Adam Hussain become approximately to visit college in 2013 whilst lessons expenses inside the UK almost trebled to £nine,000. With additional loans for living expenses, he realised he would incur debts of £forty,000. So while he noticed a tv document approximately an exodus of UK students to the Netherlands, Hussain determined to attend an open day at Maastricht University, where annual expenses were €2,000 (then about £1,seven hundred). That year more than 1,000 British freshers started college inside the Netherlands.

“I already wanted to live overseas; while the higher fees came in it turned into a no-brainer,” says Hussain, 24, who attended an east London complete.

He chose a degree in European research and said Maastricht became a definitely first rate and enriching revel in. “It has had such an effect on the way I want to stay my existence. And my training value a fragment of what it would have inside the UK.”



But with Brexit at the horizon, the quantity of college students going overseas has plummeted. Maastricht University, one in every of the largest recruiters from the United Kingdom, says packages dropped a quarter this yr, with handiest 132 college students joining closing autumn. It expects a further fall because of Brexit uncertainty.

And a British Council survey in 2017 discovered that the share of college students considering analyzing abroad had dropped from 34% in 2015 to 18%. While the Brexit vote changed into in particular blamed, “this might also be because of existing barriers to uptake which includes the autumn inside the value of sterling and perhaps elevated protection concerns,” says a British Council spokeswoman.

The UK authorities these days said it’d increase fees for EU students analyzing in Britain, while UK college students within the EU are possibly to have to pay the excessive training price charged to global students. This has caused requires UK student loans to be made transportable so younger humans can use them to examine abroad.

The president of Maastricht University, Martin Paul, says that because the final results of Brexit remain unsure, “the way wherein this affects tuition charges for potential British students remains unknown. Much of this relies upon on future agreements among the European Union and the UK.”

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), says that if, after Brexit, EU college students studying in Britain not have to get entry to to UK government student loans of £9,000 a yr, the spare mortgage pot have to be used to encourage UK students to look at abroad.

He says: “As Brits, we are very bad at studying overseas languages and journeying overseas to study and, after Brexit, our very own universities could emerge as less diverse. So it’s far critical to encourage college students to head overseas and display that we’re nonetheless an outward-looking u . S . A ..”

But is it genuine that study overseas makes students more worldwide in their questioning and greater appealing to employers? Yes, says Hussain, who again to London after graduation to paintings for a finance agency, then taught English in China, earlier than returning to Maastricht for a £2,000 grasp’s diploma in public coverage evaluation. He graduates this year and says that, at the same time as his examine abroad has fuelled his enthusiasm for working throughout the globe, it additionally had drawbacks.

“Some businesses virtually are searching out people who have skilled worldwide environments,” he says. “In that way my diploma enhanced my employability.” Other employers, he says, can be greater reluctant to tackle a graduate from a university they do no longer realize.

Yasmin Bentley, 25, who graduated from Maastricht in 2015 with a 2:1 in liberal arts and science, concurs. “Studying overseas has opened many doors but on the same time closed a few from companies that have a tendency to recruit instantly out of British universities,” she says.

Bentley, from Kent, is now running for a prime charity in London, and says each her employers on account that graduating have been very high-quality approximately Maastricht. “They idea it become quite courageous to do what I did at 18.”

However, she said, some prospective employers could make feedback consisting of “Did you go there because you could not get right into a UK college, or because it turned into less expensive?”

Bentley says her motivation for going to Maastricht was the breadth of her degree – which allowed her to cover maths, physics and economics – in preference to saving on expenses.

“In the quick term it felt extra high priced as I wasn’t eligible for the loans and grants device within the UK. However, hire, lessons and standard dwelling costs have been a ways inexpensive. She graduated with an anticipated €6,000 debt and, looking again, wouldn’t trade a element. “I made extraordinary pals from more than a few nations and backgrounds,” she says.

Another UK pupil at Maastricht became Molly Francis Coleman, who additionally chose to take a look at there because it offered a broader-based totally degree. She says she is a great deal higher off financially than her pals inside the UK and has already repaid the £4,600 debt she graduated with in 2014.

After her preliminary European law degree she took similarly regulation qualifications in the UK and changed into called to the Bar in 2016. However, in place of operating as a barrister, she opted to launch a specialist pram and nursery gadget business, Roma Prams, which imports from China and Europe.

Her European legal revel in is useful, she says. “It has helped in dealing with international delivery laws, exclusivity contracts and the day-to-day walking of the enterprise and has given me a much wider contact base.”

Another student, Nason Ezhilchelvan from Northumberland, says the upward thrust in UK training expenses turned into the reason for analyzing overseas. Ezhilchelvan, 25, studied economics at Maastricht from 2013 to 2016 and went instantly right into a process as a medical institution manager in the NHS, earlier than shifting to an advertising organisation as a virtual advertising and marketing govt.

“I don’t suppose studying abroad helped or hindered my task seek, as Maastricht and the diploma I did had been both reputable,” he says. “It become clearly a great speakme point in interviews, as it allowed me to talk about being outgoing and sociable.”

He says his general annual spend in Maastricht, which includes tuition prices and living prices, was kind of £9,000 – similar to the simply the yearly training expenses inside the UK.

Perhaps the best drawback to studying overseas is that his buddies are unfold across the world, whereas colleagues who went to UK universities realize more people, he says. “But a number of my buddies are right here in London and I am nonetheless in touch with folks who stay overseas,” he says. “I don’t sense I overlooked out on some thing.”

Meanwhile, Hussain, now completing his second stint at Maastricht, says he notices fewer British students in the town. “When I first determined to return here, it turned into as easy as applying for a college within the UK,” he says. “There was no visa process – nothing.

“Depending on what shape of Brexit we get, future generations of students will discover it lots extra difficult to revel in different cultures and unique approaches of life,” he says. “It is a tremendous shame.”