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ACA Papers: The Professional Value of ERASMUS Mobility. The Impact of International Experience on Former Students' and on Teachers' Careers

Kerstin Janson, Harald Schomburg and Ulrich Teichler. Bonn: Lemmens, 2009. ISBN 978-3-932306-96-9

Since 1987,  the European mobility programme ERASMUS enabled over two million students to study in another European country. The programme was and remains a success story. After a series of comprehensive evaluation studies the European Commission initiated a study on the impact of ERASMUS, notably on the subsequent careers of formerly mobile students and teachers. This study, called ‘The Professional Value of ERASMUS’ (VALERA), points out a paradox of continuity and change.

The immediate value of the ERASMUS experience for students seems to be unchanged: the eye-opening value of a contrasting learning experience in another European country. But former ERASMUS students of the academic year 2000 report a less impressive career impact five years later than prior generations of ERASMUS students did. The authors of the study argue that internationalisation in general has progressed in Europe so much that the ERASMUS experience is bound to loose its exceptionality over time. They draw the conclusion that more ambitious curricular thrusts might be needed to turn a temporary study period abroad again into a clear ‘value added’. Finally, the study shows that temporary teaching abroad, though being a short activity in the midst of the career, is highly relevant for the academics’ subsequent professional activities.