Conclusions: Student's experiences
Publisert: 07.mar 2018
Endret: 07.mar 2018
Success criteria (5+) for equity: successful international student mobility
In summary, according to the students who participated in this study and the disability coordinators who compiled the country reports, there are five success criteria for equity in international student mobility:
- Accessible and sufficient information about international mobility and HEIs’ accessibility and support services, and careful preparation well in advance
- Collaboration between international offices and accessibility/disability coordinators both at home and host HEIs
- Sufficient funding to cover additional costs (medical care, therapies, assistants, equipment)
- Accessibility of all aspects at host HEIs
- Role models or student ambassadors: mobile students with disabilities
More suggestions are brought to the table by both disability experts and students.
1. Accessible and sufficient information about international mobility and HEIs’ accessibility and support services, and careful preparation well in advance
- HEIs’ websites with information about accessibility, services, equipment available, guidance on flexibility in teaching and learning, and contact persons for students with disabilities.
- Possibilities to check issues related to accessibility of studies and environments, flexible options for completing courses.
- Ways of including study credits done abroad (at host university) in degrees at home university.
- Knowledge of additional funding options, such as accessibility or special support grants.
- Creating a contact between the contact persons at home and host HEIs before mobility.
- Database: a regularly updated international data base offering comparison of available services and support at HEIs and countries for persons with disabilities, and experiences (rating) of persons with disabilities.
2. Collaboration between international offices and accessibility/disability coordinators at HEIs
- Joint planning of international mobility together with students to check and document their specific needs for support and assisting students to inform (host) HEIs.
- Ensuring that teachers and coordinators of study programmes at host HEIs understand the identified needs for support, such as being flexible with pedagogical arrangements, allowing additional time for completing studies, providing or assisting in finding accessible accommodation and using transport.
- Advising students in how to apply for funding to cover additional costs, e.g. assistance, therapies and medical care.
- Connecting students with mobile students who know the host HEI environment.
- Finding ways to integrate of the mobility in study programmes.
- Ensuring teachers at home HEI know about the equal right to international mobility.
- Connecting students who think about mobility with those students who have successfully participated in international mobility.
- Host HEIs’ provision of student tutors (to assist with practical matters, studies and social contacts) and study guidance (to find ways of participating in relevant courses).
3. Sufficient funding to cover additional costs
- Accessibility (or special) grants cover all necessary additional costs, such as assistance, therapies, medical care, interpretation, equipment and transport.
- Some students with disabilities prefer Nordic countries on the basis of similarities in cultures, languages, health and medical care, human rights and accessibility in education. Students with disabilities have the equal right to international mobility but due to health conditions some prefer alternative options, e.g. short-term mobility (may improve mobility of majority of students, i.e. all those who think but do not participate in mobility).
- Nordic countries or HEIs may negotiate to experiment short-term mobility and assess its influence in general and, in particular, for mobility of students with disabilities.
4. Accessibility of all aspects at host HEIs
- Host HEIs’ accessibility, support services and especially the availability of contact persons who advise students as well as host HEI’s staff, and solve potential problems are very important.
- Depending on individual needs, various issues are emphasised by students: accessibility of accommodation, transport, study facilities and environments, materials, equipment, availability of assistance (guides, readers), interpretation services, medical care and therapies.
- Pedagogical accessibility and teachers’ knowledge and support are needed.
- Getting to know other students and people in the host country as well as active participation in student life, leisure time and social activities are mentioned by many students.
5. Mobility ambassadors: mobile students with disabilities
- Erasmus+ student ambassadors, some with disabilities, who visit HEIs and meet students encourage students to participate.
- Both students and HEIs benefit from student ambassadors, i.e. mobile students with disabilities who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
- Practical and personal experiences of other students’ interest students who think about international mobility.
- A Nordic forum for sharing of knowledge and information among students could offer recommendations, motivation, accessibility and support services, financing, study systems, situation of persons with disabilities in host countries and good timing of mobility (in relation to studies and host HEIs’ programmes).
Barriers (5+) defined through the analysis across the different data sets
The biggest group of respondents are those students who have thought about mobility but not studied abroad.
- Lack of information about accessibility and support services in host HEIs as well as accessibility grants (or additional funding).
- Lack of encouragement.
- Most students did not know any student with disabilities who had studied abroad.
- Checking and arranging practical matters required big efforts, e.g. accommodation, transport, support services, assistants, interpreters, accessibility of studies and learning environments.
- Lack of sufficient funding to cover additional costs.
- Health conditions that limited possibilities to spend long time abroad.