has signed up to the campaign and is committed to increasing the number of our students undertaking a period of international mobility. 

Dr Caroline Whitehand, Manager of the International Programmes Office (IPO) said: “There is a growing recognition that the UK’s global competitiveness and strength in international diplomacy is being undermined by an absence of graduates with international experience, demonstrable intercultural competence and language skills.

“Our own analysis also shows that students who study abroad during their degree attain significant academic benefits. When we look at students with equivalent academic standing in their second year, those who go on to study abroad perform better in their final year of study with a higher proportion of these students achieving a 1st Class degree compared to those who remain in Manchester. These students also have significantly better scores on their research dissertations. International mobility enhances the employment opportunities for our graduates as well as providing a strong foundation for graduate study.” 

One student explained to the Vice-Chancellor how his time abroad had helped him to discover the type of work he wants to move into when he graduates. As a Global Ambassador in Calgary, he blogged about and reflected on his experiences abroad via the ‘Manchester on the Road’ blog. He also had the opportunity to contribute to a research project being led by one of his University of Calgary Professors. Another student, who went to Hong Kong, explained that for her studying abroad provided a strong and tangible insight into different cultures that is fundamental to her Social Anthropology degree.

About 1,350 undergraduate students from the University went abroad to study, work or volunteer for four weeks or more in 2018/19. From Australia to Argentina, China to the Czech Republic, USA to Uganda, Spain to Singapore and everywhere inbetween, the University’s partnerships across the world mean our students can build international networks, learn new languages, enhance their intercultural competence and gain new insights into their degree disciplines.