Training students to be citizens of the world is one of the University’s core missions. We strive to help them understand scientific, economic and political issues, cultural richness and diversity, the differences between North and South, and geopolitical risks, and wish to help them discover and share the experiences of young foreign academics in order to understand that the world has more common challenges than differences. Some of our students can achieve this goal by completing one or more mobility placements. For others, who, for whatever reason, have not (yet) had the opportunity to visit other countries, the University must act by bringing the world to them.
The University’s missions are largely entrusted to the International Relations Office (SRI), which manages the many conventions established between UMONS and its foreign partners, as well as development cooperation, and all aspects related to incoming and outgoing mobility. All of these are essential assets for developing the internationalisation of our institution. These missions are also carried out by many colleagues, individually for the most part, through teaching, research and expertise missions, as well as by inviting foreign students, researchers and professors to collaborate with our University.
Led by the Rector and the Vice-Rector for International Relations and Mobility, the University’s missions are divided into three main axes:
- International mobility: the conditions for balanced exchanges with our partners must be defined (e.g. medium- and long-term mobility opportunities (≥ 3 months) to be included in our course programmes); knowledge about short-term mobility (<3 months) must be improved, as it is developed in some faculties, but is not very visible; mobility initiated by the SRI (e.g. Apéro-Erasmus and, as a joint collaboration with the Centre for Modern Languages (CLV), TandeMons) which encourages meetings between foreign students and those who have already come back from being abroad; students can be encouraged further by our offering them foreign language courses in their study programmes and by promoting cultural and historical heritage.
- “At home” internationalisation: the aim here is to combine and promote the many individual initiatives to develop an institutional and integrated concept of “travelling without moving”. For example, teaching courses in foreign languages, including international topics in the content of various courses, being aware of development cooperation, promoting public seminars given by visitors from the international scientific community (possibly in their mother tongue, with simultaneous translation by FTI-EII students), Belgian students hosting and tutoring international students, organising summer courses, consequently putting our students in contact with international students, and creating an “international newspaper”, which highlights the incoming and outgoing opportunities and the international activities of the UMONS community.
- Development cooperation: the aim here is to strengthen the vision of UMONS, “to be better in the South“. As such, UMONS, through our involvement with ARES, is actively developing university cooperation and is increasing its contribution to teaching and research in the South. This is all achieved through many informal actions, such as offering specialised courses and by training teachers, researchers and administrative and technical staff, either here in Mons or in the original country. Those involved in these cooperation activities naturally become better acquainted with each other through meeting and sharing experiences, which then leads to the development of further collaborations and multidisciplinary projects. UMONS proudly promotes the newly created Fonds Action Sud to ensure that students are made aware of all that the South has to offer, as well as the problems they face, and will continue to develop Campus Plein Sud actions and propose a structure for their initiatives.
The Rector and the Vice-Rector for International Relations and Mobility coordinate all of these activities by leading and supervising the smooth running of the International Relations Office, treating all aspects of international communication and the administrative management of long- and short-term mobility. The Vice-Rector for International Relations and Mobility acts as the academic reference point for issues related to international relations. He meets regularly with international partners and often receives foreign delegations visiting UMONS in order to develop new strategic conventions for our institution.
Without a doubt, the aim is to consolidate the status of UMONS as an international university, both through the international representation of its researchers and students, and by welcoming and promoting its visitors from all over the world.
Vice-Rector for International Relations and Mobility.
Tel: +32 65 37 35 09