Students are highly interested in studying abroad: study

A recent survey by the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) found the number of Canadian students studying abroad is at an all-time low.

Only 2.3 per cent of university students who participated in the study said they went abroad for schooling or for a non-credit experience.

The report also found 86 per cent of students want to study abroad, but don’t due to lack of finances.

Matthew Dabrowski, a third-year Carleton University cognitive science student, said he has always dreamed of studying in Europe but did not want to put a financial strain on himself and his parents.

“Here we have financial assistance such as different grants and [the Ontario Student Assistance Program]. Without that kind of financial help it leaves many students like myself wondering whether or not it is worth going into debt for an experience,” he said.

Emily Dalphy, a fourth-year Carleton international business student, said her year studying in Madrid gave her not only the cultural experience she was looking for, but also basic and global skills that she believes are essential for the workplace.

“Studying abroad has taught me a different level of patience, perseverance and dealing with conflict,” Dalphy said.

Studying abroad is a key component of education, according to Helen Murphy, a spokesperson for Universities Canada.

Murphy said she believes these experiences help young Canadians develop the cross-cultural abilities, skills, and knowledge that are essential in succeeding in a rapidly evolving global job market.

A 2014 study on the impact of the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange program showed that graduates with international experience fare much better on the job market.

The same study showed that graduates are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad.

Dalphy said she thinks funding is crucial in increasing the interest for international study, but also suggested that schools create or broaden partnership programs.

Carleton University offers an exchange program to students to allow them to attend university abroad while paying Carleton’s tuition rates and still earning credits towards their degree, according to the school’s website.

Although Carleton has about 170 partner institutions spanning over 30 countries worldwide, it is limited to students in certain fields of study.

Dalphy said not having to pay international tuition fees was a relief because it allowed her and other students in her program to afford international studies. She also said in most cases, paying rent abroad was the same as in Ottawa.