Perceptions of European Higher Education in Third Countries

This study investigates the perception of European higher education in third (non – European) countries. It sets out the results of a project conducted between November 2004 and December 2005 by the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) in response to a call for tender issued by the European Commission’s Directorate for Education and Culture. The ultimate aim of the project was to develop recommendations for a European brand on the basis of the “perceptions of European higher education” of a wide range of stakeholders outside of Europe, the core group of which were present and future students in higher education. In other words, the study pursued two overriding aims:

  1. To acquire an in-depth understanding of the current perception of European higher education “in third countries” (i.e. outside of the EU), by identifying the expectations of foreign students, the strengths and weaknesses they perceive in European higher education, as well as by finding out about Europe’s relative standing in comparison with its competitors.This also entailed an investigation into the degree and the sources of information on European higher education which potential international students have.
  2. To advise and make recommendations to the European Commission regarding a European higher education brand, on the key features which such a brand should build on (message), and also on certain aspects of its delivery (sender, instruments and mechanisms).