More Australian students studying overseas pre-pandemic

The Australian Universities Directors’ Forum (AUIDF) has today released its latest learning abroad research, measuring the international experience participation rate of Australian university students in 2019. The research, undertaken for the AUIDF by i-graduate and conducted annually since 2005, identified that 11.3 per cent more Australian students benefitted from an international experience in 2019 compared to the previous year, with a total of 58,058 experiences in 156 countries across all levels by Australian universities.

Undergraduate students had the highest take-up rate of international experiences, with nearly one in four Australian undergraduate domestic students participating in an international experience during the course of their degree.

Faculty-led study tours were the most popular type of international experience across all study levels followed by internships, work integrated learning and other practical placements. The top five destinations were China, USA, UK, Italy and Japan, as in 2017 and 2018.

AUIDF 2019 infographic[ Download ]

‘It’s fantastic that such a large proportion of our domestic students are able to benefit from international study’ said Mike Ferguson, Chair of the AUIDF. ‘International education is very much a two-way street and the opportunities that Australian students receive to study overseas are significant and often overlooked’.

‘Australian students benefit in a number of ways from overseas study including through increased employability skills and academic performance upon return’ added Mr Ferguson.

Over the last decade, the proportion of Australian students that have benefitted from an international experience during their degree has more than tripled. This trend will of course be impacted due to COVID-19 with overseas travel restricted during 2020 and at least the first half of 2021. While Australian students will have the option of a virtual international experience available as part of the New Colombo Plan in 2021, it remains to be seen how popular this option will be.

To support universities to rebuild learning abroad programs for Australian students, when it is safe to do so, the AUIDF and i-graduate are developing a series of papers examining various aspects of the international experiences of Australian university students which will be released over coming months, including: trends in outbound learning abroad; the New Colombo Plan; underrepresented students; and the future of learning abroad.


For further information contact:
Mike Ferguson, Chair, AUIDF (0405 109 532)
Woendi Hampton, Benchmarking Learning Abroad Chair, AUIDF (0418 291 643)



 - for further information about your organisation's potential participation in the next International Student Barometer survey, by i-graduate.



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