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UK university breaks the mould with global initiative for students


De Montfort University (DMU) today announces a ground-breaking initiative to offer the majority of its students an international experience and calls for the UK Government, Higher Education sector and business community to seek rapid progress in preparing graduates to meet business needs in a fiercely competitive global marketplace.

Across the UK, only six per cent of university students travel overseas as part of their degree, but through its innovative #DMUglobal programme, 50 per cent of DMU students will have the chance of an overseas experience during the course of their studies.

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University, said:“We applaud the recent announcement that UK students will be encouraged to broaden their horizons by travelling overseas to gain international experience. The Government-backed Outward Student Mobility Strategy being developed by the UK Higher Education International Unit will undoubtedly bring benefits to UK students and businesses in the years ahead.

"However, we cannot afford to wait long to see results. The Higher Education sector, Government and businesses must act together with all urgency to ensure swift and meaningful progress is made. 

"That is why De Montfort University - supported by a network of global business partners and academic institutions - is today committing to offer a meaningful international experience to 50 per cent of its students in the years ahead, through our ground-breaking #DMUglobal project.”

A recent CBI survey of employers found widespread dissatisfaction with graduates’ international cultural awareness and foreign language skills.

Professor Shellard added:“We believe that immersion in other cultures, the learning of different languages, the gaining of new networks of friends and contacts, and the development of independence and resilience will add to students’ personal enrichment and also ensure that they may meet the needs of businesses now and in the future. 

“The time for decisive action is right now if we are to ensure that our graduates are able to assist British business to compete and flourish in a fiercely competitive global marketplace.” 

Under the #DMUglobal initiative, students will benefit from meaningful engagements in international universities and companies across the world, in countries such as Germany, China, Brazil and Australia.

The university will subsidise the costs for students who will each be offered a programme tailored to suit their own academic needs, from a four-week placement offering intensive language training and cultural awareness, to a whole year abroad working with a global company.

Already a globally recognised university with an increasing international student population, DMU will commit £1.5 million annually to run #DMUglobal. A pilot programme will begin in the first quarter of 2014 and will accelerate in the following years.

More details will be announced to staff and students in the coming weeks and months.

Posted on Thursday 19th September 2013

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