Social inclusion is a priority for the next Erasmus programme, but very little hard data is available on the accessibility of the current programme and what measures could be put in place to improve access and participation. Students from less advantaged backgrounds and from underrepresented groups that go abroad tend to get better degree results, have lower unemployment rates, are more likely to start their career in graduate-level jobs and have a higher starting salary than their non-mobile peers. However, while they stand to gain from this experience, these students are underrepresented in mobility, with only 7% of Erasmus students coming from a disadvantaged or underrepresented group.
In response to this, ESN has launched the ‘Social Inclusion and Engagement in Mobility’ project. The project is a collaborative cross-European partnership between ESN, UUKi the European University Foundation,YES Forum, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BE), University of Vigo (ES), Masaryk University (CZ), University of Latvia (LV), ESN Spain (ES) and ESN France (FR).
This project is an important step toward making international mobility opportunities more inclusive, enabling students from all backgrounds to study, work or volunteer abroad. The ultimate goal of higher education in general, and studying abroad in specific, is to shape a generation of Europeans that transcend traditional cultural beliefs, who embrace cultural differences and endorse mutual intercultural understanding to shape a united society that offers space to everyone.
Increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the Erasmus programme in order to make the international student mobility more inclusive.
Encourage Erasmus students and student organisations to organise volunteer initiatives in order to reach out to the local community in order to increase intercultural exchange.
Increase the interaction between international students and local communities of underrepresented groups and visibility of international student mobility.
The project will start with a research component in Spring 2020. A student and university survey will be launched to assess the challenges students from diverse backgrounds experience before, during and after their mobility.
Through focus groups, study visits to 6 different universities, an inclusive workshop with students from diverse backgrounds across Europe, the project aims to bring internationalisation closer to students and young people.
In October 2020 the project will organise training and conference for student representatives and university staff members on how to bring internationalisation closer to young people from diverse backgrounds in their local communities.
Piloting of recommendations for inclusive mobility promotion and recruitment in the different Universities that are part of the project as well as dissemination and organisation of activities on the ground to improve interaction between international and local students.
To support the implementation of the promotion of student mobility, the portal will be supported by student testimonials and blog posts in order to showcase that student mobility is for everyone.
In the second phase of the implementation, the portal will be available for all students and youth organisations involved in Erasmus mobility projects in order to assess their impact as well as make promotion of mobility with a peer to peer approach.
In this conference, the project will launch its official toolkit and present its overall results, while offering a chance to connect stakeholders across the education sector with students.
Help us contribute towards a more inclusive mobility experience!