Figure 1. BIPsters visited KONE Corporation, Spring 2023. (Photo: Tarja Chydenius)

The European education concept of Blended Intensive Programs (BIP) changes how both teachers and students see international education opportunities. A cross-institutional educator team plans and executes the course. Students from the participating universities learn to study in a non-native language with different teaching styles and in international teams. This article introduces BIP Masters’ implementations at Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Laurea). Moreover, we define BIPster (#BIPster) as a contemporary actor in this modern educational setting.

Short-term internationalisation online and in-exchange

The European Commission (2024a, 2024b) advances new flexible mobility formats for teachers and students that combine physical mobility with virtual learning as Blended Intensive Programmes (BIPs). Besides the official term, BIPs are sometimes referred to as “Blended International Projects”. Both names coin the essence of the context: transnational and interdisciplinary co-operation as a short-term internationalisation. A typical BIP entails online studies and at least one intensive week, where students get the chance to learn in challenge-based projects with local work life partners (see figure 1). Hence, BIP promotes access to international organisations during the intensive week challenge.

BIPs respond to students’ international education challenges

Statistics (Opetushallitus 2022) indicate decreasing student mobility and universities of applied sciences are still far from the peak years leading up to the pandemic. While mobility interest in total is falling, short mobility opportunities are popular.

BIPs offer internationalisation both abroad and at home. During a BIP, students and staff alike are immersed in new cultural practices in an intercultural context (Gögele and Kletzenbauer 2023). Thanks to its short-term and intensive characteristics, BIPs are more accessible for students. BIPs bring a chance toward inclusive international learning, in contrast to long exchange periods which are often a benefit for the financially privileged only (De Wit 2023).

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(photos: Figure 1. BIPsters visited KONE Corporation, Spring 2023. (Photo: Tarja Chydenius); Figure 2. The French telecommunication company ORANGE invited BIPsters in Paris, Fall 2023. (Photo: Tarja Chydenius); Figure 3. Individuals are embedded within cultures simultaneously (Chydenius 2020) )

Authors: Tarja Chydenius , Päivi Tossavainen LAUREA