Does ERASMUS student mobility promote a European identity?

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Series Details No 2, 2009
Publication Date 2009
ISSN 1756-7556
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The potential of European student mobility to promote a European identity and, consequently, European integration has long been stressed by transactionalists
such as Karl Deutsch but was never tested empirically. The EU-funded exchange programme ERASMUS moves more than 150,000 university students annually, and it is still widely assumed it plays a pivotal role in the promotion of a European identity. Based on the results of a longitudinal survey among ERASMUS and nonmobile students I show that reality meets only partly these expectations. Whilst
ERASMUS enables students to improve their foreign language skills and learn more about other European countries, it does not foster a European self-identity or a sense of European pride. However, the ERASMUS experience does help British students to feel more attached to Europe and to acknowledge they have things in common with continental Europeans.

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