International strategies

Success factors and challenges in overseas mobility

Based on questionnaire for the participating colleges
Purpose of this summary is comparing strategies of internationalization in VET in Canada, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Furthermore, finding good practices and challenges in implementation of existing mobility in partner countries emphasizing overseas mobility. With this questionnaire we collected valuable information for the BTO-toolkit.

Guidelines for internationalization in VET

In Europe there is no official national guidelines for internationalization in VET. However, National Agency of Education promotes internationalization with support, informing the financing possibilities and moreover, participating in different international projects and networks. This can be seen as national guideline. In Canada, according to this questionnaire, there is no national guidelines for internationalization of VET.

International activities
There was also collected information about what kind of international activities is implemented in participating organizations. Based on the answers, all partners have student and staff mobility in their college. Moreover, hosting international students and staff and international development projects is every-day activities. As difference comparing to European partners is noticed that Canadian colleges have international students in certificate and diploma programs.

According to this survey, mobilities work well due to committed participants and good pre-work including also predeparture preparation. Good and stable partnerships are very important to ensure high quality mobilities and high impact of learning outcomes and objectives. In addition, study abroad topic should be aligned to study programs of sending institution to ensure recognition of the studies. Working in networks is valuable for sharing the experience and knowledge, thus improving the global perspective, and understanding. Reciprocal mobility is often the key to long-lasting partnership.

Challenges in overseas mobility
Challenges in overseas mobility appears to be finding the right match of college for being able to offer the right subject on the right lever. Furthermore, challenge is to find the right possible time for the mobility-suitable for both colleges. The number of students is also important to agree about. This according to the possibilities it gives hosting and sending partners. It is relevant for the hosting partner due to the possibilities for accommodation and for including the students in the normal schedule, or to prepare a special program.

Finding the right students is essential – age and maturity, especially if they are travelling overseas by their own. Ensuring the valid insurances for the exchange periods is important. Economic issues should be taken into consideration, including that the oversea mobility is not too expensive to the students and staff. In addition, time difference can make the beginning of the exchange very challenging due to possible jet lack.

Best practices in overseas mobility
Best practices in overseas mobility were also found in the survey. A proper pre-departure training utilizing the students and staff who have experienced this kind of mobility. Solving the financial issues together and make an actual budget for the exchange to prevent the problems with financing. For the cultural aspect it was noted that homestay often offers the best opportunities to learn the local culture in the real family life.

Stable and long-term relationships is the corner stone of a best practice mobility, finding the right people and contacts and sharing a good match of expectations. Furthermore, utilizing Canada network experiences and the domestic partnership as working together, sharing the tasks to ease the workload. Together we achieve more!