This paper examines international student mobility between member states of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), a group of 47 countries that committed to reforming their higher education systems to improve the comparability and compatibility of degrees. While increased student mobility is a key goal in its official documents, little research has empirically investigated student mobility patterns in respect to the EHEA. The analysis employs multivariate techniques to identify trends in student mobility between 1999 and 2009, using a spatial approach to visualise the relationships between member states as constituted through student mobility flows. Results show that within the analysis timeframe student flows in the EHEA became more even in their distribution, but that in terms of the relationships between states, the EHEA became more centralised and segmented, meaning that key actors mediated exchanges between peripheral states and the region was more easily divided into self-contained clusters. These trends indicate a need to critically reconsider the nature of the EHEA and its role in the globalisation of higher education.
- higher education, mobility, Europe, globalisation