Study/networking visits for top managers

Networking and study trips abroad provide an efficient tool to boost the overall visibility of a higher education institution, including various opportunities for study and work it may offer.

Participating staff members / managers act as ambassadors of their institutions abroad and also expand their own professional expertise and knowledge through the exposure to other institutions' good practice.

Prior research found that informal opportunities for learning sliding into the spaces around formal events were often responsible for unexpected and influential perspective transformations and that these opportunities for learning are often undervalued. It was also proven that international study visits where participants agree their own collective agendas and develop a trusted validating community group are more valuable than transmission models of leadership learning (Andy Cramp, University of Wolverhampton).


Improved skills and knowledge Improved visibility

Basic information

Categories Networking Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff Promotion & Visibility Institutional strategy
Mobility stages Institutional setup
Delivery schedule Periodic
Importance Essential to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups Management staff
Types of contracts of researchers Permanent employee
Career stages of researchers More than 15 years of experience

Practice setup

Institutions can promote and organise study and networking visits abroad through various ways, including exchange agreements with partner institutions, dedicated institutional programmes and higher education sector's flagship events (e.g. international fairs and conferences organised by EAIE, NAFSA, ACA, EUA, etc.).

Participation in such visits should be discussed internally (e.g. based on personal professional development plans) and included in the annual plans depending on available internal or external funds obtained through national or EU funding programmes or other sources. 

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • IRO/welcome centre
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Ministry of Education/Science/Research
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Training plan and programme designed
Description of collaboration

While the study visits can be planned at faculty or central level, universities can proactively consult Ministries of Education and Research or other relevant public agencies which could support such networking trips under national or regional internationalisation support programmes.   

Practice delivery

Implementation can be organised on the basis of annual personal development and institutional plans. 

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • IRO/welcome centre
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Other HEI (not national)
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of trainings implemented annually
  • Number of collaboration agreements with external partners
  • Number of international fairs attended annually
  • Number of fairs with a talk/presentation annually
  • Number of study visits
  • Number of study visit participants
Description of collaboration

Examples of practice

Study tours and exposure visits for professional development

The Center for International Cooperation (CIS) develops and implements interactive study tours and exposure visits for professional development. It offers customized tailor-made training programmes for professionals which meet the specific needs of their organisation. By offering varied programmes that respond to their needs, the CIS strives to have an impact on individual, team and organisational performances.

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Higher Education Management Executive Programme

The Programme is intended for HR and Finance executive leaders and it is divided into five modules, namely: leading higher education in Switzerland; a study trip; leading innovation; leading organisations; leading people.

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