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Higher education student and staff mobility project
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In the academic year 2015/2016 the Università della Valle d'Aosta - Université de la Vallée d'Aoste launched a project within the framework of the Erasmus + Programme KA 103. At the very beginning the project was meant to cover 38 mobility activities (14 for studies, 20 for traineeship, 2 for teaching and 2 for training). The University has successfully completed 62 mobility activities (21 for studies and 41 for traineeship), thus surpassing the expected goals. Our institution is often referred to as a "University boasting strong international links". We firmly believe that the driving force behind progress and the enhancement of knowledge goes through cooperation, especially with foreign partners, and that the Erasmus project represents a key asset in our internationalisation strategy. Our network of foreign partnerships is constantly growing. Currently Erasmus bilateral agreements operate with 35 countries (one of these only concerns staff mobility). During the last academic year our University concluded 4 further agreements, two of which with new foreign institutions. Bilingualism and the natural international vocation of our Region (at the crossroads of Europe) surely make it easier to conclude and extend agreements and partnerships particularly in the French-speaking area. However, the analysis of mobility activities carried out this year in 11 different countries (Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, United Kingdom, Belgium and Turkey), seems to indicate that internationalization does not rely only on the language bond but also on 'teaching affinities', the prestige and the location of the partner institutions, all of which encourage high quality international experiences. The excellent quantitative and qualitative results were achieved thanks to the 'one-to one' relationship with participants, which is a specific feature of our University. Both the Erasmus academic coordinators assigned to each degree course and the Bursary and Mobility Office staff pay great attention to every participant's needs in all mobility steps (before, during and after the mobility). We actually assist them from the moment they apply until the end of their experience, including the recognition of their activities. Equal attention is given to the 'incoming students', especially during their mobility. We welcome and guide them all along their stay in Italy, so that they can get the most of it. In addition to the help offered by the administrative and teaching staff, former Erasmus students can provide support in the event of difficulties. Our long-time experience in organizing international internships reflects in the high number of mobility activities for traineeship carried out so far and in their constant increase. From a financial point of view, it is worth pointing out that the University pays an Italian language class for foreign students from its own budget. Furthermore, in order to be able to fund all of the outgoing mobility activities, the University has especially allocated ministerial funds for a total amount of EUR 32.286,67 (an additional sum corresponding to 46% of the European funds devoted to the project mobility). The positive development of the activities undertaken by the University is also testified by the high percentages of success (in terms of academic results achieved by the participants) and the overall satisfaction repeatedly underlined in the individual Reports. The Project has a great impact on the participants, in that it enhances both their linguistic and academic competences and their intercultural and relational skills. These achievements broaden the opportunities for future work collaborations for students, many of whom are already pursuing their experiences abroad. The Programme enriches the courses offered by our University, raises the quality of higher education and hence the level of qualification of our graduates. In a medium to long term perspective, this will have a positive effect on the Valle d'Aosta Region, where graduates will start their working career. Finally, a new 'Erasmus Generation' is arising from international mobility students, a generation with a sound and critical European spirit which will contribute to strengthening the sense of European citizenship.

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