As the government reveals the full details of its new study abroad programme, Professor Richard Davies, PVC Global, and Benthe Tanghe, Athletic Union Officer for NUSU, look at what it means for students in the future.
At the end of last year, UK Government announced plans to split with the EU’s Erasmus+ programme and instead setup a national alternative that would allow UK students to study and work around the world.
Named after the influential mathematician and WWII codebreaker, the new Turing Scheme was met with a degree of scepticism across the sector.
There was no mention of how tuition fees would be covered - under Erasmus, students paid no tuition fees to their overseas university, and received a grant for living expenses – and, unlike its predecessor, the new scheme will not cater for incoming students.
But as the full details of Turing have emerged, we are optimistic that the broad scope and flexibility of the placements will result in wider international exchange and open up fantastic new opportunities for students.
"The Erasmus scheme changed my life – it brought me to Newcastle and set me on the exciting direction I’m on now.” – Benthe Tanghe, Athletic Union Officer, NUSU
Students tell us that international mobility is a positive life changing experience and the data on student outcome backs this up. Students that have been mobile have new perspectives and experiences that make them more employable and tend to gain better degree results.
At Newcastle, a key component of our global strategy is to increase the number of students who are able to take up the opportunity of studying abroad from 13% to 25% of the graduating cohort.
And before Covid hit us we had already started to make progress.
Once our borders start to re-open, student experience in its widest sense will be more important than ever and mobility is a key component of this.
Professor Richard Davies, PVC (left) and Benthe Tanghe, Athletic Union Officer, NUSU.
The ambition of the Turing Scheme, together with the additional funding, will ensure that more students, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are able to take part. It also offers new opportunities for our part time and mature students and those with caring responsibilities.
It will provide funding for study in many countries beyond Europe, boosting wider international exchange and helping universities to build new partnerships around the world.
And we can also use Turing to build stronger research links, enhancing the student experience through much stronger university to university bonds.
We will continue to work as hard as ever to encourage our students to take the opportunity to learn and work in Europe.
And as a university we will be working hard to find new ways of offering the same opportunity to EU students so that many more can benefit from the sort of experience that Benthe has had.
So the new mobility scheme is something we will embrace, adapt to and maximise the potential of so that as many of our students as possible can study abroad.