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International Experience & Employability

The University of Birmingham will be leading on the International Experience and Employability strand partnering with universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Southampton, Liverpool, University College London and King’s College London.

Building on previous Universitas 21 UK research, the University of Birmingham has devised a project designed to explore the self-perceived employability learning gains achieved by students who have studied abroad, worked abroad or have an on-campus experience have contributed to providing an international experience, with the latter as the base-line reference group.

Using a predominantly qualitative methodology, enriched by repeated measures of quantitative data, the strand will seek to identify qualities and skills reported to be enhanced by a student international experience. These findings will be compared with global employability skills and qualities reported prior to undertaking the international experience.


This exciting project is seeking to provide the sector, and especially careers practitioners and those supporting study abroad, with better evidence on what students believe they gain from international experience. This will enable better design and promotion of international experiences as well as helping to create enhanced pre-experience preparatory resources and post-experience reflection.

A particularly interesting angle to the research is the inclusion of the on-campus cohort where previous research has identified that widening participation students are disadvantaged from being able to undertake study or work abroad opportunities. The project will be able to identify, and enhance, on-campus opportunities to produce similar levels of employability learning gain.

There is significant interest across the sector in measuring the impact that international experience can have on students. Current reports have sought to better understand the impact of international experience, in particular, on students’ employability but have focused primarily on graduate destination data.

For further information on activities undertaken by the University of Birmingham, please contact Eluned Jones, Director of Student Employability, University of Birmingham,

Strand Partners: