Twenty years have passed since the EU launched the Erasmus Program, a first step in a political process made to enhance academic mobility. This is enough time to ask the question: How does the student's and teacher's mobility affect the field of Social Sciences in the EU? A network of twenty-five young PhD students and researchers from Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Italy and the Czech Republic has been set up in 2006 in order to find an answer to this question, focusing its research on History, Geography and Sociology. In November 2007, a first product of this work will be published, the Guide to Social Sciences Studies in Europe.

This book is directed towards students, teachers, researchers and international relations officers of universities interested in studying / teaching abroad. The researching and writing is still in progress. However, we would like to present and discuss the underlying approach, and to draw first conclusions. In a first step of the project, each discipline has been analyzed in its national context from a 'practical' (institutional and pedagogical), historical and epistemological point of view.

The main questions here are: How did each discipline develop and how has it been institutionalized in a national context? How are History, Geography and Sociology defined, i.e. how do they relate to each other and to other disciplines, what is their focus, their scope and their objects of study? What were / what are the predominant paradigms and the leading scholars in teaching and research? What influence do they have outside their country and how are they themselves subject to external influences? Academic disciplines are established, recognized and defined within a Higher Education context. It is therefore necessary to ask how the system of higher education works, how it is organized and what are its underlying assumptions on teaching and learning.

These aspects are especially interesting for students and teachers who are going to study and to work in a system which might be extremely different from what they are used to, and thus extremely puzzling at first. A systematic comparison between the results of this first phase allows us to point out a few crucial issues, some of which will be discussed at the conference. One issue concerns the implementation of the Bologna Process by the Member States, and the influence of this process on the field of Social Sciences. The Bologna Process has a strong impact on the national Higher Education systems. Yet this impact is very different in each country, affecting the whole system or merely 'scratching' its surface.

One hypothesis is that interdisciplinary curricula (especially at Master's degree) and European accreditation systems tend to reduce communication barriers between national traditions on one hand and academic disciplines on the other hand. II Another issue is the impact of student's mobility on the objects, the methods and the practices of their academic disciplines. Do students become 'go-betweens', building bridges between national traditions by citing foreign authors and adapting theories and methods unknown in their home countries to study national or regional subjects? No scientific study seems so far to have addressed this issue in detail.

Concerning the Erasmus Program, the inclusion of foreign students in the normal teaching process of the host university is a huge challenge. How to deal with an increasingly internationalized educational context from the perspectives of lecturers and students? Language teaching, special learning requirements, special pedagogical practices, cross-cultural experienced based content, pedagogical and curricula development are to be invented and developed. It is an objective of this network to compare different approaches and to promote a European discourse on these questions. This process will last, in fact it is a neverending story. Hence the Guide to Social Sciences Studies in Europe will hopefully be translated in the near future and 'enlarged' to other countries and other social sciences.