The focus of this year´s edition is to investigate the "International experience and language learning". The survey for the first time also explores full-degree mobility. Additionally we explore the added value and satisfaction with student organisations. More than 22 000 respondents makes the results very valid and worth paying attention to.



Key findings

Obstacles for Mobility

  • Financial issues and personal ties are still major obstacles for students to become mobile. However, lack of information, fear of recognition problems, long bureaucratic procedures, doubts about the quality of studies abroad or the fear of prolonged studies still play a role in the minds of potential students.
  • More than 57% of non-mobile students consider financial issues to be the most important obstacle for mobility.

Finances and Work Opportunities during Mobility

  • Amongst the non-mobile students, 76% would consider studying abroad if they were guaranteed a part-time job or a paid internship in the host country

Satisfaction with Studies and Stay Abroad

  • On a scale from 1 to 5 (5 indicating highest satisfaction), students’ rate for satisfaction with their stay abroad rose up to 4.4 but their satisfaction with studies abroad remained stable at 3.9.

Learning a Language when Studying Abroad

  • Students generally improve the language of tuition after their stay abroad. This is particularly true for English (34%), German (43.7%), French (61.9%), Spanish (68.3%) and Italian (75.8%).
  • Independently to the language of tuition, 83% of students are willing to learn the local language of their host country. It is important to note that in countries where the abovementioned languages are not the local language, 74% of students are willing to learn the local language.
  • Only one third of the mobile students have attended a language course in their home countries. This figure decreases to 19% for languages other than English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
  • During their exchange, 43% of students attended free language courses but 14% of them had to pay for their language classes.
  • 61% of students continue practicing their Erasmus languages after their period abroad.
  • 66% of students who attended “Language Tandem” activities improved their local language skills whilst only 54.5% of those who did not attend improved their language abilities.

Full Degree Mobility**

  • Reasons why students do not take a full degree abroad include the fear of losing personal ties, lack of information and the fear of not obtaining recognition.
  • Students who do participate in full-degree mobility seek a personal challenge, an international environment or learning a new language.

Problems with Degree Recognition**

  • 9.0% of students that have taken a full degree abroad encounter problems with regards to the recognition of their degree.
  • Foreign degree recognition issues occur particularly in connection with further education, state employment and for regulated professions. Many students complain about long, and sometimes costly, administrative procedures for recognition.
  • Tools such as the Lisbon Recognition Convention are not widely known amongst students and almost 50% of individuals that did not get their degree recognised indicate not having turned to potential support organisations (such as national students’ unions or NARICs).

Student Organizations and their Help to Students

  • In comparison to previous years, the percentage of students’ awareness concerning the existence of ESN continues to increase.
  • Further emphasis on integrating exchange students into the local community should be made.

** ESN created a detailed document concerning the problem with the degree recognition. The research provides closer insight from a student perspective based upon data from the ESNSurvey 2014. More detailed information about this issue can be found in here, (Author: Emanuel Alfranseder).


Authors: Jesús Escrivá Muñoz (ed.), Emanuel Alfranseder, Paula Danciu, Julia Fellinger, Roberta Piscone, Sandra Rimavičiūtė, Jurgita Stasiukaitytė.

Note: ESNSurvey 2012 was renamed to 2013 according to the year of publication of the booklets and not to the publication of the questionnaire.

The Project

The ESNSurvey is the biggest regular European research project planned and carried out entirely by students for students. It is conducted annually and surveys students at higher education institutions. ESN shares the results with the main stakeholders in higher education and mobility programmes.

ESNSurvey aims at:

  • Exploring current issues connected to academic and non-academic mobility and education.
  • Gettting a better insight into student issues in order to represent their real needs.