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News vom 07.04.2017

Children whose parents did not attend university benefit in particular from study abroad stays

Whether students grow in self-confidence or improve their language skills: a stay abroad (study or internship) for university studies, enhances performance in many areas. Children whose parents did not attend university observe these effects in some areas even more strongly than their peers with a different educational background. These are the results of an analysis conducted by the CHE Centre for Higher Education.

A stay abroad has a positive effect on social and professional skills, as well as on one’s personality. In fact, children whose parents did not attend university observe greater effects of semesters or internships abroad than the rest of their fellow students do. These are the results of a study conducted by the CHE Centre for Higher Education. Consequently, Nina Horstmann, one of the authors, advocates a more equal distribution of opportunities in the area of study abroad: “Since children whose parents did not attend university seem to particularly benefit from periods of study abroad, it is necessary to prevent a divided society here.”

However, in Germany, parents’ educational background still affects whether a student will study abroad – students whose parents attended university are more highly represented among those who participate in a study abroad programme. In addition, the study conducted by the CHE also shows that children of university-educated parents are more likely to spend more than one stay abroad than their fellow students without such parental background.

For this reason, it is all the more important to lower the hurdles preventing students from spending time abroad during their studies. According to the study, there are no fundamental differences between both groups of students in personality traits, such as decision-making. The barriers preventing students whose parents did not attend university from going abroad are rather of an organisational and financial nature. In addition to insufficient support when looking for housing abroad, the uncertainty regarding the costs related to a stay abroad is particularly pronounced.

“It is not a lack of self-confidence or curiosity that prevents children of parents without university degrees from studying abroad, but their worries about costs and housing. However, these are obstacles that are comparatively easy to remove,” said CHE Executive Director, Dr. Frank Ziegele, who calls for better funding and a wider range of services.

In addition, the CHE authors analysed study abroad stays according to educational background and programme type. Here, the study showed: Access to the European Union’s Erasmus programme is less unequal than to other programmes. The CHE authors see less rigorous entry requirements as one of the reasons. But there also seems to be an increasing number of students with university-educated parents who choose scholarship-based programmes, for example, as an alternative. Currently, some 40,000 students from Germany choose the Erasmus programme for a stay abroad (study or internship).

About the study:
Together with CHE Consult, the CHE Centre for Higher Education analysed social inequality patterns of study abroad stays and internships abroad. The basis of the investigation are unpublished data for Germany from the Erasmus Impact Study, commissioned by the European Commission in 2014. To this end, approximately 3,600 German students were surveyed in 2013. For the study with the title “Herkunft macht mobil” (Background drives mobility), the authors Olivia Key, Pavla Milatova and Nina Horstmann analysed the data with regard to parents’ educational background.

Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.

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Nina Horstmann
Nina Horstmannmehr
Phone: +49 5241 9761-44
Fax: +49 5241 9761-644
Tina Schürmannmehr
Phone: +49 5241 9761-39

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