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Title: Andalusian university students’ perception of their European identity: international orientation and experiences
Authors: Méndez García, María del Carmen
Cores-Bilbao, Esther
Abstract: Multicultural European societies increasingly demand internationally oriented citizens, who are willing to actively participate in civic life and able to successfully access the labour market. The European dimension in education supposedly endows youngsters with civic values, multiculturalist attitudes and plurilingual competences which ultimately lead to raising awareness of their Europeanness. Formative years at university, pivotal to students’ individual life course and projects, are a decisive stage in the development of supranational, collective identityformation. Similarly, pan-European study programmes are aimed at inspiring a sense of European citizenship and identity, the most renowned of which within the Higher Education context is Erasmus+. By conducting focus group interviews, this paper probes Andalusian university students’ understanding of their European identity and verifies the causal dynamics between European identity-taking and foreign country sojourns, comparing the perceptions expressed by returnees to those by students who have not had the opportunity to participate in international study programmes (ISP) at higher education yet. Results evidence students’ apparent supranational orientation, general awareness of commonalities across Europe and utilitarian outlooks on the EU, although not a clear discernment of its institutions or a marked European identity.
Keywords: Europeanness
European identity
international study programmes
supranational orientation
supranational identity
Issue Date: 2019
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