Who in Georgia wants to study abroad?

Studying abroad can offer students the opportunity to learn new languages, travel, experience different cultures, and form relationships in addition to studying. The Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union survey (EU Survey) implemented by CRRC-Georgia for Europe Foundation provides information about what share of the population in Georgia would like to go abroad to study, and the demographic characteristics of those who would like to.

Overall, almost a quarter of Georgia’s population (24%) reports a willingness to study abroad. Their median age is 29, and in this blog post we focus only on people who are between 18 and 58 years old, i.e. twice the median age. For the population in this age group, the share of those who report a willingness to study abroad increases to 33%. Most often, they name the US as the country where they would like to study.

Notably, slightly more females (37%) report being interested in going overseas to study than do males (30%). Of those who already hold a bachelor’s degree, 48% would like to go abroad to study, while of those who hold a master’s or higher degree, 39% want to study abroad.

Note: Options ‘Primary education’, ‘Incomplete secondary education’, ‘Completed secondary education’, ‘Secondary technical education’, and ‘Incomplete tertiary education’ were grouped into the category ‘Secondary education or lower’. Options ‘MA’ and ‘PhD student/PhD’ were grouped into the category ‘Master’s degree or higher.’

A willingness to go abroad to study is most common in the capital and least common in settlements with a large ethnic minority population. Notably, there is not much difference between the shares of people willing to study abroad in urban settlements outside Tbilisi and in rural settlements with a predominantly Georgian population.

Surprisingly, quite a large share of those who want to go abroad to study report no basic knowledge of English (37%). Thirty percent report they have intermediate and 15% – advanced knowledge of the language. This finding leads to some questions about whether those who report a willingness to study abroad would actually be able to do so. Notably, half of those who say they would like to study in the United States or the United Kingdom report either no basic knowledge or a beginner’s level of English.

This suggests the need for more focused efforts in the field of teaching foreign languages, and especially English.

To explore the data further, try CRRC’s online data analysis tool.