International Student Mobility - Agreements, Assistance and Procedures
The service intends to deal with the definition of agreements with universities in other countries for the international mobility of students, in particular for periods of training abroad, but also, for example, for the award 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 the reception of incoming students from other countries.
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 an exchange network of Professors and students that, through numerous agreements at EU and non-EU level, allows for study periods abroad and/or internship activities, enabling students to undertake training experiences abroad, both didactic and work-related, as part of mobility programmes, thus creating opportunities for international careers 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.
The intense activity aimed at improving internationalisation has taken the form of 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-funded by the Cari Parma Foundation to support Visiting Professors working within the Doctoral Schools, in the recruitment of Visiting Professors for teaching activities in First-cycle and Second-cycle degree courses.
Internationalisation initiatives are accessible from the 'INTERNATIONAL' menu item on the homepage of the University and the Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability (SCVSA).
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.
In order to coordinate central activities with those at departmental level, as of 2017 International Mobility Committees have been set up in each department, which include the Erasmus and Overworld contact persons of the various degree courses.
The international mobility of students in the degree course takes place mainly within the new Erasmus+ programme, which started in 2014. The relevant University offices take care of all the administrative aspects of concluding and renewing bilateral agreements, and as of 2014, calls for applications for scholarships are conducted according to the new rules. At the time of publication of the notices, the Internationalisation division and the Erasmus contact persons of the Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability (SCVSA) advertise it in the classroom and by means of posters, assist students interested in participating, carry out the selections and maintain contact with the offices. Wide relevance is given on the University and Department websites.
The SCVSA Department - and in particular the Committee for International Mobility - is responsible for the allocation of Erasmus+ scholarships in the areas of Chemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental Sciences, Ecology and Geological Sciences for the three levels of education: First-cycle, Second-cycle degrees and PhD programmes.
Mobility agreements relating to this degree programme have been concluded over the years by professors/instructors and involve several countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain.
The Professors of the degree course are currently working on new bilateral agreements with venues that facilitate the possibility for students of the degree course to acquire ECTS credits not only through passing examinations but also through internships.
In the first instance, the departmental Erasmus and Overworld contact persons help the student with contacts with foreign contact persons, finding and evaluating course programmes, and contacts with Professors. The Erasmus and Overworld referees in agreement with the Course President are involved in this first stage of the procedure, prior to the student's departure for the foreign location, as they are required to approve the student's preliminary programme of study (Learning Agreement Before Mobility), possibly in consultation with the Professors of the courses directly involved in the Learning Agreement and the Board of Administration. This preliminary approval confirms the student's ability to validate scheduled examinations. The new Erasmus+ programme requires greater cooperation from from professors/instructors and degree courses in order for study periods to be recognised in full, without additions after the return. The pre-validation procedure was modified to allow for greater flexibility in the choice of examinations.
In the second stage, on the student's return, the Departmental International Mobility Committee examines the results obtained and recorded in the student's Transcript of Records or Learning Agreement After Mobility and converts the grades obtained in the foreign location into thirtieths (as provided for in the University Regulations). Finally, the International Mobility Committee forwards the outcome of its examination to the Course President for acknowledgement and approval at the next meeting of the Course Council. There is the possibility of validating examinations by keeping the name of the teaching in the original language in the electronic transcript. In Erasmus+, special attention is paid to students doing their internship/stage abroad and the related validation and thesis writing procedures, in cooperation with the internship manager and thesis tutor.
Further opportunities for training abroad are offered by the Erasmus Internship programme, in which students submit a programme for practical training abroad.
The internationalisation referees of the university receive interested students and guide them in the choice of the most suitable international programme and possible destinations, as well as in the preparation of a learning agreement or an Erasmus internship project tailored to the wishes of each student.
Erasmus contact person Prof. Andrea Artoni
OverWorld contact person: Prof. Fabrizio Balsamo