Friday 13 September 2019


Research shared in a new British Council Scotland report finds that:

  • 84 per cent of young people in Scotland believe it is important to have international experiences and engage with other cultures;
  • 72 per cent believe it is important to learn a new language;
  • 54 per cent recognise that learning a new language can benefit their future careers. 

However fewer than half (48 per cent) would consider studying a language at college or university.

When asked if they hope to study or live abroad, two thirds (69 per cent) said yes. But when asked if they would live in a country where they could not speak the language, they were split 50/50 between yes and no. 

When it comes to applying for international jobs, more than half (53 per cent) said they would not be comfortable competing against young people from other countries.

These findings are the results of two surveys conducted as part of ‘Globescotters’, a digital campaign delivered by British Council Scotland and Young Scot as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. 

They feature in a new report from British Council Scotland which also makes recommendations on how an international legacy can be built from the Year of Young People. They include developing new ways to fund international opportunities for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities; exploring options to promote the benefits of studying languages at college and university; and developing digital opportunities to enable young people to gain international and intercultural experiences at home.

Commenting, Jackie Killeen, British Council Scotland Director said:

“Our aim in engaging with Scotland’s Year of Young People was to encourage young Scots to embrace international experiences, connect with other cultures and engage with language learning. Not only do we know that this can bring real benefits to the social, educational and working lives of young people, it can help boost our economy and contribute towards a more outward-looking and globally connected society. 

“The surveys shared in our report suggest that more needs to be done to help young people in Scotland grow their confidence when it comes to following their international aspirations. It is our hope that we can work together with partners to enable this to happen as a positive legacy from Scotland’s Year of Young People.”



Notes to Editor

For more information contact Jordan Ogg on 07747895041 or

Full survey findings can be found in the report Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018: Bringing and International Focus to a Special Year published by British Council Scotland (add hyperlink).

The first survey published on GlobeScotters contained 12 questions and focused on young people’s opinions in relation to the importance of international experiences and engaging with other cultures. It received 638 completed responses and 222 incomplete responses. The second survey published contained 19 questions about education and careers. It received 376 completed responses and 161 incomplete responses. The figures referenced in the report and this press release represent the results of the completed responses only.

The age breakdown of respondents for both surveys was similar, with approximately 80 per cent of respondents being aged 12 to 17, and almost 20 per cent between 18 and 26+. Just three per cent were aged 11 or younger. The gender breakdown tells a similar story for each survey, with a majority of respondents identifying as female: 65 per cent in survey one; over 70 per cent in survey two.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.