Education & Family

Exchange students '40% go on to live and work abroad'

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Image caption Studying abroad seems to have a long-lasting impact on working lives

Going overseas to study as a university student seems to have a big impact on making people want to work abroad in later life, suggests research.

An analysis of the Erasmus overseas study programme in Europe indicates 40% of participants go on to live abroad during their working lives.

The research suggests that more than a quarter of students meet a long-term partner on study exchanges.

It estimates that a million babies have been born to these Erasmus couples.

The study of 88,000 people, carried out for the European Commission, suggests that an experience of studying abroad has a far-reaching influence and creates a much more international outlook.

It looked at students in more than 30 countries who have taken part in the Erasmus university exchange programme, launched in the late 1980s. An estimated three million students have taken part in an Erasmus scheme.

Study romance

The study reveals high levels of mobility after graduation, with two in five going on to work in another country after their studies.

And it suggests a third will settle down with a "life partner" of a different nationality, almost three times higher than the average.

There is also a romantic legacy, with the Erasmus Impact study suggesting 27% of those participating had met a long-term partner.

According to the study, "around one million babies are likely to have been born to Erasmus couples".

The study also suggests studying abroad is an important advantage in employability.

It says graduates with international experience are likely to have much lower levels of unemployment than graduates who have not studied abroad.

The Erasmus programme has been relaunched as part of a drive to improve skills and reduce youth unemployment. It wants to create study-abroad opportunities for four million people in the next seven years.

It operates across 28 European Union countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

"The findings of the Erasmus Impact study are extremely significant, given the context of unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment in the European Union. The message is clear - if you study or train abroad, you are more likely to increase your job prospects," said Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth.

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