Incubator of ideas

Oct 04, 2021


The system of higher education as the world knows it can trace its roots back several centuries to  medieval Europe. In fact, nine of the world’s 10 oldest universities that are still in operation are located in Western Europe.

The birthplace of humanism and the scientific method, Europe continues to play a huge part in shaping the lives of billions of people around the world – from ideas that have improved the lot of ordinary people to the technological innovations that have made everyday life more convenient and extended life expectancies.

Many centuries after, thousands of young people from around the world still travel to Europe wanting to secure an education that can improve their lives, as well as those of their families and communities back home.

And as travel got easier and more affordable and as countries got richer, universities began to reach out to colleagues around the world, knowing that closer interaction among them and the increased interaction of students will benefit their own institutions, countries, and the entire world as a whole.

“The internationalization of higher education can have positive effects. International students bring a different perspective into the classroom and society. Internationalization also breeds mutual understanding and encourages the learning of foreign languages.

Last but not least, global challenges, like sustainable development goals (SDGs), also demand international cooperation,” said Dutch Ministry of Education Spokesperson Michiel Hendrikx.

Meanwhile, as China continues to grow into one of the world’s largest economies, millions of Chinese students have had the opportunity to study abroad. The upward trend has continued, with tens of thousands choosing to head to Europe to study.

“In China, science and technology are developing quite rapidly, so there is a lot of room for even scientific cooperation with them. We would like to welcome Chinese students to Finland and share with them an alternative way of studying so they gain a more global perspective,” said Education Finland Program Director Jouni Kangasniemi.

“Finland’s higher education is also known for partnerships that provide real-life work experience, so that students are not doing only theoretical studies but also learning by applying the knowledge they gained in the classroom,” Kangasniemi added.

Education in Western Europe 2021 was prepared for and originally printed in Forbes China magazine.

PDF of the printed report

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