Assistance and Agreements for International Student Mobility
The service deals with the definition of agreements with universities in other countries for the international mobility of students, in particular for training periods abroad, but also, for example, for the awarding of joint or double degrees, appropriate for the achievement of the expected learning outcomes, as well as the organisation and management of the international mobility of outgoing students and of the reception of incoming students from abroad.
In recent years, the University of Parma has undertaken important work aimed at increasing the number of courses with double or joint degrees, with a view to increasing and promoting international mobility. In this sense, the development policies of the course catalogue have taken into specific consideration the relationship between the international development of the course catalogue itself, its sustainability and adequacy, and the territorial dimension and relations with other universities. It is precisely the international dimension of the course catalogue that is aimed not only at increasing the number of deserving international students, by diversifying their geographical origin, but also at increasing the number of graduates who have had training experience abroad, thus strengthening the international dimension of the training contexts, also through the teaching of foreign experts and the development of the students' language skills.
The University of Parma is part of a network of professor/instructor and student exchanges that, through numerous agreements at EU and non-EU level, allows study periods abroad and/or internships, enabling students to gain training experience abroad, both teaching and work, as part of mobility programmes, thus creating international career opportunities for its students and favourable environments for the development of research activities, through the funding of projects by local researchers and the attraction of scholars from all over the world.
Over the years, the numerous academic contacts that have developed have allowed for the creation of a network of international collaborations that today sees the presence of partnerships with Universities and Research Organisations from all over the world, resulting in the recognition of the University of Parma on the international academic scene.
The intense activity aimed at improving internationalisation has resulted in an increase in language training opportunities, the consolidation of exchange activities within the Erasmus+ Programme, the expansion of exchange opportunities within the OVERWORLD University Programme, in the implementation of double-degree programmes with structured mobility, in the TeachinParma project co-financed by the CariParma Foundation for the support of Visiting Professors working within the Doctoral Schools, in the recruitment of Visiting Professors for teaching activities in first- and second-level degree courses.
In order to coordinate central and departmental activities, International Mobility Committees were set up in each department in 2017. Internationalisation initiatives are accessible from the 'INTERNATIONAL' menu item on the University's homepage.
In order to foster the growth and scientific and didactic updating of the teaching staff, the university encourages participation in international mobility programmes, both under the Erasmus+ Programme and the OverWorld Programme, in order to carry out a period of teaching and/or training abroad; it promotes initiatives useful for acquiring specific knowledge and know-how from good practices (creation of academic networks, research collaborations, participation in competitive calls for projects) and for developing language skills relevant to professional development.
The realisation and implementation of internationalisation processes, on the basis of the directives issued by the University governance, is carried out by the Internationalisation Division (Research, Internationalisation and Third Stream Management Area).
In accordance with the University Regulations, the Department of Engineering and Architecture (DEA) has recently set up an International Mobility Committee (IMC) with the task of promoting and making international student mobility effective.
In order to boost the international mobility of students and to increase their numbers, the DEA's International Mobility Committee has identified a general action plan to support the activities of the individual course committees, structured on two levels: one concerning information and guidance and one aimed at raising the students' level of language competence.
The IMC will organise a series of meetings with students at the beginning of each academic year in order to explain the possibilities of periods abroad within the Erasmus and Overworld Programmes and the possibilities made available by the activities of individual professors/instructors. The IMC will also conduct guidance activities to direct students towards the most appropriate programme with reference to the level reached in their degree course and most closely matching their individual aspirations; this activity will take place both at the aforementioned information meetings and on an individual level, by organising a timetable in which the professors/instructors responsible for the individual curricula, who are on the Committee, will be available to students.
In order to raise students' language proficiency levels, a systematic awareness-raising campaign will be carried out so that students benefit from the initiatives planned by the University through the University's Language Learning Division.
In addition, the IMC will develop a training proposal for all DEA degree courses for the recognition of ECTS credits to all those students who will obtain recognition of a language proficiency level higher than B1 in the main vehicular languages of the European Union, with a focus on English.
In parallel with the above-mentioned actions aimed at students, the IMC will monitor existing international exchange agreements and projects in order to identify the 'most active' and strategic ones. In doing so, it will develop specific support and promotion measures into effective tools for the international mobility of students. In particular, direct contact will be made with the heads of the partner universities in order to find all the information necessary to set up an effective guidance programme and offer support in the drafting of learning agreements.
The IMC will also draft a 'development plan' for international agreements, aimed at increasing the international course catalogue for students, both numerically and qualitatively. Particular attention will be paid to agreements for double or joint degrees, to strengthen existing ones and to create new ones.
The IMC will use tutors provided by the university to monitor the agreements in place and to assist students.
The Degree Course in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability is included in the ERASMUS programme; for the degree courses of the Department of Engineering and Architecture, the members of the International Mobility Committee for courses in the Architecture class are Prof. Maria Evelina Melley, Prof. Carlo Benedetto Gandolfi and Prof. Silvia Rossetti.
In addition to the annual activity to disseminate knowledge of the Erasmus and Overworld projects, the Committee's tasks include the selection of students responding to the relevant calls for proposals and the assistance to students in the phase of filling out the learning agreement and, more generally, throughout their mobility studies.
Selections for the award of the relevant mobility grants are made on the basis of several evaluation criteria: number of ECTS credits acquired, motivation, curriculum vitae, training programme, knowledge of the language required by the host location and of English. Currently, bilateral agreements are in place, with a choice of destination location, with: Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture de Clermont - Ferrand (France), Insitut National des Sciences Appliquees (INSA) de Strasbourg (France); Univesitat Stuttgard (Germany), University of Thessaly (Greece), Politechnika Bialostocka (Poland), Politechnika Krakowska (Poland), Universidade do Porto (Portugal), Universidade dos Acores (Portugal), Universidad de Granada (Spain), Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), Universidad Catolica San Antonio de Murcia (Spain), Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain), Szent Istvan Egyetem (Hungary). In addition to the 14 existing bilateral agreements, others (notably with Lisbon, San Sebastian, Rouenne and the University of Nottingham, Ningbo - China) are in the process of being formally finalised. In addition, the action also addressed mobility for internships, for which a contact list of professional firms has been prepared in order to facilitate student agreements.
At the university level, the management of international mobility contracts, the issuing of ERASMUS calls for application, and the disbursement of scholarships for study abroad are managed by the International Relations Office (see link).