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Studying abroad during pandemic, key to personal and professional development, according to IE University international mobility research

IE University international mobility research | IE University

The report evaluates public attitudes in the UK, Spain, France and the US, towards international travel during the pandemic. Outside of students home countries, Spain and the UK are the preferred countries to study.

International students from the US, UK, France and Spain confirm their interest in completing their education in other countries during the pandemic. This is one of the main conclusions from the IE University Mobility Report, which the university presented today. The report also analyses the travel plans of citizens over the age of 18 this summer. IE University Mobility Research evaluated the opinions of 4,000 people, surveyed between 13 to 16 July 2021.

A year and a half on from the outbreak of Covid-19, the findings suggest the students eagerness to study abroad during pandemic, with around half of the students surveyed (25% of the total sample) considering studying abroad, with the UK and Spain as the top foreign destinations. Students consider that the experience of studying abroad will benefit them in the future, improving their employability. The main reasons highlighted were the positive impact of immersing oneself and learning a new culture, a new language, and making new friends. These results highlight that, in addition to the growing interest in remote learning methodologies, students value the opportunity of studying abroad with peers from different nationalities to enrich their learning experience.

The Europeans surveyed revealed that those willing to travel for leisure would only consider neighbouring countries. For example, Spain for the French and British, and Portugal for the Spanish. US citizens showed very little interest in traveling to Europe anytime soon.

  • Over 25% of those surveyed said that they would travel to visit friends and family and/or for leisure.
  • 66% of Brits missed spending time with friends and family during the pandemic, with 52% and 48% listing traveling for pleasure and eating out as what they missed most respectively.
  • Only 15% of those surveyed said they had travelled to either visit family or for leisure before getting their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Spaniards were the ones who travelled the least of those surveyed before getting their vaccines.

Patricia Gabaldón, Professor of Economic Environment at IE Business School, IE University, commented “This year saw the global rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines. Our research confirmed that the shared experience of Covid-19 and self-isolation has resulted in most people putting aside other activities and just wanting to spend time with their families and friends. For that reason, the majority of the surveyed citizens will wait before travelling abroad during this year’s summer holidays”.

“Students see the benefits of travelling abroad for their education. Face to face learning and learning the country’s culture are both highly valued among respondents.”
Patricia Gabaldón, Professor of Economic Environment at IE Business School

Survey Methodology

IE University’s Mobility Research was conducted between July 13th to 16th 2021 by Netquest, and 4,000 individuals from the UK, Spain, France and the US were surveyed. The respondents were a representative sample of 1000 adults per country, equally distributed by gender and age, this ranging from 18 onwards.