Since the launch of the Erasmus program in 1987, millions of students have spent periods at universities in countries other than those in which they study permanently, and the Erasmus generation has become the symbol of a new way of understanding university education, enriched with international and intercultural dimensions. Yet, there are still many students who can not take part in physical mobility exchanges for various reasons (e.g. economic, personal, health, work, etc.), and these students risk missing out the opportunity to live an intercultural and international experience during their university careers. Furthermore, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly blocked the mobility flows and froze thousands of students who suddenly found themselves facing unexpected and unpredictable problems related to their study experience abroad, in Europe and globally.
Although the emergency of dealing with those students has passed, the near future still appears extremely uncertain and complex. At the same time, it offers a unique opportunity to rethink students mobility in innovative ways, both regarding the use of digital technology to complement and enrich traditional mobility, and to design more resilient and inclusive mobility schemes centered on the needs of students in search of a global dimension to their education that can help them acquire fundamental soft skills such as intercultural communication, teamwork, digital literacies and critical thinking. This can be done by introducing blended mobility, which complements possibly shorter mobility periods with experiences of Virtual Exchange.