Students studying in UK universities can expect an international and cosmopolitan education, learning with and from people of all nationalities, gaining new perspectives and beginning to see themselves as citizens of the world. International travel and periods of relocation are already part of higher education for some, yet data indicates that certain groups rarely study abroad. Despite past trends, health students’ use of Erasmus exchanges has been found to be decreasing in recent years. While the complex interplay between personal, academic and career issues means each student’s decision is unique, learning from successful approaches to broader forms of participation is important given how much is known about the personal benefits and mutual rewards of exchange programmes.
A collaborative project between Southampton and Lund Universities offers an alternative to the traditional individual exchange programme, providing short, intensive ‘visits’ to each other’s countries involving all final year students. This report offers findings from Higher Education Academy-funded research into the collaboration, carried out with student researchers and based on a participative, co-researcher methodology. Six pedagogic approaches that promote partnership working are discussed and incorporated into a ‘circles of partnership’ exercise for those interested in developing collaborative exchange schemes.