Sending students to Latin America will help with the “disconnect” in mobility

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According to a consultant, universities all over the world, particularly in the Global North, should send students to Latin America to study, especially given how many students from the region they already enrol.

Universidade de Vila Velha in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo hosted the annual QS Americas conference. Sarah O’Sullivan, who is in charge of the SOS Consultancy’s operations in Latin America, made the remark during a panel discussion on the flow of international students, claiming there was a “disconnect” in terms of mobility.

“There’s a lot of partnership agreements that have reciprocal mobility built in, and a lot of the time the European universities, from my experience, will receive Latin American students but won’t necessarily send students over here,” O’Sullivan told delegates. 

“I would urge universities here to challenge your partners. Why aren’t they sending them? Why aren’t they sent in? What is the issue? Do students in these universities in Europe know about your offer? Do they know the strength of research?” she questioned.

Furthermore, O’Sullivan made it obvious that research and the international office within institutions have their own issues, particularly in terms of communication, which if resolved might result in more mobility in both directions.

On behalf of the universities, José Fernandez, secretary general of Colombia’s Universidad Externado, stressed that South America needed to adopt a “more global” strategy in terms of both recruitment and the geopolitics of education.

Discussions on recruitment were present during the first QS Higher Ed Summit: America’s annual hybrid conference. There were other panels discussing the Sustainable Development Goals, the most recent rankings, and effective international collaborations.

The panellists agreed that while collaborations between the Global North and the Global South seem to be growing, the South will play a “major role” and they will need to develop on more equal terms.

The type of partners universities seek out are those that are on the same level. It makes it more challenging to form deals. As a result, provisions that are “inappropriate for universities in other regions of the world” are established. 

The rankings for Latin America’s universities for 2023, which cover 428 institutions, were released by QS during the conference.

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile was named the region’s top-performing institution once more, closely followed in second and third place by the Universidade de So Paulo.

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