Mobility is regarded as a core element of internationalisation, because a stay abroad is a particularly effective way to acquire international and intercultural skills.
The aim is therefore to enable as many members of higher education institutions as pos-sible to experience such mobility. Finding your way and organising your life in an initially unknown environment is a valuable experience. For this reason, the aim is to increase participation in structured mobility programmes and to encourage and enhance mobility under existing partnerships between higher education institutions. As well as higher education students, this also applies in particular to teachers and higher education staff. The added value brought by teachers’ experiences of mobility also lies in the further development of their own teaching and in improving their foreign language skills. In the past, non-academic staff at higher education institutions have been somewhat ignored by measures designed to promote mobility. This is unfortunate in that they play an essential part in helping to shape the culture of a higher education institution and make a vital contribution to Internationalisation@Home.
Amongst higher education students – a heterogeneous group – even more focus will have to be placed in future on those who have so far been under-represented on the mobility front according to student social surveys. This includes all those higher education students who are already poorly represented when they enter higher education, such as those from low-education households, as well as groups of students with specific requirements, such as working students, students with caring responsibilities and students with a physical disability. As well as better advice on support options, these groups will also require more generous funding. In addition, the mobility figures are particularly low for student groups in certain disciplines, who could also be helped by introducing specific mobility windows in curricula.
Two other groups that should also gain more experience abroad as part of their education are trainee teachers and doctoral students. The former are especially important given the role they will play as multipliers in their future career. As soon-to-be teachers, they will be working in an increasingly diverse environment with many schoolchildren from a migration background. It is therefore particularly important for this group to experience mobility during their education in order to consolidate their intercultural skills and take a critical look at culture and society through their own and other people’s eyes.
Meanwhile, a stay abroad is important for doctoral students’ career development as it allows them to make new contacts and build up a professional network.
Besides the traditional semester abroad for higher education students, the range of high-quality, non-traditional forms of mobility – including shorter stays – must be expanded. These include internships relevant to a student’s degree, excursions, residential research trips as part of dissertations or theses, language learning courses, summer/winter schools, concert tours and masterclasses abroad. Shorter formats are more feasible, particularly for members of under-represented groups.