Social inclusion is a priority for the next Erasmus programme, but very little hard data is available on the accessibility of the current programme and what measures could be put in place to improve access and participation. Students from less advantaged backgrounds and from underrepresented groups that go abroad tend to get better degree results, have lower unemployment rates, are more likely to start their career in graduate-level jobs and have a higher starting salary than their non-mobile peers. However, while they stand to gain from this experience, these students are underrepresented in mobility, with only 7% of Erasmus students coming from a disadvantaged or underrepresented group.
In response to this, ESN has launched the ‘Social Inclusion and Engagement in Mobility’ project. The project is a collaborative cross-European partnership between ESN, UUKi and the European University Foundation,YES Forum, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BE), University of Vigo (ES), Masaryk University (CZ), University of Latvia (LV), ESN Spain (ES) and ESN France (FR)
This project is an important step toward making international mobility opportunities more inclusive, enabling students from all backgrounds to study, work or volunteer abroad. The ultimate goal of higher education in general, and studying abroad in specific, is to shape a generation of Europeans that transcend traditional cultural beliefs, who embrace cultural differences and endorse mutual intercultural understanding to shape a united society that offers space to everyone.
Widening Participation: Increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the Erasmus programme in order to make the international student mobility more inclusive.
Community Engagement: Encourage Erasmus students and student organisations to organise volunteer initiatives in order to reach out to the local community in order to increase intercultural exchange.
Peer-to-Peer Interaction: Increase the interaction between international students and local communities of underrepresented groups and visibility of international student mobility.