The Erasmus Student Network, the largest student organisation supporting student mobilities in 44 European and Asian countries, has launched a new edition of its flagship research project, the ESNsurvey.
The data collection is open from the 29th of May until the 31st of July, and it targets students who have participated in exchange programmes or mobilities abroad during the last two years, as well as students who have not taken part in mobility yet.
In light of the ongoing midterm evaluation process of the Erasmus+ programme, the survey will place a special emphasis on aspects related to inclusion and access to student mobility, as well as the student perceptions on aspects related to civic engagement, sustainability and digitalisation. The questions are highly connected to the key commitments of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education and the aspects included in the Erasmus Student Charter.
Other key aspects related to the key policy priorities of the Erasmus+ programme and the European Higher Education Area are analysed in-depth in the survey, such as the recognition of learning outcomes, the acquisition of key competencies and the international dimension of teaching and learning. The survey is a key tool to support the monitoring of the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme in Higher Education from a student perspective, being the largest survey of its kind. ESN’s 44 National Organisations and 520 local associations are involved in the dissemination of the survey. Besides Erasmus+, the ESNsurvey also monitors other mobility programmes such as the Swiss mobility programme SEMP and the new mobility programmes of the UK. Mobile trainees and full-degree students can also fill out the survey.
The survey has a global scope: besides analysing International Credit Mobilities in Erasmus+, it is also open to students from all over the world interested in learning mobility. This is part of ESN’s broader global engagement efforts, which are focused on supporting learning mobility opportunities for students all over the world.
In its latest edition launched in 2021, the ESNsurvey gathered more than 12.000 answers despite the lower mobility numbers due to the pandemic, showing the remarkable outreach of the initiative.
This edition of the survey comes with strong incentives from partners committed to sustainable and accessible mobility, which will increase benefits for students who fill out the survey. ESN has joined forces with Eurail, which is supporting the survey by giving out 10 Interrail Global Passes among respondents, and Flixbus will also raffle out 10 return tickets. The winners will be announced at the end of the data collection period.
Impact of the ESNsurvey results
The Erasmus Student Network claims that the ESNsurvey does not only allow policymakers and Higher Education Institutions to become more aware of the experiences, perceptions and challenges of students regarding learning mobility but that it has also driven change and helped to make the Erasmus+ programme what it is today.
The ESNsurvey results have been instrumental in advocating for inclusion and civic engagement to become priorities of the programme, providing in-depth information on the challenges faced by students with fewer opportunities and the huge potential of the programme to boost civic engagement.
“The ESNsurvey has become one of the most trusted sources of data on the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme and other learning mobility opportunities in Europe. The questions are shaped based on the feedback received from the daily work that our network does with hundreds of thousands of students every year, which allows us to identify priority aspects that are key to improving mobility experiences”
Juan Rayón González, President of the Erasmus Student Network
The results of the ESNsurvey are widely disseminated to the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and National Agencies involved in internationalisation, as well as Higher Education Institutions.
Relevant results from the previous edition of the survey
The latest ESNsurvey report, published in December 2022, has provided key insights on the final years of the Erasmus+ 2014/2020 and the start of the new programme.
The report shows that overall satisfaction with student mobilities improved considerably since the beginning of the last Erasmus+ programme and that mobility has a remarkable impact on the students, increasing their interest in sustainability and making them more internationally minded. However, financial support, recognition and lack of interaction with local communities remain important challenges. Trainees report lower levels of satisfaction than participants in study mobilities, and Erasmus+ International Credit Mobilities receive higher levels of satisfaction.
The XIV edition of the ESNsurvey also showed that there are considerable national differences between countries in key aspects of the mobility experience, such as the timing of arrival of Erasmus+ grants for students or full credit recognition.
Universities in Northern European countries receive the highest levels of overall satisfaction with support services among mobile students, while challenges related to credit recognition are more common in Central and Eastern European countries: Hungary and Germany still stand out with less than 50% of students reporting full credit recognition. Students encounter the biggest challenges when it comes to receiving their grants on time in South Western Europe: In Spain, Italy, France and Portugal, less than a quarter of students receive their grants before their mobilities start.
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