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The European Commission has published a study* to verify the impact Erasmus+ mobilities have had on students, staff and higher education institutions. The study, conducted between January 2017 and April 2019, was based on 77,000 survey responses from all the above groups.
Students in Higher Education
72% of students who did study or training mobility said it had been (highly) beneficial to finding their first job. On top of that, 40% stated that they were offered jobs inside the companies/organisations where they did their traineeships. The results also showed that those students going abroad for studies or internships often changed their study plans, because their time abroad gave them a much clearer idea of what they wanted to do in terms of future careers.
The study showed that those Erasmus+ participants who are working were happier in their work than those who did not participate in Erasmus+ programmes. 32% of students also felt more European after having finished their time abroad compared to before they left (25%).
In addition, the study pointed to a strong association between participation in the Erasmus+ programme and the development of skills for employment and social cohesion. 9 in 10 said that adaptability, interactions with people from other cultures, communication skills and intercultural competences were improved due to going abroad. The survey also looked at the barriers for students to go abroad. These were mostly financial or personal reasons.
And yes, developing ‘international relations’ was also part of the Erasmus+ experience: 23% of Erasmus+ graduates live with a partner who has a different nationality than their own, compared to 13% of non-mobile graduates. On top of that, more than half met their partner during their Erasmus+ mobility.
Higher Education Staff
Improvement of social skills, intercultural and social competencies were also listed by members of staff who went abroad through the Erasmus+ programme. On top of that, some 60% of staff reported to be more innovative and make more use of ICT after having gone abroad. The main drivers given for going on staff mobility were to enhance professional and institutional advancements (networking (93%), field knowledge development (93%), experience different learning and teaching methods (89%)). If there were barriers, then these were mostly related to work and family responsibilities.
Higher Education Institutions
Erasmus+ proved to be very important to (9 in 10) institutions’ strategies to international competitiveness and programme quality. Lots of institutions reported a constant over-demand for student and staff mobilities, while students and staff generally reported an improved in the support available to them for going on Erasmus+ programmes. An imbalance was noted between demand for mobility (very high) from students and staff and supply for places in the Erasmus+ programme, but institutional support for participating had improved markedly since 2014.
At VUB Erasmus+ programmes are popular too, especially as a destination. The incoming number of students went up slightly in 2018-2019, but the number of students going abroad could do with more of a boost, especially as there is still ample funding available to do so!
Top 5 destinations remain the same as the previous year: Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy.
More information on the going abroad opportunities for studies and internships can be found on the student portal, or by contacting the VUB International Relations office on the firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the Impact Study can be found on the Europa website.
*study conducted by CHE Consult and ICF Consulting