Turing Scheme: ultimate guide for students on studying abroad in 2021 and beyond

Lois King on 18 January 2021

Brexit threatened student mobility, with many of us wondering whether Erasmus would still be possible. Now the verdict is in; Erasmus is out and the Turing Scheme is in. But, what's the difference?

With Brexit done and dusted, your university experience might be a little different, especially if you’re considering a year abroad. The UK’s main study abroad programme has changed from the Erasmus agreement to a new programme called the Turing Scheme. But if you’re wondering ‘will I still be able to study abroad after Brexit?’, then don’t worry, the answer is probably yes. Here’s what we know so far about the new scheme:

  • It plans to invest £100 million in funding, with the goal of enabling 35,000 students to study abroad each year.
  • It will seek to help more students from disadvantaged backgrounds than Erasmus did.
  • It will include countries from around the world, not just those within Europe.

In the words of the Universities UK International Director, Vivienne Stern:

“The new Turing Scheme is a fantastic development and will provide global opportunities for up to 35,000 UK students to study and work abroad.”

But how does the Turing Scheme differ from Erasmus? Which countries will be involved? And what’s all the fuss about? Here’s a breakdown, so you can see how your semester abroad might shape up under the new programme:  

Key questions:

Will I be able to go abroad if there’s only funding for 35,000 students?

Around 18,500 UK students currently use the Erasmus Plus programme every year, so although places are limited, you are likely to be able to study abroad under the new scheme. 

When does the scheme begin?

The Turing Scheme is due to start in September 2021.

What are the benefits of studying or working abroad under the Turing scheme?

Much like Erasmus, you’ll develop a range of skills - academic, life, personal and vocational. Benefits include: 

  • Better job prospects
  • Discovering new cultures
  • Making friends 
  • Improving your command of a foreign language 

Will I only be able to study?

Just like the Erasmus scheme, you can choose to either study or work.

Will I have to pay tuition fees to my university abroad?

Under the Erasmus programme, students paid no tuition fees to their overseas university. At the moment, it’s still unclear how these fees will be covered by the Turing Scheme.

Will another student replace me while I’m studying abroad?

At the moment, there’s not been much discussion around international students coming to the UK through the scheme. It’s likely that another student won’t fill your spot as the scheme focuses heavily on outward mobility, as opposed to the benefits of inward mobility (international students experiencing UK higher education). 

Will my university take part in the Turing Scheme?

UK organisations need to express their interest in participation by early this year. Not all universities will receive funding for the scheme, so this may sway your university’s decision.

How will I find a university to study at?

If your university chooses to participate, it will form partnerships with other universities across the globe, meaning you’ll have a handful of partner universities and companies to choose from. The partnerships that your university creates, however, are out of your control.

I’m studying in Northern Ireland. Does this affect me?

The Irish government has decided to fund your Erasmus experience. Therefore, you’ll still be able to travel under Erasmus instead of the Turing Scheme. 

Will I receive any funding while abroad?

Parts of the cost of the international placement will be covered by the scheme, but it will not be as comprehensive as Erasmus.

What countries will I be able to study or work in?

At present, it’s unknown which countries will be included in the Turing Scheme. To compare with the Erasmus Plus scheme, which involved these countries, the Turing Scheme claims to include even more countries further afield. 

Will it only be available for language degree students?

While the Erasmus scheme mainly saw language students participate, the Turing Scheme aims to increase accessibility to the scheme and the benefits of studying and working abroad so that disadvantaged students can experience these opportunities. Therefore, it’s likely that the scheme will be open to all, regardless of subject. 

Wondering whether study abroad is right for you? Here are five reasons why you should make the most of the opportunity. And, if you’re worried about your finances for your year abroad, then find out how you can save up, such as this article on why minimalism is the path to financial freedom.

Lois King
Lois King on 18 January 2021