A world of university opportunities: The benefits of studying abroad

The UK higher-education landscape is changing rapidly. With universities able to charge up to £9,000 for tuition from 2012 and some 200,000 students missing out on a place this year, prospective students could be forgiven for thinking the terrain is simply too hostile and abandoning their plans for higher education.

However, The Student World Fair – to be held at London's Emirates Stadium on Saturday 8 October – intends to show students that all is not lost, and that the grass might actually be greener on the other side. It's free to all students, parents and schools, and aims to gather all the information students might need under one roof.

"Studying abroad is a common practice all over the world, but the UK hasn't really adopted it," says Jemma Davies of MJD Education, a partner in the fair. "With the rise in fees and competition for places, we don't want students to give up hope – there are alternatives. You don't have to take a gap year or start your career, there are institutions around the world who would snap you up."

Institutions such as BI Norwegian Business School, for example, one of the 50 or so higher-education exhibitors who will be at the fair. "The fair allows us to tell students about the school first hand and what we stand for," says Feite Van Dijk from the school. "It's a good opportunity for students to talk to schools and find out what's in it for them."

In fact, with exhibitors from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and all around Europe, the fair will allow students to find out about career prospects, life on campus and much more, from a wide range of institutions. There will be representatives and former students on hand from every university, so students can ask questions face-to-face.

"We've also got interactive seminars so you can learn what to expect in terms of employability if you gain your degree abroad," adds Davies, "and there are country-specific things too, so you can learn the ins and outs of studying in that place."

In addition, the Fair will attempt to address some of the common concerns that students, parents and schools alike have about entering into higher education overseas. Cost is a regular talking point, says Davies, "so we've got institutions who charge nothing for tuition to those who charge £30,000. There are lots of different options."

Language can also be perceived as a barrier by many students (62 per cent of those asked by the Fair's organisers see it as a potential problem), although with the majority of courses taught in English at overseas universities, this is easily overcome. Slightly harder to tackle are the distances involved, but Davies puts this into context: "Driving from London to Newcastle would take you six hours, while a flight to Amsterdam is only an hour, so you can still study in the EU and not be too far away from home." And for those students happy to put some distance between themselves and the nest, there are options in Jamaica or Australia.

While it's natural for students to have reservations about heading overseas, Van Dijk believes that it's only a matter of time until more students begin to look beyond our island: "There are better career opportunities and better value for money opportunities outside the UK. Once a few make that step, others'll follow."

If finding out about those career prospects and more isn't quite enticing enough in its own right, there's also the prospect of winning £3,000 towards your overseas studies or one of five iPads for all those who register; but the real benefit will be finding out first hand what living and studying abroad is like, says Davies. To get the most out of the day, she suggests getting involved. "Don't just wander around picking up brochures. Speak to people. Think of realistic questions about practical things, not just queries about the course. It's hard to get to an open day in Hong Kong, so this your a chance!"

Students can find out more about the fair at thestudentworld.com, which has details of all the exhibitors and a forum. But whether or not they choose to study abroad, it will still be "a fun and informative day out," says Davies – and it might even open the door to a world of opportunities you never knew existed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Pre School Practitioner

£6 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, they are loo...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development & Relationship Manager

£45000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development & Relati...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant - Startup

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Personal Assistant is require...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific