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NUS Scotland has welcomed new funding from the Scottish Government to encourage Scottish students to study abroad as part of their course.

The Investing in Scotland’s Global Future project will see the launch of a new mentoring scheme that will link Scottish employers with students who have studied abroad to ensure that Scottish companies gain from the valuable skills students learn while doing part of their course abroad.

The project will also see new efforts to bring together schools, colleges and universities to ensure pupils learn about the benefits of studying abroad prior to entering further or higher education.

The project will also see efforts to encourage greater student mobility continue, such as the successful Scotland Goes Global Ambassadors scheme, where students who have studied abroad visit schools, colleges and universities to promote the social, cultural and economic benefits to students of doing part of their course outside of Scotland.

The Investing in Scotland’s Global Future project continues the work by NUS Scotland to increase outward mobility opportunities and encourage greater uptake of study abroad programmes by Scottish students, which was launched five years ago with the support of the Scottish Government as part of the Students Without Borders scheme, and more recently by the Scotland Goes Global project.

Robert Foster, NUS Scotland Vice President (Education), said: “We welcome the continuing support provided by the Scottish Government to help promote the value of studying abroad, both to students and our society. Although a higher proportion of students in Scotland are choosing to study or work abroad compared with those in other parts of the UK, there is still much to do to encourage more Scottish students to study abroad. This new funding will ensure the project will be able to continue its work to ensure all students have access to study abroad opportunities, while expanding its scope by working with young people and employers.

“Our research has found that students from Scotland who study abroad report increased confidence, improved organisational skills, and better language skill. Taking up opportunities to learn abroad makes our graduates more employable when they return home, which is why it is so important that they learn about opportunities to study abroad in schools, and are able to help employers benefit from the opportunities once they graduate from college or university.

“We look forward to working with the schools, colleges, universities, employers and the Scottish Government to continue providing students the information and tools they need study abroad, and make the most of their newly learned skills upon their return.

Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “There is a huge amount to be learned and gained from studying or work experience overseas and this funding will allow NUS Scotland to build on the excellent work started through Developing Scotland’s Global Citizens.

“Learning a foreign language, increasing personal confidence and self-reliance and familiarity with different local working practices can be real assets to young people in today’s global marketplace. I have met many students who have benefited from overseas study thanks to our overseas mobility support provided, with increased employability as well as academic achievements. It is important that work to promote these opportunities continues in our schools, colleges and universities.”