Erasmus programme: A life-changing experience

2018 edition

Patricia Jiménez

For almost 30 years students have been taking part in academic mobility programmes around Europe. This international mobility of students has been the focus of a great deal of research, which has   concentrated mainly on end-of-sojourn measures and in-sojourn reflection is rarely considered, which means that we still have little information about the long term impact of academic mobility, especially in connection with the returnees´ behaviours, attitudes and experiences as related to personal lives.

This study investigates the effects of the participation in an academic mobility programme as manifested in the course of one year after the stay, focusing on the readaptation process the participants go after their sojourn and the renegotation of their relationship with their parents especially during the first months back home. The research involves a year follow up of a group of eight  participants who go back to their home countries in February and June 2016. The data collected take the form of periodical autobiographical reflections in four different formats: responses to written questions via email, two semi-structured interviews with the participants and one semi-structured interviews with their parents.

The research must be seen as contribution to the study of the impact of study abroad on the participants´ lives and  more specifically on the process of (re)negotiating one´s identity in the home community and within their families and their home friends. The analysis framework will take into consideration thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke,2006)  as well as functional grammar (Downing and Locke,2006;  Halliday ,1985)  for the microanalysis.

Preliminary findings suggest that the experience of academic mobility means a turning-point in the participants’ life mainly in terms of independence and autonomy and the readaptation process is characterized by the struggle of maintaining the autonomy achieved during the sojourn.

 

Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp. 77-101.

 

Downing and Locke. (2006). English grammar. A university course. London and New York: Routledge.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1985). An introduction to functional grammar. London: Edward Arnold.