The Professional Value of ERASMUS Mobility. The Impact of International Experience on Former Students’ and on Teachers’ Careers.

 

Janson, Kerstin; Schomburg, Harald; Teichler, Ulrich (2009): THE PROFESSIONAL VALUE OF ERASMUS MOBILITY. The Impact of International Experience on Former Students’ and on Teachers’ Careers.

 

 

Bonn: Lemmens 2009 (ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education). With a preface by Bernd Wächter.

Since 1987, the European mobility programme ERASMUS enabled over two million students to study in another European country. The programme was and remains a success story. After a series of comprehensive evaluation studies up to the year 2000 the European Commission initiated a study on the impact of ERASMUS, notably on the subsequent careers of formerly mobile students and teachers. This study, called ‘The Professional Value of ERASMUS’ (VALERA), put the emphasis on both continuity and change over time. This was possible because earlier studies had also addressed the careers of former mobile students and because the new study also included retrospective questions on the ERASMUS study experiences. The study was financed by the European Commission; the English language publication was supported by the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
The present study points out a paradox of continuity and change. The immediate value of the ERASMUS experience for students seems to be unchanged: the eye-opening value of a contrasting learning experience in another European country. But former ERASMUS students of the academic year 2000 report a less impressive career impact five years later than prior generations of ERASMUS students did: a lesser privi-lege in access to visibly international job tasks and a lesser advantage in the job search in general. Finally the number of graduates believing to have an advantage in income and status compared to their non-mobile counterparts is not anymore higher than those perceiving a disadvantage. The authors of the study, Kerstin Janson, Harald Schomburg and Ulrich Teichler, argue that internationalisation in general has progressed in Europe so much that the ERASMUS experience is bound to loose its exceptionality over time. They draw the conclusion that more ambitious curricular thrusts might be needed to turn a temporary study period abroad again into a clear ‘value added’.
Finally, the study shows that temporary teaching abroad, though being a short activity in the midst of the career, is highly relevant for the academics’ subsequent professional activities.


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