Tag: mobility

Administrative support for internationalisation – mobility agreements and joint degree programmes

Kristi Barcus (Univeristy of Oslo, Hedda)

Kristi Barcus
(Univeristy of Oslo / Hedda)

In this entry, Hedda’s own Kristi Barcus (University of Oslo) shares her expertise about working with internationalisation within the study administration. While we often hear about the importance of internationalisation as a strategic objective for universities, an administrative perspective provides valuable insights into the specific measures that can be taken to assure that such policies are effectively put into practice. 

Since I started working at the University of Oslo in 2006, internationalization has become an ever increasing “hot topic”.  The university even dedicated an entire year to internationalization, calling 2012 “internationalization year”. UiOs Strategy 2020 has set a strong emphasis on internationalization both within its teaching and research activities. But what does internationalization mean to a study administrator and what are some ways in which administrators contribute to internationalization at universities?

Student Mobility

Working in study administration, internationalization is to a large extent linked to student mobility. During the recent SIU Internationalization conference in Trondheim the rector of the University of Bergen, Dag Rune Olsen, reflected on the importance of student mobility.  He said, “If a student doesn’t plan on studying aboard during their degree, maybe they should reevaluate their reason for studying. (own translation)” The idea that all students should spend time abroad during their studies is often a core aspect of internationalization policies at universities. The expectation that having an international dimension of a study program is valuable not only for the student and her future, but also to the university itself is an important factor. But how do you motivate students to study abroad? What can an administrator do to facilitate this? (more…)




Erasmus+ now approved in the European Parliament

EUA few days ago, on Tuesday, the European Parliament approved the new Erasmus+ programme and budget for 2014-2020. Erasmus+ represents a new approach by the European Union to approach its various programmes where existing programmes for education, training, youth and sport will be merged into one unified programme with a growing budget that will begin in January 2014.

The budget for the new programme is €14.7 billion which represents a 40% increase in comparison to current budgets. The name follows up on the existing Erasmus programme which is a successful mobility scheme for European higher education students. Erasmus has since its introduction in 1987 been the flagship project for education in the European Union, and in July 2013 the number of Erasmus students reached 3 million.

In the new Erasmus+ programme, existing EU programmes will be merged into one, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This also represents a more holistic perspective on education promoted by the EU in recent years where there is a clear aim of more policy coordination between various educational sectors but also with relevant adjacent policy areas.

The new programme will provide mobility grants for 4 million individuals, the press release highlighted that this includes 2 million higher education students, 650 000 vocational training students and apprentices, and half a million youth in exchange programmes as well as volunteers. Furthermore, funding will be provided for education and training staff, youth workers and for partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations, following up on existing instruments and programmes. (more…)




Number of Erasmus students has reached 3 million

Newest statistics launched by the EU show that the number of students who have spent parts of their studies abroad with an Erasmus grant has now passed 3 million. Erasmus mobility programme was introduced in 1987 and is considered one of the definite success stories of European initiatives in the area of education. The programme includes at this point 33 countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

Number of students annually (Source: Europa.eu)

Number of students annually (click to view full size image)
(Source: Europa.eu)

26 years ago when the programme was introduced it attracted 3,244 students Europe wise. The numbers for the 2011/2012 academic year indicate a new record – over 250 000 students spent either part of their studies abroad or had a job placement with a foreign company. Furthermore, well over 45 000 staff members, both academic and administrative received support to teach or train abroad. Over 33 ooo of these were teaching assignments, marking a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year.

The highest growth amongst outbounding students was in Croatia with 61,8%, potentially explained with their recent joining with the programme. However, high growth rates were also shown in Denmark, Slovenia and Turkey. The country sending out most students was Spain, followed by Germany and France – all three being among the larger countries in Europe. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Spain was also the most popular destination country with a clear margin, followed by France and Germany.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou commented on the recent numbers: “Erasmus is more important than ever in times of economic hardship and high youth unemployment: the skills and international experience gained by Erasmus students make them more employable and more likely to be mobile on the labour market. Erasmus has also played a tremendous role in improving the quality of higher education in Europe by opening up our universities and colleges to international cooperation. Looking to the future, I’m delighted that our new Erasmus+ programme will enable 4 million young people to study, train, teach or volunteer abroad in the next seven years.”

Have you had experience with an Erasmus programme? How did the experience contribute to your studies?




New patterns in internationalization of science

A few weeks ago, Nature took up the topic of increased and changing internationalization patterns in research. As a part of this, the results from a study examining the internationalization patterns in research were highlighted. The survey covered 17 000 scientists in 16 countries (including four areas: biology, chemistry, Earth and environmental sciences and materials) and the questions were for the most part about country of origin, attractive countries to work in and reasons for migration.

A number of the results were not very surprising, for instance, that United States has a very large number of international researchers (38%), whereas a particularity of the US is their lack of outward mobility. On the other hand, Switzerland has en even higher level of international researchers (58%), but one in three researchers with Swiss origin works outside the country. Of course, in the case of Switzwerland, one has to consider the impact of for instance CERN.

When the respondents were asked about the current stronghouses of research, again the usual suspects were mentioned – with USA, UK and Germany topping the lists. However, when asked on who was seen as having the greatest impact in 2020, the country that emerged on top was China – potentially a somewhat surprising result considering the short time span. Nevertheless, only a fraction of the respondents from the study would consider moving there.

Of the reasons why one would consider to move to another country, the two aspects that received highest support were general quality of life and opportunities for research funding. Other factors, such as salary level, or opportunity for more senior positions were considered important incentives, but not to the same extent, hinting towards more intrinsic motivation linked to the discipline. (more…)




International student mobility – questioning future scenarios

In the context where an increasing amount of higher education institutions in USA and UK are increasingly dependent on fees and having to become “self-sufficient”, the question of international student mobility is becoming increasingly important for these institutions.

According to a recent article in University World News, “China and India alone will see their aggregate urban consumption increase seven-fold and six-fold respectively from 2005 to 2025“. In the article, this is used as an argument that there will be an increasing pool of potential international students in terms of quantity, and that this would also allow institutions to be more selective rather than being dependent on any student coming. As such, the article presents this transformation as a huge potential for higher education institutions in the West – and especially for USA and UK that would need to have clear strategies on how to gain from this situation.

Though, the picture might be as clear cut, and some issues one might want to consider include that Asian own higher education institutions are on the rise, and there is increased focus on cross-border education and branch campuses that seems to be the preferred mode, instead of sending out students. In addition, one can expect increasing competition from other European countries, as the EU is soon to issue its new internationalisation strategy for higher education with third countries (as indicated by a Commission representative during the recent ESMU conference in Brussels).  (more…)