Studying abroad less likely if parents not highly educated

Students with parents who did not pursue higher education are considerably less likely to study in another country. Nuffic advocates greater equality of opportunities.

(Photo: Clay Banks via Unsplash)

Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, bases its argument on the data of more than fifteen thousand students in research-oriented higher education and higher professional education who took part in 2020 in the annual Student Monitor of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Of the first-generation students who responded, 61 percent said that they did not go to another country to study and did not plan to do so either. While for students with parents who did pursue higher education, that percentage was 51.

The reasons most frequently given for not going to another country to study are cost and the fear of missing family and friends.

Students with children (seven percent of the respondents) are also more likely to stay at home. This applies to 73 percent of them, as opposed to 53 percent of the respondents without children. Students’ parents having a low income has a lesser effect.

A disability or a migration background does not have a negative effect either. In fact, someone born in another country is more likely to study abroad.

Better information
According to Nuffic, the research shows which students are less likely to go to another country and gives guidelines for doing something about it. “Timely and frequent information on issues such as funding options is essential”, says one of the researchers. She also believes that making it possible to stay abroad for a shorter time would help, for instance a three-week exchange or mini-internship.

In addition, Nuffic would like more Dutch students to follow a complete degree programme in another country. Currently 2 percent do that. The funding options should be promoted more effectively and the provision of information should begin at secondary schools.

HOP, Hein Cuppen
Translation: Taalcentrum-VU

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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