“They Just Signed and Stamped Papers”
Understanding the Erasmus Student Experience 35 Years On
Keywords:student mobility, Erasmus, mobility preparation, institutional support, higher education
Erasmus mobility has become an important feature of higher education in Europe and beyond, with the potential to generate significant changes at individual, institutional and systemic levels. More than three decades after the foundation of this successful programme, evaluations reveal that, despite notable progress, several aspects of the Erasmus student experience can be further improved. Based on the lived experiences of Erasmus alumni, this article aims to understand the challenges that emerge in contexts of educational mobility and how they could be better addressed. Three key dimensions are identified in the qualitative accounts of former Erasmus students and analysed in light of previous research: mobility preparation, institutional support for integration, and recognition of study abroad. Concrete recommendations are made to policy and institutional actors on how to prepare and support Erasmus students during their international sojourns, ensuring that the positive outcomes often associated with international mobility are in fact attained.
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