Student mobility plays an important role for both students and governments. For students, overseas study offers an opportunity to experience new cultures and be exposed to new ways of thinking. For governments, student mobility is a strategic tool for building stronger people-to-people relations around the world. Australia has a strong tradition of international mobility; approximately one in five Australian undergraduate students complete an overseas educational experience.
COVID-19 has resulted in study exchanges and mobility programs being cancelled across Australia and the globe. Enforced immobility has made us reckon with some fundamental questions:
- What is student mobility and what is its value?
- Can in-country experiences be replicated online?
- What can be done to build people-to-people relations when travel is impossible?
- How can we improve student mobility in the future, especially through better utilisation of technology?
Now is the time to ask these questions—a pause in international travel provides an opportune moment to improve how we approach mobility. This Dialogue will document student perspectives and ideas to assist in re-imagining mobility programs in a post-COVID-19 world.