Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency has approved the Final Report for the MERGE Project. The general objective of the study was to analyse the effects of Erasmus on the mobility and employability of former students, and identify which elements of the Erasmus experience had impacted upon career choices and opportunities.
This approval was based on an assessment undertaken by an external expert on behalf of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, and a financial assessment undertaken by the Agency staff. The Project was coordinated by the University of Deusto and involving the Universities of Leeds Metropolitan and Sunderland in the United Kingdom, West Coast and Johannes Gutenberg in Germany, Lodz in Poland, and the i2basque foundation in the Basque Country.
Results were presented in the context of national and regional data, but were specific to the partner institutions, providing evidence on International student Mobility experience mainly motivated by academic and life experience reasons; Mobility patterns, understood as something substantial to the current professional development, as an international phase of their education or their work, where being an ex-Erasmus becomes an advantage in the current economic context.
The study has provided substantial new research evidence of Erasmus impacts and benefits linking data on Erasmus participation with theoretical approaches and conceptual insights, as well as a strong basis for comparative analysis, identifying differences in expectation experiences and impacts among different countries. It also has confirmed the inherent difficulties in on-line data collection and mining and highlighted the importance of direct contact with participants through existing databases and networks.
The project has addressed an important area of EU policy, and has brought together existing knowledge and understanding of the experience and impacts of the Erasmus experience with wider debates around migration, mobilities, internationalisation and employment, mainly of young people.
PARTNERS IN THE MERGE CONSORTIUM: Itziar Elexpuru, Basagaitz Gereno-Omil, Arantza Arruti, Lourdes Villardón and Alvaro Moro (University of Deusto, Spain), Kevin Hannan (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK), Ala Al-Harmarneh and Felix Shubert (University of Mainz, Germany), Pawel Bryla (University of Lodz, Poland), Wolfgang Arlt (Internal evaluator, West Coast University, Germany), Robert Brown (External evaluator, UK), Margari León and Jesús Aramberri (i2basque).
Link to the website of the project: http://merge.i2basque.es