The best public support systems for promoting and giving advice to higher education students about opportunities to study or train abroad are in Germany, Belgium, Spain, France and Italy, according to the first EU 'Mobility Scoreboard'.
The Scoreboard is part of the European Commission's response to a call by Member States1 to remove obstacles to studying and training abroad as part of wider efforts to help young people gain the skills and experience they need to increase their employability.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said "Studying and training abroad is an excellent way to gain valuable skills and experience, which is why the EU has greatly increased funding for mobility under the new Erasmus+ programme. The Mobility Scoreboard allows us to see for the first time how well countries are creating a positive environment for student mobility to flourish – and where they could do more."
The Mobility Scoreboard focuses on five key factors that influence young people's motivation and ability to study or train abroad. It reveals that these factors vary significantly between Member States – and that no single country scores highly on all measures of their "mobility environment".
Information and guidance about mobility opportunities: Germany, Belgium, Spain, France and Italy provide the most comprehensive support. Information and guidance structures are least developed in Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia and Cyprus.
Portability of student aid, enabling students to receive public grants and loans in another country on the same terms as when they study at home. Student grants and loans are portable in the Dutch and German-speaking parts of Belgium, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden. In contrast, student financial support systems are most restrictive in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.
Knowledge of foreign languages: This is often an important factor for deciding to study abroad. Cyprus, Luxembourg and the German-speaking part of Belgium place greatest emphasis on language learning in schools. Ireland and, within the United Kingdom, Scotland, have no compulsory foreign language learning in schools.
Recognition of studies abroad (use of ECTS and Diploma Supplement): Germany, Belgium and Spain make considerable efforts to monitor the use of European tools which help students gain recognition for their studies abroad through the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and Diploma Supplement, but most countries pay comparatively little attention to this issue.
Support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds: The Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, Germany, Italy and Austria stand out for having both well-developed financial support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to study or train abroad and systems to monitor mobility in terms of social background.