Tag: student exchange

Podcast on Should International Students Start Their Semester Abroad with COVID19?

Podcast Commentary by Dr Guven on Should International Students Start Their Semester Abroad with COVID19? Should exchange students go abroad? Should new international students start their academic year abroad? Should semester exchange students go abroad for next semester or should they defer their exchange semester to 2021. Should you start your studies as an international student if the next semester is going to be conducted online? Does it make sense to sit and wait as an international student.

Listen to the Audio Podcast at: https://podcasters.spotify.com/episode/4XMpFCxpMW2nmVg1YC2qL9

Listen to the Soundcloud recording at: https://soundcloud.com/dr-ugur-guven/should-international-students-start-their-semester-abroad-with-covid19

Importance of International Student Mobility Platforms for Cooperative International University Networks

As world progresses, the concept of higher education is becoming more and more complex with additional requirements each day. The classical higher education systems of using chalk and blackboard and writing equations on board for students to memorize has long been outdated and today we live in a world of hybrid education platforms, online classes and interactive learning. Nowadays, students want to learn know-how from experienced individuals, and they demand a more practical approach to learning their professions. Hence, many universities are competing with each other in order to be able to provide the best possible education platforms and opportunities for their students. Of course, one of the more important concepts in a globally competitive university is the student mobility opportunities that are provided by the International Department of the concerned University. Nowadays, there are variety of programs that allow students to go for mobility programs such as semester exchange, international internships, dual degrees, summer schools and many more. Hence, in order to meet this demand, every university within their financial means are trying to establish an international network to provide as many opportunities as possible to their students. There are many studies to suggest that student mobility in any form enhances the student’s learning ability as well as their adaptability to various situations.

As world progresses, the concept of higher education is becoming more and more complex with additional requirements each day. The classical higher education systems of using chalk and blackboard and writing equations on board for students to memorize has long been outdated and today we live in a world of hybrid education platforms, online classes and interactive learning. Nowadays, students want to learn know-how from experienced individuals, and they demand a more practical approach to learning their professions. Hence, many universities are competing with each other in order to be able to provide the best possible education platforms and opportunities for their students. Of course, one of the more important concepts in a globally competitive university is the student mobility opportunities that are provided by the International Department of the concerned University. Nowadays, there are variety of programs that allow students to go for mobility programs such as semester exchange, international internships, dual degrees, summer schools and many more. Hence, in order to meet this demand, every university within their financial means are trying to establish an international network to provide as many opportunities as possible to their students. There are many studies to suggest that student mobility in any form enhances the student’s learning ability as well as their adaptability to various situations.

There are 2 different ways where such mobility programs can be taken to a higher level. One would be to become member of bigger networks such as Association of Commonwealth Universities or more regional networks such as the Indo-French Academic Alliance or the Balkan Universities Network etc. In these types of networks, each university is independent and contributes and receives equally from the network itself. If the international department of the university is proactive, then it’s possible to create new partnerships with other members of the network, which can be leveraged for student mobility, faculty mobility as well as for research collaborations. In this system, the university must be proactive and requires constant effort, but the overall results can help the students to have access to hundreds of universities. However, the main problem with these associations or alliances is that each university is fully independent and thus again student mobility depends on each member’s willingness, though bureaucracy between the association member is usually very low, which allows for greater mobility.

One of the most important players in the world higher education system is the university partner networks such as Laureates International or GUS Higher Education Systems. These are large conglomerates, where several universities from various countries have come together under a single leadership to create a large university system that behaves as a single unit and creates partnerships between its members. These types of networks also try to leverage the strengths of their various members to create a stronger system within their members as well as in their overall network.

However, one such problem that large university conglomerates such as Laureates and GUS face is the fact that while these networks are very strong in leveraging their internal members, they are usually deficient in creating proper student mobility platforms between their internal members as well as with external universities. For example, none of these international university networks have special digital platforms to organize and coordinate student mobility as a system between their members as well as with outside partners. Usually each member university through their own international department will create their own partnerships (with another network institution or with outside); but since no centralized international center exists, there won’t be dedicated or focused efforts to maximize the opportunities for students. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the world’s largest university network Laureates International was not able to leverage these opportunities to grow and ended up downsizing its network. Same can be said for other networks such as GUS and BAU and others, as they also don’t seem to have this centralized system for student mobility within and outside their own networks. Perhaps in the future, if these networks also utilize such centralized systems and repositories for mobility, it may be possible for them to grow again.

One of the best examples of a proper centralized student mobility network can be given as ISEP (International Student Exchange Program). ISEP has been around for more than 40 years (much longer than many university networks such as Laureates or Balkan Universities Network etc.) and while they have been initially funded partially by the US Government, now they have become a private, independent body with over 350+ members. Any student within the ISEP network can go to any of these 350+ institutions under various modes including zero tuition fee, zero accommodation fee etc. All of this has created an ever-growing network and unlike many of the examples above, there is a central digital repository and coordination center that places each student to the destination of their choice. Through ISEP, thousands of students have experienced academic and cultural mobility programs and as a result, have received an appreciation and understanding of global citizenship while advancing their academic agenda at the same time.

Without a doubt, international student mobility is one of the most important components of higher education and it will contribute to overall global advancement of knowledge and understanding. Especially in technical education, having a different perspective by having a student mobility experience in another country can have immense positive consequences for that particular student. Hence, each university and its corresponding network should make the utmost effort for allowing students to have opportunities for mobility. Unfortunately, still many universities and networks still hasn’t understood the importance of this concept; but luckily with ever increasing awareness of students, it will become more and more paramount for these organizations to make a best case effort for true and free student mobility.

There are 2 different ways where such mobility programs can be taken to a higher level. One would be to become member of bigger networks such as Association of Commonwealth Universities or more regional networks such as the Indo-French Academic Alliance or the Balkan Universities Network etc. In these types of networks, each university is independent and contributes and receives equally from the network itself. If the international department of the university is proactive, then it’s possible to create new partnerships with other members of the network, which can be leveraged for student mobility, faculty mobility as well as for research collaborations. In this system, the university must be proactive and requires constant effort, but the overall results can help the students to have access to hundreds of universities. However, the main problem with these associations or alliances is that each university is fully independent and thus again student mobility depends on each member’s willingness, though bureaucracy between the association member is usually very low, which allows for greater mobility.

One of the most important players in the world higher education system is the university partner networks such as Laureates International or GUS Higher Education Systems. These are large conglomerates, where several universities from various countries have come together under a single leadership to create a large university system that behaves as a single unit and creates partnerships between its members. These types of networks also try to leverage the strengths of their various members to create a stronger system within their members as well as in their overall network.

However, one such problem that large university conglomerates such as Laureates and GUS face is the fact that while these networks are very strong in leveraging their internal members, they are usually deficient in creating proper student mobility platforms between their internal members as well as with external universities. For example, none of these international university networks have special digital platforms to organize and coordinate student mobility as a system between their members as well as with outside partners. Usually each member university through their own international department will create their own partnerships (with another network institution or with outside); but since no centralized international center exists, there won’t be dedicated or focused efforts to maximize the opportunities for students. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the world’s largest university network Laureates International was not able to leverage these opportunities to grow and ended up downsizing its network. Same can be said for other networks such as GUS and BAU and others, as they also don’t seem to have this centralized system for student mobility within and outside their own networks. Perhaps in the future, if these networks also utilize such centralized systems and repositories for mobility, it may be possible for them to grow again.

One of the best examples of a proper centralized student mobility network can be given as ISEP (International Student Exchange Program). ISEP has been around for more than 40 years (much longer than many university networks such as Laureates or Balkan Universities Network etc.) and while they have been initially funded partially by the US Government, now they have become a private, independent body with over 350+ members. Any student within the ISEP network can go to any of these 350+ institutions under various modes including zero tuition fee, zero accommodation fee etc. All of this has created an ever-growing network and unlike many of the examples above, there is a central digital repository and coordination center that places each student to the destination of their choice. Through ISEP, thousands of students have experienced academic and cultural mobility programs and as a result, have received an appreciation and understanding of global citizenship while advancing their academic agenda at the same time.

Without a doubt, international student mobility is one of the most important components of higher education and it will contribute to overall global advancement of knowledge and understanding. Especially in technical education, having a different perspective by having a student mobility experience in another country can have immense positive consequences for that particular student. Hence, each university and its corresponding network should make the utmost effort for allowing students to have opportunities for mobility. Unfortunately, still many universities and networks still hasn’t understood the importance of this concept; but luckily with ever increasing awareness of students, it will become more and more paramount for these organizations to make a best case effort for true and free student mobility.

Note: The author is an international professor and an education consultant for several years and he can be contacted at www.drguven.com and further knowledge about student exchange can be read at https://student-exchange.org/

Keywords: international student mobility, student exchange, student international, international internships

Tags: #studentmobility #mobility #studentexchange #laureates #GUS #IndoFrenchAlliance

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-international-student-mobility-platforms-university-guven/?trackingId=6NopOUQGR%2BeBOWAZ%2FA6WWQ%3D%3D

 

 

Student Exchange Blog for Students Looking for International Student Exchange

I recommend the following blog for general questions about student exchange and student mobility and international internship applications. Student Mobility can be a great opportunity for students to have international exposure and to strengthen their CVs

https://student-exchange.org/category/blog/