Becoming Europeans: The relationship between student exchanges in higher education, European citizenship and a sense of European identity

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Since the initiation of the Erasmus programme in 1987, intra-European student exchanges in higher education are expected to promote a sense of European identity and citizenship among European exchange students. Panel studies grasping students’ identification before and after participating in an exchange programme, however, remain remarkably scarce today. Moreover, the few existing studies report conflicting results. This paper adds to this debate, presenting the results of a survey conducted in 2009 and 2010 among non-exchange and exchange students from thirteen European countries, based on a pretest – posttest nonequivalent groups design (n = 400). My analyses did not find any statistically significant differences over time within and between the groups of exchange and non-exchange students, and neither between students with similar identification scores at wave 1. Finally, an analysis of the relationship between social network types and identification patterns did also not yield any significant results. Altogether, these findings suggest the impact of European exchange programmes on European citizenship and a sense of European identity is relatively limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-463
JournalInnovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • EU
  • Erasmus programme
  • Europe
  • WEB
  • repeated measures
  • social interaction
  • student exchange

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