International credit mobility: a focus on outcomes and impact in working together with Partner countries higher education institutions

Prof. Maria Stoicheva

Jean Monnet Chair

Functional Rector for International Relations and Doctoral School

Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014-2020. Recently we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Erasmus Programme. For 30 years the Erasmus Progamme, funded by the European Union, has enabled over three million European students to spend part of their studies in another higher education institution elsewhere in Europe. Erasmus+ has opened up these opportunities, allowing for mobility from other parts of the world to “Programme Countries” [1], and for outgoing mobility for European students to go to “Partner Countries” [2]. Credit mobility, as it is referred to, supports a limited period of study or traineeship abroad for the purpose of gaining credits, which is recognized as part of their studies in their home institution after the mobility phase. It offers a number of opportunities for higher education students, doctoral candidates, staff and higher education institutions (HEIs) from around the world that have concluded an inter-institutional agreement with European HEIs.

Sofia University St Kiment Ohridski is the first school of higher education in Bulgaria. It is the only Bulgarian University in the international rankings and has a recognized top position in the rating of high academic institutions from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Sofia University has long standing cooperation with higher education institutions in countries worldwide and the opportunities provided by the international cooperation funding programme with partner countries are beneficial in deepening and expanding collaboration and promoting high quality Bulgarian higher education and research throughout the world. Sofia University has implemented three projects under Erasmus+ Key Action 1 Mobility of students and staff in higher education between Programme and Partner countries in the past two years. There are 132 realized incoming and outgoing mobilities under the first project with partner countries higher education institutions (Albania, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Korea, Nepal, Serbia, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam and Mexico). The second and the third mobility projects are in process of implementation with a duration till 2019. The mobilities already realized and planned cover 10 countries for the second project (Albania, Israel, Korea, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritius, Sudan, Senegal, Serbia and Japan) and 19 countries for the third project (Australia, Albania, Bosna and Hercegovina, Brazil, China, Cabo Verde, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Russia, Tunisia, Serbia, Ukraine and Vietnam).

We focus on the potential impact of the project on participants, beneficiaries, partner organisations, at local, national and international levels including measures for evaluating the outcomes of the activities and promoting the results of the mobility project. Of particular importance for the doctoral students and young researchers from partner countries higher education institutions taking part in the mobility projects is improving their publication record and in providing visibility on the research projects they have been working on during their funded mobility periods. This supports their career and professional development and can effectively create visibility of the valuable contribution of the Erasmus+ mobility programme for capacity building and expanding cooperation in the area of higher education.

This special issue of the electronic journal Rhetoric and Communication has been prepared entirely by the collaborative efforts of young researchers from Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski and young researchers and doctoral students from partner countries as an important outcome of our work. The papers are selected and discussed extensively, they are peer-reviewed, passed the journal internal review procedures and demonstrate a valuable and tangible outcome for all researchers involved. Among those who do not figure as authors in this special issue I should mention Prof. Ivanka Mavrodieva, Dr. Nikolina Tsvetkova, and Dr. Darin Drossev, Erasmus+ mobility participants whose contribution is invaluable and highly appreciated.

Working together also contributes to raising participants’ awareness and understanding of other cultures and countries to offering them the opportunity to build networks of international contacts. For Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski and for the higher education institutions from our partner countries this publication opens new perspectives for future cooperation and promotes the international dimension of higher education, boosting its attractiveness and capacity building aspects.

References:

[1] “Programme Countries” – 28 EU Member States + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey.

[2] “Partner Countries” – All other countries worldwide.

  • Научното електронното списание „Реторика и комуникации” започва да се издава като част от дейностите по проект № 167 от 2011 г., НИС, СУ „Св. Климент Охридски” „Особености на академичната комуникация в интернет (Уеб 2.0): писане и публикуване в научни електронни списания”.
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