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Perceptions of European Higher Education in Third Countries

This report is the outcome of an ACA project investigating the perception of European higher education in third (non-European) countries. “Perception” implies expectations of potential candidates, the perceived strengths and weaknesses of higher education in the European Union, limitations and obstacles, as well as the standing of the European Union in comparison with other destination countries like the US. The study resulted into recommendations to the European Commission, regarding the “image” of European higher education beyond Europe’s borders.

The ultimate aim of the project was to find out if, and in which way it would be possible to market European higher education (in addition to marketing efforts at programme, institutional and national level). To this end, large-scale surveys (on-line and paper) and interviews werel carried out with major target groups (students, pupils, parents, school teachers, teaching and research staff, administrative officers and policy-makers) in Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Russia and Thailand. These surveys identified the “perception” (positive and negative images) of European higher education of these target groups.  Another survey was carried out of international students at US institutions, investigating their reasons for choosing the US as a study destination (instead of Europe).