Study in Europe: how is cross-continent campaign doing?

Can a pan-European initiative bring in more students and help them make informed choices about universities?

September 19, 2016
Ljubljana provincial mansion
Source: iStock
Study in Europe aims to attract students to institutions right across the continent such as the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia shown here

The European Union has long been committed to a policy of promoting “global awareness of the high quality and the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of European higher education”.

Since 2014, a central tool has been Study in Europe. This initiative produces promotional material, offers expert guidance, organises real and virtual education fairs and hosts a one-stop portal on the EU’s official Europa website designed to drive traffic towards national sites.

A session at the European Association for International Education conference in Liverpool set out to explore the “results and lessons” so far “from a 33-country collaboration”.

Study in Europe chair Adrian Veale – who works at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture – explained to Times Higher Education that the aim of the initiative is to “make Europe a more attractive and better-known destination for students” from elsewhere.

It is funded by the Erasmus+ programme and includes all 28 member states as well as three in the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) and two candidates for membership of the EU that have been willing to pay to be part of the initiative (Macedonia and Turkey).

All are being promoted as potential study destinations, said Mr Veale, through “a number of activities to get European universities better known”.

There have already been live fairs in South Africa and South Korea this year, with two planned for Ecuador and Peru later this month. Virtual fairs should follow in North America, Russia, Nigeria and elsewhere. Each gives national promotion agencies and sometimes individual universities the chance to display their wares.

“There is no common ‘European-ness’ in higher education we can sell,” admitted Mr Veale, so Study in Europe is “about raising the visibility of the entire range”. This should help potential students make comparisons about quality, fees level (which some parents, rightly or wrongly, tend to associate with quality), specialisations and value for money.

Yet in reality this is likely to be particularly effective in “providing a platform for countries which do not benefit from the resources and experience of the worldwide network of bigger countries. The British Council, DAAD [Germany’s academic exchange programme] and Campus France, for example, have extensive networks and do a lot of their own promotion.”

Those from Slovenia or Sweden being exhibited alongside them may well benefit disproportionately from the exposure, which Mr Veale believed is likely to “raise awareness of universities without current brand recognition, but with good track records or very good specialisation records”.

As of today, the Study in Europe initiative showcases all the major European states except for Switzerland. But, although this is unlikely to be a central issue in the Brexit negotiations, would a Britain outside the EU still be able to participate?

“The British university sector is adamant it should remain within European programmes such as Erasmus+,” responded Mr Veale, “and the mechanics for that do exist, for example in the case of Norway. It would be feasible for Britain too to continue to be part of Erasmus+ and therefore part of Study in Europe.”

matthew.reisz@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: How is pan-European campaign doing in enticing students?

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Deputy Chief Examiner for Spanish ab initio INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE
Deputy Chief Examiner for Music INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE
Deputy Chief Examiner for Visual Arts INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE
Deputy Chief Examiner for Mathematics HL INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (8 September 2016)

Some lecturers will rightly encourage forms of student interaction that are impossible for those covering their faces, Eric Heinze argues

University of Oxford students walking on campus

University of Oxford snatches top spot from Caltech in this year’s World University Rankings as Asia’s rise continues

Handwritten essay on table

Universities must pay more attention to the difficulties faced by students, says Daniel Dennehy

Theresa May entering 10 Downing Street, London

The prospect of new grammar schools on the horizon raises big questions for HE, writes Nick Hillman

Nosey man outside window

Head of UK admissions service Mary Curnock Cook addresses concerns that universities might ‘not hear a word’ from applicants