Erasmus+ University Policy Statement 2021-2027
Ever since it was introduced, the Erasmus program has shaped the international profile and the
internationalization strategy of RWTH Aachen University. Consequently, the goals and priorities for creating a
European Higher Education Area are in line with the goals of the institutional strategy and the internationalization strategy of RWTH Aachen University:
International mobility is a key factor of internationalization as well as an essential component of university education and the career paths of students, researchers, faculty, and administrative staff. In 2018, the Rectorate reaffirmed the importance of internationalization by appointing a vice-rector for international affairs.
The significance that RWTH Aachen University places on international mobility is also reflected in the restructuring of the International Office that was completed in in 2018. This served to adjust the work of the International Office to the further development of the university and the changing conditions in the university landscape at national, European, and global level.
It goes hand in hand with the aim of aligning the service offerings with changing needs and growing demand from the target groups of students, instructors, and researchers. By optimizing processes and using digital infrastructure, conditions are being created for achieving ambitious target figures in student mobility abroad. The focus on credit transfer mobility, practical relevance, innovation, digitalization, and Europe as a frame of reference ensures quality and consistency with the institutional objectives of RWTH Aachen University.
RWTH encourages, supports, and empowers all university members to gain experience abroad in order to enhance their personal and professional development, career opportunities, and competencies to interact in international multilateral networks.
RWTH Aachen University aims to make study and teaching abroad a natural part – indeed the norm – of students' academic careers and staff career paths, and to provide access to, and specifically promote, mobility opportunities for all university members, regardless of their social and economic background. For this reason, RWTH offers a variety of exchange opportunities, structured mobility programs, and attractive mobility grants that meet the needs of different university members and are easily accessible.
RWTH has a very international spirit, providing a warm and open environment for international students and researchers. It supports and accompanies them in a service-oriented manner throughout their stay at the university. A successful welcome culture includes, among other things, the appealing, target group-specific design of the arrival phase, the networking and further development of all service offers of RWTH Aachen University for the international target groups, and the promotion of the integration and networking of the international and local university members.
The primary goal of this welcome culture and the corresponding measures is to create optimal extracurricular conditions for a successful study or research stay at RWTH. The special challenges faced by the international target group are addressed by special services and recognition on the part of the university. This lays the foundation for a successful study or research stay.
RWTH would like to offer all university members a study, research, and work environment that is both interculturally influenced and academically stimulating. Internationalization is a firmly anchored and prominent theme in all university departments with consistent communication in both English and German. Strengthening RWTH Aachen University's self-image as a globally active, international university ensures the integration and productivity of international university members and enables staff and academic development for all that is internationally-oriented.
Participation in the Erasmus program in the new program generation is essential for the internationalization of RWTH Aachen University. The priorities of the European Education Area support, promote, sharpen, and complement the main objectives of RWTH Aachen University's internationalization strategy:
Erasmus is the largest mobility program at RWTH Aachen University in terms of numbers and it is impossible to imagine the University's mobility offers without it. It offers students and staff of RWTH Aachen attractive opportunities for mobility with financial support.
In particular, the Erasmus Study Stay and Erasmus Internship program lines are in high demand and are successful forms of mobility. The attractiveness of the Erasmus program is not only reflected in the number of participants – their feedback shows a very high rate of satisfaction with the mobility experiences. Erasmus stays as an established, attractive, and popular form of mobility should continue to be accessible to all members of RWTH with special consideration to disadvantaged groups and their needs. University Management considers ongoing participation in the Erasmus program an indispensable prerequisite for the achievement of the targets: significant increase of international mobility in all study cycles as well as establishment of international mobility as an integral part of learning, teaching, and working at RWTH.
Like no other mobility program, Erasmus supports full and automatic recognition of academic achievements attained during mobility, which is also a stated goal of RWTH Aachen University. The measures to promote a positive recognition culture in the sense of the Lisbon Convention have been significantly intensified by the achievements made in the Erasmus program in the area of recognition.
Digitalization and the promotion of digital skills are central objectives at RWTH Aachen University. Accordingly, the possibility of "Digital Opportunity Traineeships" was welcomed, which represent an important instrument for teaching digital skills to students at RWTH Aachen University. Internships abroad that combine mobility and the promotion of "digital skills" have become an important part of the Erasmus Internship program line. The introduction of blended mobility, which aims to supplement physical mobility with digital components, is also being driven forward at RWTH Aachen University.
The expansion of the digital infrastructure for the management of the Erasmus program will give the area of internationalization the desired and necessary digitalization boost from which other mobility programs at RWTH Aachen University will also benefit. It is part of RWTH's self-image to participate in this pioneering work.
Especially due to its geographical location, RWTH Aachen University has a strong European identity, which will be permanently and sustainably strengthened by participation in the Erasmus program. The strategic networking and integration of RWTH Aachen University in Europe is to be further consolidated and continued by means of the Erasmus program, so that European exchange and active European citizenship can be enjoyed even more. Thus, RWTH Aachen University also participates in the program line "European Universities", which condenses and unifies the goals of the Erasmus program.
The Erasmus program was, and is in many ways a pioneer and role model for other mobility programs at RWTH Aachen University. Erasmus will continue to play this role in the next generation of the program, especially in digitalization and in the development of environmentally-friendly measures for Erasmus activities.
In summary, the Erasmus program is a cornerstone for realizing the main goals of RWTH Aachen University's internationalization strategy. RWTH Aachen University is determined and dedicated to continuing the success story of the Erasmus program.