In 2014, more than 30,000 students studied, worked or volunteered in another country as part of their Australian degree. This was up from 7,000 in 2005.
A national student survey and three new reports published by Universities Australia today show that the growth in student numbers has been accompanied by strong student satisfaction.
The results of the survey of more than 8,000 students, conducted as part of the World Class campaign, found that students see overseas study as an opportunity to challenge themselves, enhance their future job prospects, build new networks and gain independence.
Nearly half of the students surveyed (48 per cent) were actively considering studying abroad as part of a university degree.
Awareness about the programs that enable students to study abroad is also increasing. Familiarity with the New Colombo Plan has risen from very little when it began in 2014 to one in four Australian students now being aware of the scheme.
Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the growing awareness and participation in overseas study programs was paying dividends, with more and more students reaping the benefits of overseas study and exchange programs.
“This expansion in the number of students taking up overseas study opportunities shows students are increasingly aware of the huge benefits for their education and career prospects,” Ms Robinson said.
“Students going overseas to study gain valuable life skills, and build strong networks that will enable them to build forge international careers,” she said.
“Our World Class initiative is clearly helping students to realise the breadth of programs and support available to pursue an international study experience.”
For Australian students applying to study abroad, the most popular destinations were the United Kingdom (18 per cent), the United States (18 per cent) Canada (9 per cent), Germany (6 per cent), France (5 per cent) and Japan (5 per cent).
Most students first learned about opportunities to study abroad as part of their degree in information provided by their university. But word-of-mouth remained an important factor – with 43 per cent of students citing the experience of other students as one of the top reasons which convinced them to apply.
The World Class campaign is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Education and Training.
The reports, produced by Prospect Research and Marketing and the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) on behalf of Universities Australia, can be found here.