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Wissenschaft weltoffen 2013: Trends and developments in student mobility

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has just released Wissenschaft weltoffen 2013, its annual report with the most recent facts and figures on the international nature of academic study and scientific research in Germany. Started in 2001, Wissenschaft weltoffen is jointly prepared by the DAAD and the Institute for Research on Higher Education (HIS-HF) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Federal Foreign Office (AA). Similar to publications of other ACA members (i.e. IIE’s Open Doors), Wissenschaft weltoffen tracks the trends and developments in student mobility into and out of the country and provides the most comprehensive data source for the internationalisation of higher education and research in Germany. This year’s edition has a special focus on German students abroad, but also offers detailed data on foreign students in Germany, international mobility of students and the mobility of academics and researchers. Key findings show that:
  • in 2010, over 4.1 million students enrolled at higher education institutions abroad (twice as many as ten years ago);
  • the United States of America is the most popular destination, followed by the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France;
  • although the increase in foreign students enrolled at German higher education institutions in recent years has been relatively small, the number has reached a new peak in 2012 (over 265 000);
  • the largest single nationality groups at German universities come from China, Russia, Bulgaria and Poland;
  • one out of three German graduates has done a temporary study-related visit abroad during the course of his studies;
  • more and more German students complete a full degree abroad (127 000 in 2010, twice as many as ten years ago);
  • the structure of mobility itself has undergone changes: students go abroad much earlier and for shorter periods of time, and make use of the period between bachelor’s and master’s to gain international experience (“bridge mobility”).
Promoting international mobility, in particular among German students, is one of the key objectives of the German federal and state governments. Together with the DAAD, the aim is for every second German university graduate to gain a study-related experience abroad in the course of his studies (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, February 2013). Wissenschaft weltoffen