Development of international academic mobility – one of the priorities of UzhNU
The development of international academic mobility was the topic for discussion at a webinar held at Uzhhorod National University on March 31, 2021. Its participants were teachers and students of the university. “Every year, dozens of teachers and students undergo internships and trainings in EU countries. When talking to students who participate in semester-long academic exchange programmes, I can see their reaction before and after studying abroad for a semester. Therefore, I am convinced that such experience is very positive. Each experience of participation in academic mobility programmes enriches both the person who takes part in it and the university in general,” said the Vice-Rector of UzhNU Ihor Korol at the beginning of the meeting.
During the main part of the webinar, the head of the Department of International Relations of the university, Oksana Svezhentseva, acquainted the participants in detail with the tasks of the department, areas of international cooperation of Uzhhorod National University and the development of academic mobility. “It is important for every modern university to develop, get modernized and gain new experience. Participation in international associations, scientific consortia, partnerships helps us to achieve this goal. Due to international and national rankings, we have the opportunity to analyze the results of our work, see our position in the European or the world educational and scientific environment. The university constantly monitors its own dynamics through participation in international rankings,” said Oksana Svezhentseva. "The criteria for academic international rankings often coincide with the national evaluation criteria. The compilers of the rankings primarily pay attention to the academic reputation of the university in the world, reputation among employers, raising funds for the development of science (including through international grants), teaching by foreign experts, teaching in English in master's programmes, citation index, etc.
Agreements are the basis of the international cooperation for the university. At present, UzhNU is collaborating with 125 foreign partners from 29 countries. Bilateral agreements guarantee the exchange of experience, provide for academic mobility, and create a platform for joint research projects."
Oksana Svezhentseva also told about the main types of academic mobility. "It is worth noting that the pandemic has made significant adjustments to its methods in 2020-2021, however, it can also take place remotely. The most common forms of international academic mobility for research and academic staff and other participants of the educational process include delivering lectures in foreign higher educational institutions; scientific internships; conducting research in foreign research institutes; participation in joint project or grant research; participation in international scientific and practical conferences abroad; participation in international projects (at present, the university is implementing about a dozen of them).
The International Relations Department works on a daily basis looking for international scholarship programmes for students and teachers. All the announcements about the opportunities to participate in international programmes are posted on the website of the university. We consult all interested people and arrange business trips." said Oksana Svezhentseva.
Then, the speaker dwelt on the academic mobility of students. It can take various forms: it is either a one-day trip to participate in a scientific contest, a business trip for research work, participation in some international project, training abroad for one semester, or a double degree programme. Undoubtedly, semester programmes are very popular among the students of Uzhhorod National University. For example, 115 of our students and faculty members have already participated in Erasmus+ Academic Mobility Scholarship Programme.
Oksana Svezhentseva also touched upon the issue of semester education. It is important for us to imform about the opportunity to participate in this kind of programme ahead of time, provide the academic support (prepare transcripts, make a short-term curriculum), provide the programme participant with visa support, etc. The applicant must promptly prepare a package of documents, usually he or she has 7-14 days to prepare a cover letter, a CV, provide a proof of his/her foreign language knowledge level (usually English, B1-B2). Academic mobility is virtually impossible without these components. It is important to arrange student’s individual schedule too.
Summing up, Oksana Svezhentseva acquainted all the webinar participants with the regulations, resolutions and strategies on the basis of which the international cooperation of Uzhhorod National University is carried out.
The webinar ended with answers to listeners' questions. At the end of the webinar, Ihor Korol emphasized that similar forms of communication with teachers and students on important issues of the educational and scientific process would continue.