We're proud to be bringing you the 11th edition of ESNsurvey!

For ESNsurvey 2016, we asked ourselves the question: "How international-friendly are our universities?". Specifically, we sought to understand the role of mobility flows, host-university services, academic adaptation, social adaptation and home-country reintegration in the resulting satisfaction with a study abroad experience.

To compile this report, we surveyed 12,365 homecoming exchange students, 9,454 local students with no mobility experience, 2,176 current exchange students and 537 homecoming trainees for a total of 24,532 responses, the highest ever garnered by ESNsurvey.

Key Findings

Student migration in Europe

  • Longer stays lead to more social interactions with members of the local community and therefore to better local integration.
  • The destination itself doesn’t play an important role in students’ satisfaction.
  • Only 10.2% of students considered that 80% or more of their expenses were covered.
  • Mobility triggers mobility - 70% of the respondents were interested in pursuing a Master’s degree abroad after their exchange experience.

Services for international students

  • 87% of incoming exchange students were given an introductory presentation, while 83% were offered a local language course.
  • Only 48% of the total number of respondents were actually assigned a buddy.

Academic adaptation

  • 80% of respondents report experiencing no discrimination based on their status.
  • 90% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that host professors gave useful support.
  • Overall satisfaction with studies abroad was higher when respondents agreed that professors supported the interaction of students from different countries.
  • Creating an international-friendly environment is very important for a positive exchange experience.

Social adaptation

  • Exchange students whose host-universities offered more social activities made more friends in all the possible social groups.
  • International students who were accommodated with locals had more local friends than students who were not.
  • Both exchange students (33%) and local students (35%) believe there are not enough opportunities for the two groups to interact.
  • International students that are more satisfied with the social programme, rate higher the satisfaction level of their overall stay abroad

Re-integration and post-mobility

  • Close to 70% of the respondents believe that re-entry services should be offered to students after their return from abroad.
  • 93% of the former exchange students would be interested in migrating abroad for work.


Mikuláš Josek (ed.), Jaume Alonso i Fernández, Adriana Perez-Encinas, Bojana Zimonjić, Laura De Vocht and Marie-Céline Falisse.

The Project

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.
  • Getting a better insight into student issues in order to represent their real needs.

To view previous reports of ESNsurvey, visit esn.org/esnsurvey.