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Perceptions of European Higher Education in Third Countries


January 2004 - December 2005


British Council, EduFrance, Nuffic, DAAD and Gesellschaft für Empirische Studien (GES)


This one-year project investigated 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 were 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).

The online version of the student survey was open to students from all world regions until 1 July 2005. ACA would like to thank again all those students who participated in the survey.

The major share of the work on this project was carried out by the ACA Secretariat, in conjunction with the offices of the ACA members British Council, EduFrance, Nuffic, and DAAD in the countries included in the study. Friedhelm Maiworm, a German social scientist specialised in large-scale empirical surveys, was in charge of data processing and statistical analysis.