Cultural Adaptation of Erasmus Students in Latvia and Host University Responsibility

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Abstract

Internationalisation of education and student mobility (incoming and outgoing) has become a significant factor in the sphere of higher education. These processes lead to interaction between local students and exchange students, as well as between exchange students and host universities. Being in the foreign country for a certain period (one or two semesters) requires some cultural and social adaptation that could or could not be problematic for various reasons. In order to maximise benefits for the exchange students and host universities, it is important to identify existing problems and to offer possible solutions. The aim of the current paper is to research the critical aspects of cultural adaptation process of ERASMUS students in Latvia. The international group that consists of a professor of the University College of Economics and Culture and three exchange students from Italy and Spain carried out the research. The empirical methods used were the following: a survey of ERASMUS students (non-probability purposive sampling) and semi-structured interviews with the host university ERASMUS coordinators. The data processing methods were the descriptive statistics as well as the thematic content analysis. On the basis of critical issues identified during the research process, the authors worked a set of practical solutions aimed at the host institutions.

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