Here’s the thing. The B word is floating around (Not Bronwyn, a different one), and if things actually follow through as a result of the Referendum, this could mean a lot of things.
I remember where I was when I found out more people had voted to leave the EU back in 2016 (I was in bed, unsurprisingly). I remember texting my Mum in a full on panic immediately (again, no surprise) fretting that I wouldn’t be able to go on my year abroad the following September. I remember later on in the day when we received an email from Erasmus informing us that funding was still there, we could all go off galavanting, and everything will be fine.
I went to Bilbao, came back, finished my degree and am now starting a Masters (more on that later, that’s a whole can of worms). Other students may no longer have the same opportunity.
My year abroad was so rewarding for so many reasons. I made friends in Spain that I visit and stay in contact with now. I gained invaluable experience teaching in a Basque school that helped me assert myself as a developing twenty something. You learn to become self efficient and self sustaining on a whole new level (unless you have a mate that’s willing to make you burritos every Monday). Also, I spoke a lot of Spanish I guess.
Here are the stats.
According to UniversitiesUK, students who study abroad are 20% less likely to be unemployed and 19% more likely to gain a first class degree. An investment here is also invaluable due to the fact that the needs of the economy will change post-B•••••, and we need to be able to adapt and thrive regardless of what is thrown our way.
Without this funding, 17,000 students will miss out on opportunities to study abroad next year. We’re not just talking languages students here. We’re talking about people who study history, geography, business, and more. We’re talking about people who have the ambition and the motivation for personal growth and language development, and want to apply their skills in a radically new environment.
We need to commit to funding programmes like this. Without the grant we receive, many may not be able to afford an experience that was practically handed to us on a plate in comparison. It isn’t fair that these opportunities are taken away from young people who have so much potential. Many of my friends have since moved back out to their respective countries thanks to their life-changing experiences abroad, and why shouldn’t prospective students too?
To find out more about how you can join, support, or even share your thoughts online, slide on over to https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/supportstudyabroad for more information.
(Those who have just stumbled across here, I wrote about my year abroad here: Bron in the Basque Country)