Since its establishment in 1919 Comenius University (CU) maintains and widens its international relations with significant European educational institutions. After the so called Velvet Revolution and the fall of the totalitarian regime in 1989 the portfolio of bilateral agreements between CU and its thirteen faculties was significantly widened. The fact that CU as the oldest and biggest university educational institution in Slovakia fulfills the role of “national university” and belongs to the most important European university associations plays an important role in this field. It is the member of European University Association (EUA), Network of Universities of the Capitals of Europe (UNICA), Utrecht Network, Danube Rector’s Conference (DRC), European Association of International Education (EAIE), Virtual Technology Library Systems (VTLS) and many other. The fact that since May 1, 2004 Slovak Republic has been the member of the European Union and since 2000 also the member of OECD is of high importance too. In connection to CU participation in the Lifelong Learning Program/Erasmus program (LLP/, Erasmus since January 1, 2007, Erasmus+ since June 1, 2014) the number of bilateral agreements entered among faculties of CU and their foreign partners grew considerably.
The Faculty of Management (FM) belongs among the youngest faculties at CU. It was established in 1991 as a response to the demand for education in the field of management in Master studies as it is in similar schools in the USA as well as around the world. Comenius University entered the SOCRATES program in 1998, while Slovakia still was an associated country, and FM UK took part in international projects LLP within this program which were aimed at internship in abroad and in this very first year 40 students of our faculty participated and spent 6 months gaining specialized experience in Germany, but also in Belgium, Spain and Norway. Later we entered the program of study and first universities which accepted our students were in Groningen, Gent and Udine. These were partner universities from projects TEMPUS and altogether 15 students traveled abroad. Since then the situation has radically changed.
FM CU belongs among the most successful faculties not only at Comenius University but also within the whole of Slovakia with the highest number of students studying for a term abroad through the ERASMUS program. Every year the faculty increased the number of bilateral agreements and in academic year 2016/2017 there were 150 foreign universities and colleges of different types offered for mobility within Europe and in Turkey.
Most schools are situated in Spain, Germany, France, Turkey, Poland and Portugal, but also in popular countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Island, Ireland, Finland, Norway and Estonia. About 200 students travel abroad every year for a minimum of one semester while many prolong their stay for another semester.
Erasmus+ project and all previous ones have been aimed at student reciprocity. The situation has also changed since 2004. In these early years we had 5 to 10 students from abroad studying at our faculty while lately the numbers are the same or even higher as of our students going abroad. Our faculty offers complex instruction of compulsory subjects and compulsory electives in English and according to the number of applying students we are also able to offer many elective subjects in English too, both on the Bachelor as well as Master level of studies. Mobility in doctoral studies is slowly beginning too. We have noticed that departments are trying to offer the possibility of research also to foreign students which is not so easy. It is also significant that our teachers of English accept foreign students in their classes and that way they are able to enhance their language skills, namely students from Turkey, Spain, France and Portugal. The Faculty of Management CU has become quite popular in abroad and foreign students coming back home spread its good name at their Alma mater and thus the number of students coming to study here increases every year; many come and spent one semester while about a third of foreign students arrive for a whole academic year.
Every year students of our faculty win competitions among students from all faculties of Comenius University and go study abroad outside Europe, to the USA, Australia and Taiwan.
Quality specialized preparation as well as language skills and the painstaking work of the foreign department create wonderful conditions for students to be able to study abroad and thus credit rating of FM CU is enhanced among similar schools.
The Palm award given by EDUNIVERSAL agency with its headquarters in Paris, is given to best managerial schools in the world (it compares mora than 12 000 schools, which are chosen from about 20 000 schools). According to the number of Palms a school belongs among the given fifth of best thousand business schools. The faculty has been ranked among 400 best managerial schools with three Palms in the recent years.
Of course ERASMUS+ internship is also possible for students of our faculty, who can apply after Bachelor studies and gain their compulsory specialized experience in a foreign company and the faculty accepts such an internship and gives 21 credits in accordance with the study regulations of FM CU. In the previous years within ERASMUS LLP the faculty and foreign department prepared projects with allocated finances aiming at internships of students as well as fresh graduates and there were several successful years in this effort. After years the administration of internships has been moved to the rector’s office and since last academic year internship for fresh graduates has been made possible too.
Internship means a term spent in a company or other organization in a country eligible for Erasmus+ program. The goal of internship is to help individuals adapt for the demand of the work market, gain specialist/practical skills and better understand the economic and social environment of the host country together with gaining work experience and language skills. It is a great advantage that each student can look up the place to go for internship on his own as he knows what is the field and country he would like to gain new experience in.
Last but not least ERASMUS+ project offers possibilities of teacher mobility which is especially meant for teachers shortly after earning their PhD. The faculty makes efforts to make this kind of mobility more popular with teachers. Teacher mobility is a good take-off platform for foreign activities of teachers. We cooperate with universities which have offered this possibility for several years and teachers are hosted and can participated in the teaching process for example in Lille or Vilnius, Riga, Brno, La Coruña.
Finally, it could be said that the Faculty of Management of Comenius University in Bratislava has many international activities but certainly the most successful one is the ERASMUS+ project.