Short-term mobility, long-term impact: inclusive international opportunities of less than four weeks

Report International
24 June 2021

Supported by case studies and focus groups drawn from universities across the UK, this report reviews impact and benefits of short-term mobility programmes and identifies models of good practice. 

This report:

              • sets out what attracts students to short-term international mobility
              • identifies existing barriers to participation 
              •  generates ideas to increase participation in mobility activities
              • makes recommendations to support universities in developing and implementing effective strategies and best practice for short-term programmes 

Experiences abroad which last less than an academic term, typically between one week and two months, are considered as short-term mobility. This research has specifically looked at mobility experiences of four weeks or less. 

The report can be viewed and downloaded here.

The analysis is based primarily on information obtained through student focus groups and surveys, along with institutional data used to map current participation and impacts. In addition, the report presents institutional perspectives on short-term mobility through a series of 16 case studies, sharing good practice and lessons learned. 

The short-term mobility, long-term impact report is delivered by Universities UK International (UUKi), with guidance from a Steering Group, chaired by Professor Alex Hughes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement and Employability at the University of Westminster. Members of the Steering Group include representatives from Universities UK (UUK) and from the co-funders of the report, the Northern Consortium and the British Council, along with other higher education experts.  

UUKi would like to thank the project Steering Group, funders, and all universities and students who contributed to the report. 

In a foreword to the report, Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP Former Universities Minister and Co-Chair of the All Party Group on Universities noted: 'Study placements do not have to be lengthy to provide these moments of inspiration that after all can have an impact of a lifetime. The challenge for us all in the higher education community is ensuring that as many students as possible get to experience these opportunities, and to have an equal chance to share the wonderful and memorable fulfilment, no matter how short, that studying abroad can deliver.'

Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International said: ‘Our aim is for universities to learn from the findings and best practice presented in the report and make the most of the benefits presented by short-term mobility to ensure that any student, no matter their background, can participate in an international experience. To support this aim, we encourage the UK government to consider these findings, and the impact demonstrated, in their review of the UK’s Turing Scheme.’ 

Professor Alexandra Hughes, Deputy Vice Chancellor Global Engagement and Employability, University of Westminster, and Chair of the project’s steering group said: ‘The importance of graduates with a global perspective cannot be overstated. We already know that international experiences do not and should not look the same for all students. This project tells us that shorter programmes which fit around existing commitments allow students who may not otherwise have considered a period abroad to take one up. It also tells us that taking up such global opportunities can lead to employment, greater confidence and increased international engagement.’ 

The press release for the report can be read here.

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