Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Motivational Factor of Erasmus Students at the University

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Motivational Factor of Erasmus Students at the University

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study involved 377 ERASMUS students from the University of Oviedo in an academic year. An ad-hoc questionnaire was applied in on-line format to determine students' perceptions and opinions and to understand the motivations that impel them to participate in these activities and their degree of satisfaction. The study analyzes the process of Erasmus mobility, noting that, as a result of the stay, the students describe their mastery of the host country language as good or excellent in most cases. Academic and cultural factors, the desire to get to know a new environment and to have a European experience impel most of the students to travel abroad. Job prospects are another motivating factor, and the overall assessment of the planned stay is acceptable, good or excellent in most cases.

Keywords: motivation, ERASMUS, lifelong learning program, university

1. Introduction

1.1 State of Art

One of the characteristics of the new international university relations scenario is its increasing level of economic and cultural exchanges. This dynamic supports the proposal of a common Europe facing the challenge of its diversity. Ideas about internationalization and globalization do not always refer to the same goals; for instance, cooperation is based on mutual trust, whereas business strategies and interests focus on principles of competence and conquering markets (Teichler, 2009).

The Ministerial Conference of the Process of Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve of 2009 set the goal of 20% of European graduate students with studies or practicum abroad for the year 2020. This turns academic mobility into one of the most important aspects of the common European space. Students' international mobility in Europe favors a sense of fraternity, but it is also an investment in future development, resulting in the relocation of people with high research capacities (Rindoks, 2010). Various studies have revealed the relation between these stays in another country and the phenomenon of migration of academicians, stressing that its long-term results should be analyzed (Hoffman, 2009). In Europe, specific actions such as equating the studies carried out and their quantification in ECTS credits have facilitated academic acknowledgement of the training undertaken, also implying the validity of such training across Europe. This new framework of work exchanges is considered an opportunity and a priority for development in some countries, such as Latvia (Bluma, 2009; European Commission, 2010).

The European Parliament Decision (nr 1720/2006/CE) established the action Program in the field of Lifelong Learning (Lifelong Learning Programme - hereafter, LLP), which signalled the final stage of the Bologna process initiated in 1999, defining the European space of higher teaching for 2010. Its specific goals were: a) to develop quality and innovative PLL; b) to support the common Europe; c) to promote lifelong learning opportunities for social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, equality of men and women; e) to help creativity, competitiveness, employment and entrepreneurial growth; f) to extend lifelong learning to all ages, to students with special needs and to disadvantaged students; g) to promote learning languages; h) to support the development of contents based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); and i) to respect human rights and democracy.

The new European framework in the year 2020 is grounded on the institutions of higher education; they will be the impellers of the society of knowledge and will contribute to training the active population. For this purpose, higher teaching has been made uniform (Commission of the European Communities, 2006) and (Commission of the European Communities, 2009a and 2009b), with the following changes:

- Curricular: a system of three cycles (degree, master, doctorate), learning based on competence, flexible learning itineraries, acknowledgement of qualifications and competences, and mobility. …

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