In gain a deeper understanding of this, this review

In order to assess how accessible
travelling abroad is for students it is important to look in to a variety of
forms of travelling, such as: students taking a gap year prior to university,
students studying abroad as part of their degree and students volunteering
abroad. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this, this review will be
based on students travelling as a whole rather than just looking at travel
patterns of Cardiff University students. Although the literature surrounding
this topic covers a multitude of different subjects, this review will focus on
the social impacts that arise from students travelling abroad before and during


It has been asserted by Crawford and Cribb
(2012) that the traditional pathway after school is for students to go straight
to university, yet in recent years this path has become diversified as there
are a growing number of individuals who take a gap-year period. This has been
described by some such as King (2011) as a socially approved interruption in
the transition to adulthood, allowing students to explore potential adult roles
without committing to university. According to Sherifi (2016), there is a huge
misconception regarding the accessibility of gap years. She states that
majority of people work extremely hard to afford their gap year, meaning that
they are for anyone and everyone. Also, from completing surveys she raises the
point that most people think that travelling abroad is nearly 3 times more
expensive than it actually is, thus if more people were aware of the cheaper
ways to travel they would realise how attainable it is. This moratorium period
has proved to be beneficial for many, as researchers such as Birch (2007)
suggest that those who took time off before entering university had higher
levels of achievement than those who did not, due to students gaining valuable
life skills during their time abroad. This is reinforced by other literature
which implies that gap-years prove a critical opportunity for young people to
develop skills and confidence making them more competitive in career markets.
(Heath, S. 2007). Yet, not all of the literature surrounding this topic suggests
that taking a gap year is positive, as it has been asserted by some that the
freedom of being away from school makes students become lazy or unproductive,
which consequently makes them less achieving at University. (Robin Lutsky,
2013). Thus, there seems to be a conflicting argument of whether the impacts of
travelling abroad for a gap year have social benefits or not, so more research
could be conducted in order to conclude how travelling abroad before university
impacts students.

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Students are also able to travel abroad
during their time at University by opting to study for a year in a different
country. It has been asserted that studying abroad as part of a degree is a
very practical way of travelling due to the UK government issuing non-repayable
travel grants for students willing to study abroad through a program called
Erasmus. ( website). This program aims to give all students an equal
chance at studying abroad if they wish to, with the intention that studying
abroad will make students more employable and enable them to gain valuable life
skills. Moreover, an analysis from HSBC shows that studying abroad for a year
during University can be £13,404 cheaper than staying in the UK. (HSBC, 2014).
This has been described as a ‘fees loophole’, meaning that British students pay
only 15% of normal tuition fees if they spend the entire year abroad. As a
result of this, studying abroad has been proved to be very accessible for any
student at university as the current research addresses it is cheaper to study
a year abroad than in the UK. Additionally, the literature suggests that study
abroad experiences raise students’ awareness of their own culture as well as
helping them to employ culturally sensitive and culturally appropriate skills
for later life. (Wook-Jin Kim, 2012). Ergo, from this we can assume that going
abroad as part of a student’s degree has social benefits as it helps them to
become more well rounded individuals which may make them more employable in the
future. Yet, despite the accessibility and benefits of studying abroad that the
literature advocates, in the year 2014-15 it was reported by Gani (2015) that
only 30,000 students out of a possible 2.28 million chose to study abroad.
Therefore, this raises the question of why more students aren’t opting to study
for a year abroad as part of their degree if it is cheaper and socially
beneficial for the students who partake.


Another way in which students travel during
university are volunteer abroad placements. As asserted by Wearing (2001),
volunteer tourism is more sustainable and ethical than alternative tourism, and
can foster mutual understanding and respect between different cultures. A
variety of literature assesses that volunteering abroad allows for mutual
benefits of global citizenry and disabusing stereotypes, as well as enhancing
international and cross-cultural understandings. (Matthews 2008, D’Amore 1998).
As a result, they assert that volunteering abroad helps students to gain a
wider cultural stance of the world and thus helps bridge the gap between what
is classed as ‘the developed’ and ‘the undeveloped’ world. Yet, some literature
suggests that this negatively impacts the host country such as Sin (2001) who
argued that volunteer tourists are motivated more by a desire ‘to travel’
rather than ‘to contribute’, and that they regard aid receivers as inferior.
Thus, from this aspect it can be inferred that if volunteers are going abroad
for the wrong reasons it can have negative social impacts for the citizens of
that country. Yet, overall, volunteering seems to be highly accessible, as many
universities give grants for students to volunteer abroad through a variety of
schemes and help students through their fundraising process. In relation to
Cardiff, a program called ‘Global Opportunities’ gives bursaries in order to
make volunteering abroad more affordable for students. (Cardiff University
Website). This allows students to have an equal change to travel during their
time at University, making it a highly achievable way to travel whilst at


In conclusion, the general consensus from
the literature available it is apparent that travelling abroad for students both
before and during University is very accessible, and there are a variety of
social impacts associated with it. As mentioned previously, it is unconcluded
why students aren’t taking a year to study abroad as part of their degree if
this is a cheaper option, thus more research should be led in order to settle
whether students are aware of the accessibility of studying abroad, and if this
is something they even consider. There is also limiting literature addressing
the accessibility of students travelling abroad during their time at university
for holiday purposes, therefore more research could be conveyed in order to
find out whether students are able to do so. A comparison could also be made
looking at whether it is more accessible to travel before or during university,
taking in to account the various social impacts.