Swansea University celebrates funding success for international mobility

Swansea University is celebrating after receiving €171,100 from the Erasmus+ programme for funds to support student and staff exchanges with institutions outside Europe.

International Mobility is a new aspect to the Erasmus+ programme which has traditionally only supported student and staff exchanges within Europe. This was the first year it was possible to apply for funding.    

Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Internationalisation and External Affairs at Swansea University, said: “It is testimony to the growing reputation of Swansea as a global University that we have been successful in securing these funds from the prestigious Erasmus+ scheme. 

“These funds will allow staff to teach at overseas partner universities, to share their knowledge and expertise, identify new and best practice in teaching and assessment, and develop new opportunities for student mobility and other collaborations.  It will enhance our already excellent student experience, allowing for a greater choice of study abroad opportunities at international institutions.”

Swansea applied for funds to support staff and student exchanges in three regions - the USA, China and New Zealand - and was successful in all three applications. 

Swansea was awarded €78,500 to support staff and student exchanges with US universities.  Swansea is one of only eight UK universities to have been awarded funds to support staff and student exchanges with US universities and the Swansea University application was ranked first of all the applications received.

The funds will be used to support staff and student mobility to Texas partner institutions. The University already has a well established and successful student exchange programme with Texas A&M University, and student exchanges with the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Austin will begin next year.

The award is a further indicator of the success of the University’s Texas Strategic Partnership which has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards in the category of ‘Outstanding International Strategy’, the winner of which will be announced in an awards ceremony on Thursday 18 June 2015. 

A further €41,000 has been received for staff and student exchanges to two partner institutions in China. The funding will allow the University to launch, for the first time, a semester abroad programme with a mainland Chinese University – UIC in Guangdong province.  The University has also identified Beijing Foreign Studies University as an institution with which to establish an exchange programme.  This will build on success to date in sending students to Hong Kong for semester programmes, and to China for short language and culture programmes. 

In addition, €51,600 has been awarded for staff and student exchanges to a partner institution in New Zealand. Swansea University has been working with the University of Canterbury in New Zealand since 1998. The exchange agreement was initial developed for the subject area of Business but has recently been expanded to cover all academic areas. 

Head of Internationalisation at Swansea University, Sian Impey, said: “We have identified these institutions on the basis of our shared vision to develop strong international partnerships that will enhance and support research, teaching and provide mobility opportunities for our students.

“Swansea University has many years of experience of receiving and sending students on mobility programmes around the world. While semester and year abroad study programmes have been in place for decades with a number of non-EU countries, these have focused mainly on English-speaking destinations such as the US, Australia and Canada. The University has been actively seeking to broaden these connections into countries where English is not the main native language.

“Study abroad increases students’ transferable skills and improves their cultural awareness, thereby improving their employability.  Swansea University has committed to providing every student with the chance to study or work during their degree.  This mutually beneficial scheme will also allow for inbound student exchange from partner institutions and the sharing of Swansea University academic expertise through teaching opportunities.”

“It is hoped that the learning gained from the development of this programme will help to establish other mutually beneficial partnerships, and we hope to be successful in securing future Erasmus+ funding for partnerships in key regions, furthering the University’s global reach.” 

The funding is in addition to the Erasmus+ funding the University has been awarded for student and staff exchanges with European partner institutions, which totals €618,045.