At the 2021 edition of the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo, the world's largest higher education fair, Catalonia will be presenting the new image of Study in Catalonia, the Catalan university system's international brand. With the slogan Stories Of Human Values, this year the protagonists of the Study in Catalonia virtual stand are the students and researchers from all over the world who will be explaining their personal and academic experiences in Catalonia.
To date, since the online platform opened, the Catalan university system's new Study in Catalonia stand has already registered more than 1,500 contacts, and more than 500 online meetings have been scheduled. Catalonia will be represented virtually by 17 professionals from the Inter-university Council of Catalonia (CIC) – a body that comprises the Government of Catalonia and the 12 Catalan universities – and the participating universities, which this year are the UAB, UPF, URL, UdL, UOC, UIC and UAO-CEU.
The NAFSA Expo is the largest meeting of international educators in the world and will be held online from today until 4 June. With more than 70 years of history, the North American conference and expo represents a nexus for international higher education and plays a key role in facilitating collaborations between university systems around the world. This year's event revolves around the theme "Designing our Shared Future".
At the Catalonia stand, NAFSA Expo attendees will hear testimonies that highlight values such as the excellence of the Catalan knowledge system's universities and research centres, the diversity of the programmes offered, the cutting-edge innovation and research taking place or the mentoring provided by professors and researchers that has helped students and researchers with their academic careers. The protagonists of the #StoriesOfHumanValues campaign will also highlight the other strengths of higher education in Catalonia related to the quality of life it offers, its cosmopolitan nature, the richness of its traditions or the beauty of its landscapes and cities. You can access the campaign teaser here.
A quality university system
Catalan universities are characterised by a high quality of teaching and research that has earned them an important place in the different international university rankings. Catalonia's relative position in the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking is as the 11th university system in Europe and the 18th worldwide. Its centres are among the top 100 in the world in up to four subjects in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject for 2021: Economics and Business, Law, Psychology and Art and Humanities. For its part, the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 distinguishes Catalan universities in 45 of the 51 areas of knowledge it analyses.
In terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Catalonia's universities are in the European top 10 and the global top 20, according to the THE SDG ranking. Barcelona is also considered to be the eighth most attractive city in the world for research stays and was in the top 21 of the QS Best Student Cities ranking in 2019.
The university system in Catalonia has always attracted international students, and although this has been affected by mobility restrictions due to the pandemic, the numbers are still above the international average. According to an estimate of the data for the 2020-2021 academic year, enrolment in master's degrees for foreign students has decreased by only two percentage points compared to closed data for the 2019-2020 academic year, standing at 22.7% of the total number of students enrolled. This percentage is above the international average, which shows 13.8% of international students in university classrooms. In the 2019-2020 academic year, Catalan centres registered a total of 3,220 students from the United States of America.