Under-25s most likely to regret not studying abroad says poll

Language assistant in China The British Council wants more people to apply to work abroad as English language assistants

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People who don't seize the chance to study or work abroad risk regretting it later in life suggests a poll from the British Council.

Only 21% of those surveyed had lived abroad for six months or more.

Of the remaining 79% more than a third said they thought they would have had better job prospects had they done so.

Dr Jo Beall of the British Council said: "People are beginning to realise how vital international skills are for enhancing their careers."

More than 2,100 UK adults took part in the online poll conducted by Populus last month. The survey suggests the under-25s are most likely to feel they have missed out, with more than half (54%) saying their lack of international experience has held them back.

'International outlook'

The British Council says it commissioned the survey as part of its work to help young people in the UK develop the skills they need to compete in a global economy.

Dr Beall said recent research has shown that UK employers are increasingly looking for an international outlook above academic qualifications.

"The bad news is that not enough people in the UK are taking opportunities to gain international experience. That needs to change if the UK will successfully compete in the global economy...

"Our recent research showed that while almost two-thirds of students felt they had an international outlook, they failed to see the potential career advantages to be gained from international experiences."

Dr Beall urged more people to apply for the British Council's language assistant programme which offers paid placements to native speakers to help teach English in 14 countries. The British Council also runs the Erasmus Programme which offers UK university students the chance to study and work abroad.

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