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Internationalisation at Home on the Agenda at ASEF-supported Training Event

Corporate News


16 May 2019

32 participants from 12 universities based in 6 ASEAN countries – this was the setting of the ARISE (ASEAN Region International Student Engagement) Training & Conference, held this May at the premises of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) as part of the ASEF Outreach Programme.

Organised by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and inspired by the success of the European Union’s longstanding Erasmus+ programmeARISE is a pilot initiative to empower ASEAN students to facilitate internationalisation at their home universities, and to support international students studying in ASEAN countries.

The event began on the morning of Thursday 4th May with an encouraging opening speech by Ambassador Barbara PLINKERT, the Ambassador of the European Union to Singapore.

Indeed, internationalisation in higher education has been an increasingly important theme in ASEAN cooperation in recent years. As reported by University World News, a British Council-funded study in 2018 found that almost all national governments in the region have demonstrated high-level commitments to internationalisation through the mobility of students, researchers and academic programmes, as a means of developing an ASEAN identity.

In his welcome speech to participants, ASEF’s Executive Director Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE highlighted the relevance of the conference to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEMProcess, particularly with the 7th ASEF Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC7) and the 7th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME7) taking place later the same month.

As a prelude to rest of the event, a panel discussion on the topic of Internationalisation at Home in Asia was hosted, featuring representatives from the National University of Singapore, University Kebangsaan Malaysia and the SHARE Programme.

Students are the ambassadors of universities and their programmes, and through exchange, this benefits higher education as a whole,” said Mr Jacob O’QUINN, Manager at NUS’ Global Relations/Study Abroad Office.

Panel discussion at the ARISE Training & Conference.

The diversity of the panel showcased broad support to internationalisation by a range of stakeholders. The EU-funded SHARE Programme, run by a consortium consisting of the British Council and the education agencies of Germany, The Netherlands and France, has since 2015 worked on developing an ASEAN credit transfer system and providing scholarships for student exchange in the region.

Following the panel, the event took on a more practical tone with a training component, led by a team of mobility experts from the Brussels-based ESN. The training featured the participation of 13 staff representatives from ASEAN universities and 16 students active in the field of internationalisation on campus. Through non-formal education methodologies, a unique blend of 30 years of European academic mobility experience and practical on-the-ground knowledge of ASEAN peoples and universities was created.

Among the topics covered were Quality Mobility, Mobility Programmes in ASEAN, Cultural Integration and Student Support Services. The 3-day programme saw the exchange of practices across Asia and Europe, with participants and trainers alike sharing their experiences on interacting with international students and running volunteer-led organisations that support them, as well as collaborations between university staff and students.


ARISE was organised by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) in partnership with the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) and the OCEANS Network. The event was supported by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and funded by the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance (ESAA).

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