New Horizons for International Student Mobility

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Eighteen months after the “Brexit” referendum, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. Some of the consequences of exiting the EU included how the move affected UK students as they could no longer take part in the Erasmus+ programme. However, to counter the problem, the UK government created a new, UK-only scheme that allows UK students to travel and work abroad (active since September 2021). It was named after the renowned code-breaker, Alan Turing, The Turing Scheme.

Higher education (HE) funding offers UK students a life-changing opportunity to study and work abroad through the Turing Scheme. Find out more about the different types of activities students can apply for, who is eligible to take part and how to start an HE application. 

If you’re involved in an educational institution, the scheme is an opportunity to develop partnerships and international links. For a participant, the Turing Scheme is an opportunity to gain international experience that will benefit them personally and academically and improve their CVs. 

For students and learners, international mobility (the opportunity to study or work in another country) can be a transformative experience. It’s an opportunity to sharpen skills, expand knowledge, and broaden horizons by experiencing life in another country. 

These types of opportunities have wider benefits too. Students are able to gain the skills and competency they need in a jobs’ market where companies are increasingly working in more global and collaborative settings, and to use these skills for the benefit of their communities. By developing capable, culturally agile, and internationally connected individuals, international mobility has a broader societal value beyond the individual. 

Universities UK International suggests that these types of opportunities can not only boost skills, confidence and career prospects in a similar way to longer work placements but can also expand opportunities to those for whom longer periods away from home can be challenging – such as those with caring responsibilities or other commitments. 

When other countries expand access to international opportunities, everyone benefits. For organisations, it’s a chance to forge new relationships around the world. Institutions that host international students are simultaneously enriched by their presence, bringing different perspectives, strengthening international research, and global networks of alumni.  

These international connections have never been more important! As Turing tells us, there is indeed plenty that needs to be done. From the climate crisis to global recovery from COVID-19, international partnerships will be central in tackling the challenges that define our time – partnerships that often begin with these invaluable ties between people and places. 

The Turing Scheme, aimed at universities, schools, and further education colleges across the UK, opens up opportunities for young people to learn and train all over the world, and offers a new avenue for the UK education sector to strengthen partnerships with institutions across the globe.  These international partnerships, while longstanding in the university sector, may for many schools and colleges be less familiar territory.