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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all

Mobility and cooperation

Towards enhanced mobility and cooperation in higher education

Learning mobility is an opportunity for students to develop valuable skills and to expand their horizons by going abroad to study or undertake training. The benefits of mobility are widely recognised. A survey among young Europeans aged between 15 and 30 years shows that more than 90% of them consider it important to have opportunities for mobility experiences. 

European ministers have agreed to double the proportion of students in higher education completing a study or training period abroad to 20 percent by 2020. Support for mobility remains a core focus of Erasmus+, the European Union's programme for education and training. 

If you are a student ready to seize the opportunity to study or train abroad, start your journey by downloading the Erasmus+ Mobile App, your step-by-step guide for mobility experiences, before, during and after the mobility period.

Why is mobility and cooperation in higher education important?

Going abroad to study or to train helps people to develop their professional, social and intercultural skills, as well as enhancing their employability. Higher education students who undertake a mobility period abroad are more likely to find employment one year after graduation. 

93% of these students report that they have a greater appreciation for the value of other cultures after their mobility period. 91% improve their language skills and 80% feel that their problem-solving skills improved following a mobility period. 

According to Erasmus+ impacts studies, the benefits of mobility and cooperation in Higher Education within the EU and beyond are manifold. 

The first Erasmus Impact Study, 9 out of 10 employers are looking for transferrable skills, such as problem-solving, the ability to work as part of a team and curiosity, when recruiting. These are the very same competences that students gain from a mobility experience abroad. 

The follow up Erasmus+ Higher Education Impact Study further demonstrated the positive impact of a mobility period on students. Over 70% of former Erasmus+ students say that they have a better understanding of what they want to do in their future careers when they return from abroad. 80% were employed within three months of graduation and 72% said their experience abroad helped them get their first job. 

The Erasmus+ Higher Education Strategic Partnerships and Knowledge Alliances Impact Study found that Erasmus+ cooperation projects make the majority of participating universities better prepared for digital transformation. Moreover, two out of three participating universities stated EU-wide projects contribute to increasing social inclusion and non-discrimination in higher education. 

Mobility and cross-border cooperation can also help bridge skills gaps by boosting specific skills needed in the modern labour market. One such example of cooperation is the Digital Opportunity traineeship initiative, which aims to give students from all disciplines of study the opportunity to gain hands-on digital experiences. 

Developing new forms of cross-border cooperation will help to improve the quality of higher education and to facilitate the recognition of academic qualifications gained abroad.

What is the EU doing to support mobility and cooperation?

The European Higher Education Area has brought about far-reaching changes which make it easier to study and train abroad. Both the bachelor-master-doctorate structure and advances in quality assurance have facilitated student and staff mobility, and strengthened higher education institutions and systems. 

The use of European mobility and quality assurance tools, such as the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), the Diploma Supplement and the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) facilitates mutual trust, academic recognition, and mobility.  

The Erasmus+ programme provides direct support to people wishing to study or train abroad and to projects fostering cross-border cooperation between higher education institutions. However, there is still more to be done to ensure learning mobility opportunities for all. 

For this reason, the Commission has published a proposal for a Council Recommendation on promoting automatic mutual recognition of diplomas and the outcomes of learning periods abroad.  

The Commission is also supporting the European Student Card Initiative, which will facilitate the exchange of student information, and the creation of alliances of European Universities, which aim to increase competitiveness, quality and excellence in teaching, research and innovation.