What the European Universities Initiative is and what it means for you

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The European Universities Initiative will change the education landscape across Europe in the upcoming years by strengthening strategic partnerships across the EU between higher education institutions.
Group of Students at University

What is the European Universities Initiative?

The European Universities Initiative is a plan that the European Council Commission rolled out to, well, basically making university learning in Europe better and more applicable to the demands of the future than what universities were offering before.

In short, it’s a way that EU leadership has thought up to make education exponentially better for students in Europe.

The main goal of the Initiative is to create a more integrative learning environment for students. They say that it will do that take a bottom-up approach to education networks of universities across the EU. Students will be able to travel freely between Member States where the universities are.

So, if you study under a university in Europe with that is a part of the Initiative and is included in a university network, there could be a good chance that you’ll end up studying in two or more Member States before you finish your degree.

And this is a good thing. In fact, it’s a really good thing. This is because in our modern world, there is a high demand for specialized skills, international experience, and the knowledge of different languages.

The European Universities Initiative could have the answers that the world has been searching for.

But this kind of thing isn’t new. It’s linked to the Erasmus Programme, which came around in in the 1980’s. This program allows students to study in different Member States; basically it’s like a European study abroad. The new Initiative works with a program called Erasmus+ in a similar fashion, except for that it’s far more integrative, and the options are far, far, greater than before.

What is a European University?

But now let’s find out what a European University is in the first place, or at least how it’s defined in the context of the European Universities Initiative.

European Universities in this context are basically groups of universities in different Member States who share the common goals of promoting European values and identity and revolutionizing the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.

European University alliances will include university partners of all kinds from all across Europe. They will jointly offer student-based curricula and deliver them across various campuses in the alliance, allowing students to experience mobility in education. Finally, their approach will be challenge-based and inter-disciplinary in order to build teams to take on the biggest challenges facing Europe.

How many University Alliances are there?

There are a lot of university alliances. In fact, there are 41 total right now as of July 2020. But before this month, there were 24. Next time the European Commission holds another summit for higher education, they could very well unveil even more.

In order for an alliance to join the Initiative, there are some criteria for them to meet:

  • The alliance must have at least 3 universities from 3 different Member States or Erasmus-participant countries.
  • Alliance partners must be from different parts of Europe.
  • An Alliance must have a joint long-term strategy for education, research, and innovation. They preferably should also have a plan for sustainability.
  • Alliances must also create a European inter-university ‘campus’ where students can enjoy seamless mobility as well as form teams of students and faculty to tackle big issues facing Europe.
  • Alliances must provide students with the opportunity to design their own flexible curricula. They must also provide students with practical and/or work-based experience.

What does it mean for me?

At this point, all of this might sound pretty good. You’re also probably wondering what all of this would mean for you.

In a nutshell, it means that if you attend a university that is part of an alliance participating in this program, then your education could end up being some of the most cutting-edge schooling out there.

The European Universities Initiative combines old-school university schooling with modern, practical measures that could end up giving students at these schools some of the best education in the world.

It also means that you could very likely be doing some serious traveling while you’re in school, seeing all different parts of Europe and being exposed to so many different things than if you were to stay on one campus for your entire career. You could learn new languages and customs and meet so many people that might end up helping you form your own great alliances down the road.

Plus, with the focus on mobility and practical, challenge-based curricula, your education will be a lot more focused on the modern world and the challenges we face today than education from somewhere else.

The European Universities Initiative truly is cutting-edge. Only time will tell how effective it will be (we’re guessing it will be a home run). But in the meantime, happy European University hunting from is here at Study-Abroad.org!

If you want to know more about the Initiative and the intricacies of it, here are some links to official EU pages that will surely help you out:

The European Commission’s explanation of the Initiative.

The Erasmus+ Programme Guide.

The European Universities Initiative Fact Sheet.

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