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International mobility in Higher Education and employability: a comparison in a EU and a US institution

Background. The applicant requests a Higher Education Administrator (HEA) fellowship for a short mobility practical
program (2-4 months). During this period of time the applicant will support, as a professional in international education
administration, the staff at the host institution through job shadowing, observation and proper work; furthermore, the
applicant will perform a delimited research work on the value of international mobility in higher education. In the current
economic crisis, a global consensus is emerging on the fact that national governments and policy makers should not only
accomplish their economic stability: they will sooner or later have to face dramatic occupational issues now arising in many
countries. Europe has long ago started specific educational policies and programs (such as the LLP program, scheduled to
end in 2013, and the soon-to-be-launched 2014/2020 “Yes Europe” program). Such programs enable European students and
graduates to live, study and work abroad and their international experience is positively valued by employers: an
international CV sparks professional appeal and career chances. In the US, the internationalization strategy is generally
pursued in an independent fashion by each university with their own initiatives; however, many of those institutions have
elaborated very successful international programs that prove to be intense and fruitful for the participants.

The work experience in an international office of a top US university will result in:
- Immediate objective: to gain familiarity with the activities of the Global Education Office in order to achieve new
insights into curriculum development in a constant comparative approach with the EU policies.
- Development objective: to understand the strategies adopted in a top US university as regards internationalisation,
namely global research programmes, short summer programs, globally integrated courses, in order to foster
innovation in applicant’s home institution upon return, with a fresh look on how curriculum internationalisation is
pursued on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The research project will result in:
- Immediate objective: to evaluate, together with the US institution, the employment outcomes of the former students
who engaged in an international experience compared to those who didn’t; being the HEA fellowship a short-term
exchange, the research will be circumscribed only to the graduates coming from the applicant’s host institution.
- Development objective: The results are to be compared with the outcomes of an analogous research carried out in the
applicant’s home institution where she works in Italy. Moreover the research project is replicable with other higher
education institutions in Europe and the US in order to perform a broader research on the relations between
employability and curriculum internationalisation in a comparative view between the two areas.

Data collection : contact and interview, in person or through web surveys and questionnaires, the graduates of the host
institution and, if possible, interview their current employers and HR advisors to understand their opinions about the
international pluses in a CV. Interview with the career advisors of the host institution.
Quantitative analysis: systematize the research outcomes to understand whether the graduates with an international CV have
any competitive edge in the world of work when compared with the total number of graduates; define the ratio between the
two groups.
Qualitative analysis: open and close questions are also to be asked about students with an international background and how
employers feel they have benefited of such members of their working teams. Scale the list of the most valued skills:
knowledge of a 2nd language, a more global way of thinking, an enriched vision of the world, entrepreneurial thinking,
teamwork, leadership, communication, problem solving, ability to work independently, negotiation.
Dissemination: A report with the findings and recommendations will be produced and this will constitute the basis for future
planning in the host and in the home university. In the medium term, the research may also represent a starting research
platform for further investigation in education policies by applicant (who is currently evaluating to engage in a PhD or EdD
position in the near future).

US host institution
The contacted institution for the project is the XYZ University. The applicant has contacted a Professor, specialized in EU
affairs, with whom she had previous contacts for research purposes and is currently looking for a feedback from the Centre
for Global Study and Engagement (further details will be given as soon as possible during application period). The XYZ
University is a globally interconnected institution where more than half of all courses maintain a global focus, and globally
minded policies and practices are observed campus-wide. It offers one of the most respected off-campus study programs,
and more than half of students study in more than 40 programs on six continents in 24 countries. XYZ also is one of the
nation’s top institutions for foreign-language study with 13 languages offered and proves to be an optimal location for the
purposes of this plan.