Desafío and Arriago: A new approach to student mobility

Desafío and Arriago: A new approach to student mobility

The “Desafío” and “Arraigo” programs originated in 2018 with the collaboration between the University of Zaragoza and the Provincial Council of Zaragoza. In four editions, more than 70 students of different bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university participated. This program brilliantly reverses student mobility by allowing finally-year students and recent graduates to do internships in both public and private institutions in what is known as the “Fourth Space”, that is, in town and villages with less than 3,000 inhabitants. Throughout this time, among others students of the bachelor programs of Social Work, History of Art, Economics, Veterinary Medicine, Tourism, Fine Arts, Law, Information and Documentation, Marketing and Market Research, as well as master’s degrees in Productive Operations and Logistics or Heritage Management have participated. Their practices have been developed in locations such as the Campo of Daroca, Bajo Cinca, Calatayud, Ribera Alta del Ebro, Ribera Baja del Ebro, Valdejalón, Tarazona and Moncayo.

All participants share the desire to gain work experience but also a vital experience in creative and innovative organizations in small municipalities. This year, in the province of Zaragoza alone, the program has had more than 300 applications and already has the support of 60 entities where students can do their internships. In addition, in 2021 this initiative has been extended to the provinces of Teruel and Huesca and thanks to the UNITA-Rural Mobility program funded by the Provincial Council of Zaragoza, it will have for the first time twenty international students from UNITA partners (https://univ-unita.eu/).

Desafío” has been recognized as an exemplary practice on a continental scale by European networks such as Euromontana, and has received several awards, such as the 18th Expansion Award for Innovation in Human Resources (2020), the Award for Social responsibility in Aragon (2019) and the Excellent Universities Award in the Employability category.

“Thanks to Rural Desafío, the company where I am doing the internship offered me a job and I accepted it” Jennifer Lafuente-Marketing and Market Research student.

“After finishing the internship I will continue working with the company. I have been able to meet local companies and those working in rural areas. I have discovered new perspectives and aspects that I have never considered”. Patricia B. D. Chemistry student.

“All my life thinking that work opportunities where in cities, now this interesting opportunity arises” Miguel Cañas, Cultural Heritage Management student.

“In rural areas is sometimes difficult to find qualified staff. And the horizon for students is usually the cities. Here we bring together supply and demand, we help break down the initial barrier and show that this way of life can be attractive”, Luis Antonio Sáez, former director of the Chair on Depopulation and Creativity at the University of Zaragoza.

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