The main objective of the UNICORN project is to offer higher education students a new, unprecedented learning opportunity that will help them to develop the so-called “civic and democratic competences”: civic mindedness, co-operation skills, intercultural skills, openness to cultural otherness, flexibility and adaptability, knowledge and critical understanding of the self and of others, etc. These competences, though not strictly discipline-related, are ever more necessary to deal with the current societal challenges and specifically to act as an active citizen and a competent professional in today’s complex and diverse societies.

In order to achieve these objectives, the UNICORN partnership set up an international mobility scheme for higher education students integrating the service-learning approach. The UNICORN model is in fact a new international service-learning (ISL) scheme that integrates service-learning in the regular student mobility.

 The UNICORN model contributes to other relevant objectives, which are the following:

  • Enhancing the Third Mission and civic engagement activities of EU higher education institutions
  • Reinforcing the collaboration between universities and community for the benefit of both students and of the local/global communities
  • Encouraging the professional development of academics and fostering the adoption of more effective, innovative teaching methods based on experiential/practical/work-based learning
  • Contributing to further encourage international mobility in HE (especially in those disciplines in which it is not yet properly widespread/developed).