Julio Theiler, Montevideo Group

Student mobility is an excellent means not only to improve cooperation but to improve the training of the university graduate

How is your participation in this meeting on Mobility and Regional Integration created?
Everything arises from the initiative of CONSUAN (Andean University Council) who decided to analyze the possibility of promoting a student and academic mobility program among the institutions that comprise it. I believe that with very good judgment, he called a working meeting to which he added people from a network of universities with experience in the subject, such as the Montevideo Group university association. As this program (of the Montevideo Group) was born in 1999, that is, it is almost 15 years old and I was one of the program's designers, so since that time I have been working systematically on this, I want to make a technical contribution from experience to try to better design this particular job.

What are the conclusions of the meeting?
These have been very interesting days, and you can see from the experts present, people from the different associations, from CONSUAN, the European Union, German and French Cooperation and us, the Montevideo Group, that there is a very interesting basis to promote this mobility. We must recognize that in Latin America it is still not very intense, for example, students from Chile do not have many possibilities to do an academic semester in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru or Colombia and I believe that this program can solve this problem. We are convinced that student mobility is an excellent means not only to improve cooperation and the quality of universities, but also to improve the training of university graduates, because not everything is a classroom and books. This hidden curriculum that is very important for the training of a university graduate is greatly enriched by mobility.

What is the main difficulty for mobility in our countries?
The lack of dialogue in the higher education systems of our countries. I believe that this is the reason why, in Latin America, we still have several pending subjects on matters of cooperation for our students. It is very good that they migrate to other regions, to Europe or the United States, but there is a lot of work and a lot of potential in our universities that is not taken advantage of by our sister countries.

What is your expectation regarding this first meeting?
That a pilot program of student mobility is born in 2015, among the five associations of rectors involved and that in the second semester of 2015 we are with a group of approximately 100 mobilized students, taking subjects and semesters in other universities.

What is the contribution of the Montevideo Group in this task?
The Montevideo Group is based in Uruguay, but brings together 30 universities from six different countries, including Chile. Our experience is to have mobilized more than 4 thousand students in these 15 years, since the program exists we have been very successful, because young people have an international experience very early in their life, at 20 they see that the world is not the of their city and their university, they understand that diversity is a substantial part of the world and of their professional future.

Andean Mobility: Interviews with the protagonists of the meeting organized by Cruch

See the interview with Elizabeth Colucci, European Association Universities, USA

See the Interview with Julio Theiler, Montevideo Group

See the Interview with Nicolás Patrici, Ulises project coordinator (OBREAL) and Universitat de Barcelona: