Erasmus Policy Statement
The strategic goal of Euroacademy, according to the institution’s development plan, is “to integrate Euroacademy into the international network of universities so that it would become a significant HEI in Estonia with international membership oriented towards the European Union and internationally recognised in the field of education, research and development.”
For this purpose it is necessary:
- To consider in the curriculum development process the need to prepare students for work in an international environment.
- To inspire and encourage students to participate in mobility programmes and international intensive projects.
- To expand the range of courses offered in a foreign language and to encourage students to participate therein.
- To promote international communication among our students not participating in the mobility programmes through increasing the number of foreign students and lecturers.
- To increase the international experience of lecturers and staff by means of short-term teaching and working visits and through participation in international scientific events.
- To expand the circle of partners with a view of launching joint curricula.
- To find partners for joint research and development projects.
The Erasmus programme has an important role to play in achieving these objectives. Participation in the Programme has expanded opportunities for the whole institution. It has influenced our international cooperation via the new partnerships and has given an opportunity to familiarise our students and teaching staff with different working environments and conditions. The main target group of the mobility activities is the first cycle students participating in study mobility. A few master students have also participated in studies abroad, though not under the Programme. Throughout the years, the students of the Faculty of Design have been the most active. The students majoring in design comprise approximately 40 percent of Euroacademy’s total number of students and more than 70 percent of exchange students. One challenge is to increase the percentage of students studying in the field of humanities and social sciences among the Erasmus students. There are different reasons for their lower interest, but the most important factor is a high proportion of employed students who cannot stay away from home for a longer period. As of the academic year 2013/14, the Expanded Erasmus Charter shall enter into force and we hope to increase the number of mobility students also by means of foreign traineeships.
Within the framework of the Programme, we currently have cooperation agreements with thirteen HEIs in seven countries. In addition, we have partners in non-participating countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. The primary condition in the choice of partners is the similarity of curricula. In case the initiative comes from the outside, the representative of the faculty and Erasmus Coordinator assess the suitability of a potential partner. This is done by scrutinising the respective curriculum and the courses offered for exchange students. The Euroacademy’s initiative for cooperation usually begins at the faculty. After the proposal expressed by a lecturer or student, the Programme’s contact person familiarises with the background of the potential partner. If the partner is considered appropriate, the Erasmus Coordinator begins negotiations for the conclusion of a co-operation agreement. Considering the regions, Euroacademy has taken into account our students’ higher interest in the southern part of Europe – more than a half of our partner universities are located there. Among the nearby countries, we have the greatest number of partners in Latvia. Although the students’ interest in HEIs in Latvia is quite lukewarm and the country is rarely the first choice for exchange studies, it is a popular destination country for lecturers.
The objectives of mobility activities as an important component of higher education internationalization in Euroacademy are as follows:
- To increase the number of outgoing students every year by at least two students. A long term objective is to raise the proportion of students with foreign experience (either study or placement) to at least 3% of the total number of students.
- To increase the number of incoming students. With this aim in view, to diversify the range of courses in the English language and to invite more foreign lecturers.
- To find a means to stimulate the participation of lecturers and staff in mobility programmes.
- To strengthen cooperation with partners with a view of designing joint curricula in the long term perspective.
- To expand international contacts and to sign new institutional agreements for both study and placement mobility.
- To increase participation in intensive programmes and multilateral projects.