International student mobility has become an increasingly important and prominent part of the global higher education landscape over the past two decades (Verbik and Lasanowski, 2007). Despite a long history within Europe, student mobility has increased significantly over recent years partly due to the support and encouragement provided by the Erasmus programme. Since its introduction in 1987, the Erasmus programme has traditionally facilitated student mobility for studies within Europe; however, in 2007 the programme expanded and now also supports student mobility for work placements. There is a growing body of literature on student mobility for the purpose of studies, but student work placement mobility has largely been overlooked in existing research.
This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge and offers a new perspective on student mobility by exploring the drivers, experiences and effects of Erasmus work placement mobility. The UK has performed well in terms of Erasmus work placement mobility compared to its previous performance for Erasmus study abroad and therefore provides an interesting case study for this research. The findings presented in this thesis offer new insights into the motivations, experiences and perceptions of UK students who go abroad in Europe during their undergraduate studies to complete a work placement. Overall, this thesis stresses the importance of assessing subtypes of student mobility and highlights that work placement mobility is very different to study abroad in numerous ways.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.