Last year Spain’s government created a foundation to recruit more international students. The Spanish Foundation is the newest addition to the European trend to expand their global presence. This week roughly 4,000 European educators will meet at the annual conference of the European Association for International Education in Madrid. The European Union, consisting of 27 nations, has said that it aims to make European higher education more attractive internationally. For the past decade Europe has been overhauling their higher-education systems in 46 countries to create greater consistency among degree programs and a more coherent degree-granting process. For example, fewer than 700 students from China enrolled at Spanish universities during the 2007-8 academic year. To bring in more Chinese students, Spain’s Ministry of Education agreed in 2007 to recognize Chinese university-entrance qualifications, a concession that had been reserved for European Union students.
While the European push for international students competes with U.S. efforts, these goals also provide opportunities for American colleges and universities looking for new partnerships overseas, particularly with Asia and the Middle East. John K. Hudzik, vice president for global engagement at Michigan State University and president of NAFSA: Association of International Educators is quoted in this article saying, “They’re making higher education more portable across national boundaries, and that is creating a very powerful force in the world. We’re talking about a population and a GDP greater than the U.S. What they’re doing is beginning to shape what we do.””
Much of the impetus for Europe’s aim to raise international profiles of their universities hinge on two demographics: Age and diversity. Their aging population has translated into lower enrollments, and their increasingly diverse population across the continent necessitates that the keep step with the changing base of prospective students. Hudzik says, “If we believe firmly in the virtues of internationalization and cross-border learning, and all the rest,” he says, “then we should be happy anytime we see somebody build the numbers up, regardless of who it is.” Here a considerations:
How can American and European institutions streamline their efforts to promote the globalization of learning?
How might these efforts help shape the global economy and the creation of future careers?
Chronicle of Higher Education
by Aisha Labi
With its sunny climate, relaxed lifestyle, and relatively easy-to-learn language, Spain would seem to need little selling as a destination for foreign university students. Yet although it is a popular study-abroad option for Americans and draws a fair number of students from Latin America, the country is not a major player in the fast-growing international student market.
So last year the Spanish government created a foundation to promote Spanish higher education abroad. Starting with nearly $3-million from the ministries of education, science and innovation, and foreign affairs, the organization will tap into a global network of embassies and cultural institutions to create an international marketing campaign.
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