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Brits abroad... getting an education?

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The past few years have seen an increased number of students in the UK going to university abroad. Some of the UK's top educationalists have asserted that this increase is driven by the pursuit of a more 'value-for money' education. This, in addition to the increasing competition graduates are now facing in the globalised employment market, has obliged students to search further afield for university education.

Uncle Sam - study in the US

Norman Renshaw, managing director of InTuition Scholarships, says: "It's becoming an international market. We're no longer just competing with each other.

"Employers are looking for people who have an international awareness."

Despite an increase in numbers of UK students going to universities abroad, and numbers of students applying for university in the US this year still expected to rise; the global percentage of UK students studying internationally still only occupies a very small share: only 1% in the US. China, India and South Korea, have been awarded the top spots. There is no coincidence that these countries are also emerging global mega-powers, with a huge work force of internationally-highly trained and globally conscientious workers, the human capital and capability of these countries is vast.

The Fullbright Commission encourages educational links between the UK and US, and they have reported a huge increase in interest by UK students. In light of the tuition fee rise in some universities to £9,000, and university funding being significantly reduced in many institutions, the extremely wealthy and exceptionally well equipped major US universities are becoming increasingly attractive.

The majority of top universities in the US also offer great scholarship programmes which can cover all expenses incurred during the study period; some even including travel back to the UK. Students from the UK studying in the US have hailed praises to the system in the US, one of the great positives being the various combinations students can read at degree level - the combinations of which would be impossible to study in the UK.

Several reports and organisations have stressed the importance of young people having the ability to navigate a globalised economy. A report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters and the Council for Industry and Higher Education reported that UK students were "lagging behind" in the skills needed by employers in a global economy. The report went on to state "global knowledge", "a global mindset" and "cultural agility" as being competencies high on the wish-list of major international employers.

It seems that education, as everything else, is now global. UK students, in order to compete with an ever growing highly-educated global division of labour, must learn to adapt in a world which demands not only a degree but global skills and international awareness. 

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