Benefits and challenges of outgoing student mobility in Ireland

In a new paper, Dr Aline Courtois examines the significance of outgoing student mobility in Ireland.

The paper, The Significance of International Student Mobility in Students’ Strategies at Third Level in Ireland, highlights the fact that Irish universities are encouraged to increase outgoing numbers.

According to the study, outgoing student mobility brings a number of benefits at individual, institutional, national and regional levels.

It shows that students place a high value on academic and cultural learning and have high expectations in this respect, although these expectations are not always met.

In relation to the objective of increasing outgoing numbers, the paper identifies three main risks:

  • Unless better resources are invested (both by Irish institutions and their partners), quality issues may become more prevalent, in particular with Erasmus destinations and/or destinations in countries that focus on a commercial approach to incoming student mobility.
  • The shift away from the principle of exchange as an academic experience and the growing focus on lifestyle and employability in the promotion of exchange will not appeal to all students and will potentially exclude those with limited financial means.
  • The diversification of destinations comes with a marked stratification between the more prestigious (often non-EU) and less prestigious (often Erasmus) destinations; this is amplified by different levels of resources allocated to some programmes compared to others, and by the limited access that some students have to specific programmes.