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The Student: Educating and Being Educated

Students move abroad for their education and are very eager to learn the local language. While they’re highly educated and satisfied with their career prospects, their financial situation doesn’t seem too bright.

The majority of Students move abroad to go to school or university (90%), while ten percent want to improve their language skills in general. When it comes to language proficiency, it seems like Students are generally successful: close to three in five (58%) speak the local language at least fairly well, twelve percentage points more than the global average (46%). More than one-third (36%) even speak it very well, which is the highest share among all expat types. “I like the opportunity to learn a new language,” says a British expat living in France.

Despite being able to communicate easily, Students still struggle to make local friends abroad. More than two in five (41%) find this hard, compared to 36 percent globally. “It’s not very easy to make new German friends here,” a Chinese expat says. In fact, 35 percent of Students state that their social circle mostly consists of other expats (about the same as 34% globally), while only 13 percent are mainly friends with locals (vs. 19% globally). Maybe this contributes to the fact that just 54 percent of Students feel at home in the local culture, compared to 60 percent worldwide.

Less than half the Students (46%) are in a committed relationship, which is far below the global average (66%) and the lowest share among all expat types — however, with an average of 32.4 years, they’re also by far the youngest expat type (vs. 44.2 global average). When it comes to those who are in a relationship, though, they’re far more likely than other expat types to have met their significant other in their current country of residence (58% vs. 35% globally). And the romance seems to work: 86 percent report being happy with their relationship, just above the global average (85%).

In addition to being highly educated — eleven percent of Students hold a PhD, which is the highest share among the various expat types — they’re also very likely to work in education themselves (14%). Other common fields of occupation include IT (13%) and manufacturing & engineering (9%). With 58 percent positive ratings, Students are quite satisfied with their career prospects, compared to 55 percent globally. „London is good for young people starting their careers and eager to network and learn,” explains a Slovakian Student. However, only 56 percent of Students are satisfied with their financial situation, which is far below the global average (67%). Therefore, it might not be a surprise that three in ten (30%) think their disposable household income isn’t enough to cover all their living expenses (vs. 22% globally).