The educational programs of the Universidad Europea del Atlántico promote collaboration and cooperation among nations to enrich students’ education in a genuinely international context. The educational model guarantees in this way effective results as an investment that goes beyond the basic education based on individual and institutional knowledge and learning. One of the main objectives of the University is to reach international projection, especially with European and non-European Spanish-speaking countries, given that more than six hundred million people are users of Spanish. Latin America and Spain share values, beliefs, history, cultural references, aesthetic tastes, and much more.
The educational model is based on pedagogical innovation that facilitates, strengthens, and drives the formative process that implies learning in an environment of the highest quality. This leads to:
- Students that learn to manage multicultural contexts, especially important in the international business world of today.
- Promotion of cooperation and reciprocity: learning as an international collective effort.
- Making the most of the possibilities that information technology offers to interact with people and institutions from other countries.
- Stimulating and strengthening continuous communication and interaction among faculty and students from different countries.
- Implementation of strategies to form alliances with universities and institutions of other countries.
- Promotion of integrating foreign students through cooperation and exchange, and through strong language programs.
- Individualized learning programs that take into account individual students and how they learn.
The international character of the university will allow for students to participate in the ERASMUS+ program through cooperation agreements between other universities and the Universidad Europea del Atlántico. Faculty and staff will also be encouraged to participate in research projects with European and Latin American universities. The exchange and cooperation programs will benefit the entire university community.
The Universidad Europea del Atlántico has access to a large number of higher education institutions in Latin American partner countries because of its association with the Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER). As an independent and fully accredited Spanish institution, it is currently in the process of confirming the commitment to Latin American universities, and is now looking toward European universities within the ERASMUS program. Partners are being considered based on criteria that include compatibility with the academic programs offered, with language requirements, and with a focus on the development of professional skills, including the possibilities of carrying out practicums.
The geographical areas that are particularly interesting include Latin America, which is already a solid part of the university’s international relations. The university is now progressing quickly with identifying and contacting partners in Europe (England, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Italy, and Ireland), Africa (Senegal, Kenya and Nigeria) and China.
The principal objectives of the mobility activities will be student exchanges at all levels (first and second cycles), faculty exchanges, and staff exchanges. The university also has an extensive offering of double degrees that will be developed further into joint degrees with other institutions.
Organization of The Erasmus+ Program
The Universidad Europea del Atlántico, in close association with the Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER), participates in cooperation projects both with European and non-European entities. The intention of the university is to intensify the activity, especially with regard to projects that link European countries with Latin American countries, where the university has numerous university partners.
It is of profound interest to the university to participate both as a leader and as a partner in projects with universities that share interests. The areas that will be targeted are business, nutrition, sport science, languages, psychology and engineering. The idea is to search for projects proposed by other universities or to generate projects within the university that will be cross-disciplinary in nature. That is to say that projects that cover more than one academic area (languages and psychology, nutrition and sports, engineering and languages), should benefit students and faculty. The outcomes will be beneficial both for the participating universities as well as for the regions where they are located.
Outcomes should be relevant for university and society, for teaching and research, and for development and innovation.
The Universidad Europea del Atlántico, through the office of CITICAN, will channel and manage cooperation projects.
CITICAN currently exists at the university and has an organizational structure that includes directive and administrative personnel. It already participates actively in local, regional and international projects. The objective now is to widen the scope of this activity to reach a larger international relevance. It is, therefore, necessary to count on the support of ERASMUS+ in order to promote more projects in more diverse areas, and with the full participation of all the members of the university community.
Impact of Erasmus+
The European Commission has established five priorities for higher education in the European Union. They are:
- Increasing the number of higher education graduates.
- Improving the quality and relevance of teaching and learning.
- Promoting mobility of students and staff and cross-border cooperation.
- Strengthening the “knowledge triangle”, linking education, research and innovation.
- Creating effective governance and funding mechanisms to higher education.
The Universidad Europea del Atlántico was created as the result of fourteen years of international cooperation in higher education by its founding organization the Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER). In its second year of operation, the Universidad Europea del Atlántico has a clear vision of making its international objectives one of the mainstays of the higher education experience.
In spite of being a small institution, the international reach of the university is already extensive in Latin America because of the relations through FUNIBER. It is now the priority of the university to enter into the ERASMUS+ program so that it may create links with European institutions while continuing to build on programs in partner countries in Latin America and other geographical regions of the world; namely Asia and Africa.
The university is located in a small region of Spain, which is in the process of becoming more internationalized. It is, therefore, a goal of the university to send its students to European institutions to broaden their experience and for them to become familiar with their professions beyond their small region. It is also the vision of the university to bring students from program and partner countries to study in this region, to enrich the multicultural context within the university as well as to integrate these students into the region. In the long run, the intention is to internationalize the university, and beyond the university to the business community so as to improve the international possibilities of a region that needs modernization and employment possibilities that may be generated through international relations.
The professional areas that will benefit from the internationalization of the university are the languages, education, psychology, sports sciences and nutrition, business and engineering. Each of these areas focuses on the development of professional skills including language proficiency and international study and practicums. All of these study programs are fully accredited and include cultural and linguistic knowledge as part of the curricula.
Faculty are also selected based on their proficiency in more than one language and experience with other cultures. In this way, some classes may be taught English and will be seen through an international perspective. Faculty are encouraged to participate in the internationalization of the university by helping to establish research and development with colleagues from other institutions, both European and non-European. Many of the faculty have already been involved with collaborative research and will continue to do so within the ERASMUS+ context.