Siirry sisältöön
Exploring global education dynamics

The International Services module at Haaga-Helia’s staff week 2024 proved to be a platform to encourage open dialogue on topics that do not receive enough attention.

Published : 21.05.2024

During the staff week of 2024 at Haaga-Helia, participants had the chance to select modules aligned with their interests. Among the offerings, the International Services module had the chance to gather a group of 14 participants from various Haaga-Helia partner institutions worldwide, including representatives from Türkiye, Norway, Mexico, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Latvia.

The module was structured to provide a comprehensive overview of Haaga-Helia’s International Services and areas of work and topic-led discussions on key issues relevant to international services. This article is a summary of the insightful conversations that unfolded.

Understanding student mobility preferences

Participants delved into the evolving trends in student mobility, noting a notable increase in short-term mobilities driven by the popularity of Blended Intensive Programs (BIPs). These programs offer flexibility and inclusivity to both students and teachers as they combine physical mobility with a virtual part (European Commission 2023).

However, predicting future mobility patterns remains challenging due to varying preferences and challenges faced by different partner institutions. For some, lack of funding is still a basic struggle to support mobilities. Others pointed out the crucial role of national politics in the understanding and tendencies of internationalization. Some colleagues highlighted their concern about the continuation of international activities due to the national housing crisis situation.

Addressing mental health and wellbeing

The rise in mental health issues among students sparked a crucial conversation about the role of international offices in supporting student wellbeing. Participants emphasized the importance of communication and collaboration with partners and local services to address these concerns early and effectively. While acknowledging the barriers posed by data privacy, participants stressed the need for basic mental health training for staff as well as closer collaboration with wellbeing services.

Different institutions are in different situations. Some have had challenges with mental wellbeing issues whereas others have not. Even if the matter has been recognized, the correct form of involvement and handling of the issues arising from the institutions and their International Relations´ Offices remains to be clarified. The audience all agreed we needed to pay more attention to this rise and adapt our info sessions accordingly.

Balancing quantity and quality in internationalization

There is a delicate balance between quantitative goals and the quality of international experience. While highlighting the significance of achieving mobility targets, participants underscored the importance of ensuring a high-quality educational experience for both students and staff. Discussion points included aligning study offerings with study programs and maintaining quality in the interinstitutional agreements.

Partners mentioned that selection criteria for mobility are in general quite strict, making the experience only accessible for some. Opening opportunities for students with lower performance was found to be a possible solution, as well as opening the possibility of going to institutions with less rigid requirements and standards. On the other hand, performance and quality have to be met, and some conditions need to be set, for example, completing a minimum number of credits abroad. Some identified that designing a common quality evaluation framework for exchanges would be beneficial for all.

Promoting global citizenship

Participants explored strategies for educating students as global citizens in an ever-changing and diverse world. They recognized the need for a collective understanding of global citizenship and lamented the challenges posed by heavy workloads in International Relations´ Offices all over the world. It has also been observed that the responsibility to behave and act as global citizens extends not only to students but also to all teaching personnel and university staff.

Solutions proposed included dedicating time to post-exchange reflection with students, integrating international experiences into CVs, and fostering a culture of global citizenship across the university, including curriculum design, teaching, activities, group discussions, and campus atmosphere.

The need to continue these conversations with other colleagues was noted. Overall, based on the feedback received, the International Services module proved to be a platform to encourage open dialogue on topics that do not receive enough attention. We are grateful to have received so much knowledge exchange and loads of inspiration to continue improving our work and making students’ and staff’s experiences more engaging and successful.


European commission. 2023. Blended intensive programmes.

Picture: Haaga-Helia