DEV 1.2.3 Analysis of Previous Students’ Mobility Programs

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Previous students‘ mobility programs have been analyzed by PC Higher Education Institutions and TOPCL. The analyses were performed from both institutional and students‘ perspectives, and the results have been collected and reported in two parts.

In the first part, the representatives of seven Ukrainian and Serbian HEIs participating in the project have been surveyed by means of the questionnaire, which was prepared by UNI. The results of the survey were analysed by UNI as well. The surveyed HEIs generally have the policy and appropriate activities aimed at encouraging students and staff to participate in outgoing mobility. As a result, the number of students participating in the realization of available forms of mobility over the past years has been growing at most of the surveyed universities. Most of the surveyed universities think that outgoing mobility has long-term effects and agree that there is a significant difference in the learning outcomes between students who have participated in mobility and those who have not. They also agree that experience gained through outgoing mobility helps students and graduates in the case of working outside of the national borders. Specifically, mobility experience helps in being more adaptive, though may not be a crucial factor for working abroad. There is no general consensus on whether the correlation between the period of students’ outgoing mobility and mobility outcomes exists or not, but mobility outcomes may be affected by the contents of mobility run (degree studies, internship, summer school), and 6 out of 7 surveyed universities consider that 3 months is a minimum period of students’ outgoing mobility that can have an impact on learning outcomes.

The second part of the report, which was prepared by TOPCL, provides the analysis of previous mobility programs from students’ perspective and is based on their mobility experiences. The research included consideration of information obtained in direct interviews with students and content analysis of the data collected from the media. The most important observation is that the number of positive mobility features pointed out by the examinees is significantly higher than the number of negative ones. All mobility participants agree that mobility provides the unique life experience, which refers to independence that one gains, in addition to broadening one’s horizons culturally, enhancement in intercultural communication and multicultural competencies, long-term friendships and tight bonds between people, especially within the foreign students’ community (among young people sharing similar life experience). Specifically, socializing and joint travels with newly gained friends were indicated as perhaps the most positive aspects of mobility. As for the academic category, majority of examinees marked as very positive different approach to learning that they had opportunity to experience during their mobility. The positive fetures that they underlined include the concept of studies with practical and interactive classes where students do not only listen to a lecturer but also do their own research outside the classroom, the ability to tailor your own studies by choosing subjects and lectures you want to take, the involvement of companies in university courses (which provide students with better understanding of the global economy and real-life industry, in addition to the opportunity of various internships and possible employment), the work in small groups (not exceeding 10 students), the use of modern teaching materials and online platforms and tools for continuous communication with teachers and access to online libraries with vast academic literature, as well as the openness of teachers to communicate with students. Students also emphasized a very convenient opportunity they were given by lecturers, to do additional assignments for additional points and credits. It is important to mention that majority of participants reported that they improved their language competencies to a significant extent during the mobility (in terms of general English and every-day communication, but in terms of studying and taking examinations in a foreign language, or academic English competencies, as well). As one of the added values of mobility, students also recognized additional skills they could get during their courses in foreign countries: first of all soft skills (recognized as crucial nowadays) and gaining knowledge from different but related academic fields (such as psychological aspect of economic disciplines related to consumers’ behavior).