Being in the EU has a massive impact on the lives of young people in the UK – from the money the EU provides for training and educational programmes within Britain (through the European Social Fund) to the opportunities free movement brings for young people to begin to explore the world.
Indeed in this digital age – where everything, from doing business to socialising – is carried out with people across the world, being in Europe is a key part of young British people’s identity as global citizens.
Aside from family holidays, programmes such as the EU’s Erasmus+ study abroad scheme (where UK students are provided with a grant to carry out exchanges to other EU universities) often give students their first chance to travel and experience a new country in depth. For the more adventurous there is even a growing number of degrees taught across the EU in English, which can be accessed by British citizens for a fraction of the cost of higher education in the UK (including many which are free!).
It is only because of the free movement rights and financial support provided through our EU membership that British young people are able to make the most of these opportunities. Therefore leaving the EU would rob students of this, impacting on their ability to engage with the wider world at a time when global experience is becoming ever more important.
With this in mind here’s our top 7 reasons why access to study options in Europe is a right we cannot afford to loose…
1 – Meet new people and learn about new cultures
Universities in Europe may be offering more courses in English, but you will still be surrounded by classmates from all over the world. This means that you have a great opportunity to broaden your worldview by getting to know about other traditions and cultures. As the world becomes a far smaller place, and many jobs etc. become more international, this global outlook is now viewed as an essential skill for young people.
2 – Study in some amazing cities
Paris? Berlin? Rome? European cities are world renowned as cultural centres with some of the most iconic architecture found on the planet. Its one thing seeing the Eiffel Tower on holiday but how about waking up every morning with a view of Paris’s iconic skyline?
3 – Save money
Whether you choose to take part in the EU’s Erasmus+ study exchange programme, or to study for your full degree elsewhere in Europe, the good news is that you will save money either way. Students on the Erasmus+ exchanges are provided with a grant to cover additional living and travel costs, whilst our membership of the EU allows us to access the lower tuition fees in other EU countries which means that full degrees abroad are a financial sensible option for many.
4 – Challenge yourself
Moving to a new country (where you might not even speak the language) can be a daunting prospect. However this forces you to get out of your comfort zone. Indeed you might just surprise yourself with what you are capable of.
5 – Gain key employability skills
The challenges presented by going abroad mean you develop key personal skills. Figuring out where and how to open a bank account, rent somewhere to live, or even simply buy your groceries may seem like mundane tasks, but you are learning (amongst other things) to be independent, communicate with others and take initiative. All of these skills are well regarded by employers and will help you stand out once you leave university and start to look for a job.
6 – Learn about student culture in other countries
Think the student experience is the same all over world? Think again. Studying abroad soon shows you that each country approaches higher education in a different way – seminars, lectures and student bars may look familiar but course assessments, joining societies and socialising with classmates will be unlike anything you are used to.
7 – Gain a fresh academic perspective
Whether you are an arts, humanities or science student, studying in the UK comes with a certain level of bias towards a British perspective on things. Therefore you might be surprised about how other countries view similar subjects – a German perspective on the Second World War for example, or a French view of British literary classics…