Research Study: Impact of Student Mobility and Extracurricular engagement
In April 2020 U21 published a piece of original research, ‘Exploring the impact of student mobility and extracurricular engagement on academic performance and graduate outcomes’.
The study offers new insights into students’ experiences of internationalised higher education, and makes recommendations for the sector to support students in unlocking the potential benefits of these experiences for their personal and professional development.
Studying abroad is often noted as the premier opportunity for students to enhance their employability. Although not all students can or wish to study abroad, there has been a lack of research into the corresponding impacts of home-based extracurricular activities on students' development. The study therefore explores both types of activities through a combination of participant interviews and graduate outcomes datasets.
The study finds that both studying abroad and extracurricular engagement offer gains to students in alignment with the CareerEDGE employability model. Students in the research who studied abroad reported slightly higher rates of postgraduate study and higher academic performance, were less likely to be unemployed, but also reported lower average first employment earnings, compared to their counterparts who did not study abroad. However, possible contributing factors in first employment earnings include variance in discipline, gender, and access to internships/placements . A guided reflective process is argued to be a key element in maximising gains for any lived experiences and translating them into employability gains.