How to reduce the obstacles of student mobility


How to reduce the obstacles of student mobility

Increasing student mobility is a target for most of the higher education organizations. The Bologna Process aims for that at least 20% of students include a mobility period as part of their studies. Student mobility is supported by national and international levels but still, most of those students who have thought about studying abroad don’t. Exchange study period surely is a fruitful experience and organization can get advantageous contacts via exchange students and staff, also some of the universities ranking lists use mobility as one of the evaluating factors. There are many valuable reasons to increase mobility, so the big question is how to reduce obstacles against student mobility?

Main obstacles to study abroad

The Eurostudent’s survey from the year 2016 researched the main obstacles for student mobility. Order of reasons varies slightly depending on the country.

The highest obstacles were equal in every country.

  • Financial concerns
  • Social networks

Financial concerns and worry about own financial situation during the exchange period are the highest reasons why students don’t go on an exchange period. Better knowledge about financial support can reduce these concerns.

Social networks at home and worry being apart of loved ones during the exchange period can be a more complicated issue to tackle. But the possibility to take shorter mobility periods might help those who are worried about their social relationships at home. 

In the survey, many respondents mentioned a lack of information and limited admittance to mobility program as reasons why they didn’t apply for the exchange period. In Finland, only 14 percent mentioned this reason but in general, the percentage was 22. Different digital solutions make it easier to share information about ways to get financial support and how to integrate mobility period as part of own studies, and student mobility in general. When the application process is well defined and digitalized, the important human resources can be directed to essential guidance and counseling work.


Make it easy, simplify the process

Even if the financial issues are in good hands and friends and family offer their support, there can still be issues regarding the exchange period which can worry and sound too complicated. Student mobility might rise a fear of bureaucracy, and maybe not without a reason.

In the Eurostudent survey, bureaucracy wasn’t listed but for example, in students’ stories, it is mentioned as a worrying issue. Students feedback from their mobility experiences tells that the application process can be time-consuming and difficult, and for this reason, the process might get interrupted or not even get started.

Some organizations still demand paper documents with wet signatures as a part of their application process. When applications and related documents can be handled digitally the whole process is made safer and faster. Documents don’t get lost and the application is easy to research if more information is needed. Digital application process helps also organization members who handle documents and make decisions. When all necessary information is available in the same place the whole process turnaround is faster and saved time can spend more wisely.


Three key points to support student mobility

  1. Motivate students early enough. Tell about financial support when they are not yet planning to go.
  2. Make mobility process easy and reduce time-wasting bureaucracy with digitalization.
  3. Concentrate on your main task, counsel students during their studies and mobility process.

Reducing obstacles increases student mobility. Some of obstacles can be minimized with digitalization and simplifying the process. If you want to hear more about how digitalization can simplify mobility come to meet us at booth G13 in the EAIE Conference 2018 in Geneva.


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Maura Zitting
Maura Zitting