Compared to other European countries, outbound student mobility rates from the UK are low. Taylor’s University has gone on the front foot to promote the idea of exchanging to Malaysia for a semester.
Malaysians have been heading to study in the UK for decades, but as Professor Perry Hobson the PVC for Global Engagement said, "It's now time to start to make this a two-way flow". The first ever UK exchange students to Taylor's University came from UWE-Bristol in 2015. Since then the university has welcomed short-term mobility students from Sussex University and the University of Birmingham, as well as semester exchange students from Robert Gordon University (RGU) Birmingham City University and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
Working together, MMU was also able to obtain Erasmus+ funding to work with Taylor's University to encourage both student and staff mobility. But as Natalie Cunningham from MMU has pointed out, "we still have to get MMU students interested in the idea of exchanging first - and then give them the idea of heading to Malaysia". In 2015 Prof. Perry Hobson, visited MMU twice to promote the new exchange relationship on the back of getting the Erasmus+ funding. In 2016, Dr. Goh from the Taylor's Business School travelled to MMU, where he joined some of the eight Taylor's students to promote the exchange programme to the Lakeside campus.
As Dr. Goh noted, "the reality is that most students in the UK don't know much about Malaysia, or why they should come and spend a semester with us. So there is quite a bit of work to do in terms of raising our profile". Ms. Jayvien Lau, the Director of the Global Mobility Office at Taylor's said, "In 2016 we received about to 160 semester exchange students from more than 20 countries and 56 different institutions" adding that, "the top 3 countries we received students from were Germany, France and The Netherlands. Looking to the future, we are hoping to get more student interest from the UK".
A recent visit to Taylor's by Clare Walker and Jennifer Wan of the British Council and Raegan Hiles from UK Universities International, highlighted the interest at a policy level in the UK to strategically increase outbound mobility – which has historically been low by European standards. Taylor's University hopes to be seeing even more UK students at the Lakeside campus in the near future. To find out more about the Global Mobility Options at Taylor's University click here.