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Coimbra Group Student Exchange Network – 20 years of success

29 September 2020

Academic Exchange & Mobility Working Group
Harriet Klåvus, Åbo Akademi University

The academic year 2000-01 the Coimbra Group universities exchanged the first Student Exchange Network “SEN” students. The idea behind the initiative was to give students in any academic discipline the opportunity to go on exchange to another CG university.

We all have our Erasmus bilateral agreements in different subject areas, but sometimes the students do not find the university they want to study at among them. Giving the students an additional option to choose from, among the universities of highest quality, the CG universities, is a great success. The success story lies in the hands of the exchange coordinators at the 24 universities that now are members of the CG SEN.

The network is already over 20 years old and works well. Usually each CG university accepts 1-2 students per semester or academic year from each of the participating CG SEN universities. We have a common Erasmus agreement (IIA) and a fact sheet where admission criteria is mentioned. Today there are very few restricted subjects at the member universities, and the restrictions that do exist are mostly it is within the area of Medicine. The students receive their financing from the Erasmus programme (or SEMP for Geneva and university funds for Saint Petersburg). The overall coordination lies with the Academic Exchange and Mobility (AEM) Working Group.

Being a member of the CG SEN means that we advertise the Coimbra Group among the students when we organize our study abroad events. At these sessions, our students learn that their alma mater is a member of the Coimbra Group, as well as which other universities are members. Once the students discuss their learning agreements with their academic coordinators, there is then another group of people at our university getting to know the Coimbra Group universities. This is a very natural way of making people at our university aware of the CG. Furthermore, it is a good channel to spread the word of the Arenberg-Coimbra Group prize.

Never before, during the 20 years of existing, has the CG SEN had so many member universities. Sixteen universities remain who are still not involved in this excellent opportunity of exchanging students. Thus, we would very much like to welcome our CG member universities Aarhus, Bergen, Bologna, Bristol, Edinburgh, Galway, Göttingen, Istanbul, Leiden, Leuven, Louvain, Montpellier, Prague, Tartu, Utrecht and Uppsala to participate.