Global Opportunity Centre launched
5 June 2014
Cardiff students who work, study or volunteer abroad during their time at University are more employable - that's just one of a host of reasons why the University has unveiled its latest initiative designed to encourage students to embark on an overseas experience as part of their studies.
The new Global Opportunity Centre (GOC), which will be officially opened today (5th June) by the former MEP and Member of the House of Lords, Baroness Eluned Morgan, is a one-stop-shop offering Cardiff's 19,000 undergraduates the latest advice and information on student mobility.
"If you told students they could be doing something fun that might help them get a better mark in their degree and improve their language skills, you would think they'd leap at the chance.
"However, when it comes to students choosing to study, work or volunteer abroad the numbers of those who take up the challenge remain low" according to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, a leading advocate for student mobility.
"Wales has a strong record in attracting international students, but whilst some 10 per cent of the world's students choose to study in the UK, we still need to do much more to encourage our own students to be mobile," he adds.
The task of convincing students to take up a placement abroad remains a challenge, especially given the current economic climate, linguistic barriers, inflexibility in the curriculum and the lack of recognition for time abroad.
With these obstacles in mind, Cardiff University is investing £1.6M over the next four years in new bursaries to overcome the financial barriers and examine new ways of recognising the educational contribution of international experience.
It comes at a crucial time with the traditional impression of student mobility as a year out studying at an overseas university changing. There are now more opportunities than ever for internships or work experience during the summer vacation.
"Placements abroad offer a huge range of benefits not only for the student who take part, but also for Cardiff University and the wider Welsh economy.
"Students improve their employability, institutions develop their international links and businesses value the wider experience of those who've spent time abroad.
"The message we need to get across is a simple one: outward mobility is not only of benefit to our students, it's also a win-win for Wales," Professor Riordan adds.
Cardiff University has set a new commitment to student mobility and has set itself a target of 17 per cent of its home students studying, working, or volunteering abroad for at least a month by 2017.
Baroness Eluned Morgan said: "Cardiff University has long understood the benefits and importance of producing graduates who are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of living and working in the EU and globally.
"This new Global Opportunity Centre at Cardiff University takes the initiative onto a new level and will ensure that more students are equipped for the workplace of tomorrow in a smaller and more globalised world."