OPINIONS OF THE MOBILITY HEADS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DEUSTO ON THE ERASMUS EXPERIENCE
Since it began in 1987, the Erasmus programme has provided nearly 3 million European students with the opportunity to go abroad in order to study at a Higher Education institution or to do an internship in a company. Twenty-five years after its launch, Erasmus has become the best known EU programme and the most successful student exchange scheme in the world. (European Commission - IP/13/657 08/07/2013).
Throughout the years several investigations have been conducted on the experiences of academic mobility and its effects, many of which had been made possible by the Erasmus programme. In most of them, the participants were the students themselves. (Souto Otero (2008), Lindberg (2009), Brooks and Waters (2009), Parey and Waldinger (2010), Dervin (2011), Di Pietro (2013).
This paper is part of the Mobility and Employability Research for Generation Erasmus (MERGE) project, funded by the European Commission (Lifelong Learning Programme - Erasmus Multilateral Project 2011), involving research teams in four different European countries: United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and Spain. Further information can be found in http://merge.i2basque.es.
This paper reports an analysis of the Erasmus experience and its effects on student development, performed by the heads of mobility at the University of Deusto, which is one of the Higher Education institutions taking part in the aforementioned project. To that effect, semi-structured interviews were conducted to six of the heads of mobility at the University.
The results indicate that, according to these sources, the Erasmus experience brings advantages not only as a way to improve a language but also at an academic level (knowledge of new methodologies, approaches, perspectives and learning situations), at a personal level (a high level of independence and autonomy, networking and the opportunity of getting to know another society and culture) and at a professional level (acquisition of skills relevant to the labour market, such as adaptability, initiative and personal autonomy).