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Navigating slowly recovering student mobility amid rising demands for global competence

While student mobility has started to recover since being halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Finland’s mobility figures are still far behind the pre-pandemic peak years. The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) expresses concern about this trend, seeing the rising demand for international competence across all sectors and student mobility as a key means of its development. 

In terms of mobility, it has also been recognised that universities and universities of applied sciences are developing in different directions. At universities, long-term mobility remains central, while short-term mobility prevails at UAS, with lower quantitative participation. 

Several other phenomena are visible in the landscape of Finnish higher education student mobility, reflecting shifting preferences and evolving opportunities: 

  • The increasing popularity of short-term mobility, especially in Finnish UAS, is reinforced by the forms of financial support offered by the current Erasmus+ programme. 
  • In 2023, Finland hosted more incoming than outgoing exchange students. 
  • Significant differences in mobility exist between different fields of study. 
  • Outgoing student mobility to Asia is gradually increasing, with Europe still remaining the most popular destination 
  • Additionally, blended mobility is on the rise, in which the physical period abroad is supplemented by virtual studies completed in the student’s country of origin. 

Considering the autonomy and strong independent agency of Finnish HEIs, the keys to increasing student mobility largely rest within their control. Crucial measures identified by management groups include flexible curricula, effective study recognition, timely guidance, encouragement, and integrating international mobility into strategic cooperation. 

Read more in EDUFI's recent article.