Internationality is an integral part of university of applied sciences operations and its role is becoming increasingly important due to the challenges brought about by globalisation. Internationality is integrated into all aspects of university of applied sciences operations as well as its strategic functions.
Although the international activities and co-operation of universities of applied sciences are extensive, the strongest networks have been established in Europe. Universities also enjoy close co-operation with Asia, Russia and North and South America.
The objective of international activities at a university of applied sciences is to enhance and support the international expertise of students, teachers and other staff. International activities are carried out as a joint effort, involving education, research, the workplace and society at large. Key types of international activities are personnel exchanges, instruction given in a foreign language, "internationalisation at home", and international education, research and development projects.
The establishment of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA, a.k.a. Bologna Process) and the required measures for it are a key aspect of international activities. The aim of the Bologna Process is to enhance the competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education in comparison with other parts of the world.
With implementation of the Bologna Process, Finnish institutions of higher education have adopted a two-cycle degree structure and ECTS and the use of a Diploma Supplement for students.
The Diploma Supplement (DS) is intended for international use. It contains additional information on the degree in question, the institution that granted it, and the educational system of the country in which the degree was earned.
The European Commission grants Diploma Supplement Labels to institutions of higher education that have been exemplary in the use of Diploma Supplements. The Label is valid for four years. In Finland, the Diploma Supplement Label was granted to the following institutions during the 2009 selection round: Pirkanmaa University of Applied Sciences, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and Arcada University of Applied Sciences.