The program of the European Union, named after the Dutch humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam, is one of the most successful instruments of the Union. Since its creation in 1987 it has enabled 3 million students to study or work abroad for a period of up to one year. By 2020, Erasmus+ plans to increase this number further by an additional million.
In today’s analysis, find out:
* Why Erasmus is not only an exchange, but an experience,
* Why its easier to find work for Erasmus students,
* How to apply for an exchange and how to get financing,
* And who the H** was Erasmus.
Erasmus Programme (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is a student exchange program of the European Union, established in 1987. The Erasmus+ is a new programme starting from 2014, which combines all of the current schemes of student exchanges, internships, exchanges of academic staff and teachers. Since 1987, Erasmus scholarships were distributed to over 3 million students, a study by the European Commission shows.
The Erasmus program is an extremely simple way for a student to spend a semester or two abroad. Erasmus allow for domestic and foreign University to agree on the recognition of students’ obligations during their stay abroad. At the same time Erasmus also works as a financial instrument. Young people who choose to participate in the exchange program receive a grant for the duration of their time abroad, which contributes significantly to the ability of students to travel. The Erasmus+ Programme includes all EU Member States, Macedonia, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and partner countries of the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans.
“Erasmus internship was the best decision of my life.” – Kaja (Slovene on her internship in Italy)
LABOUR MARKET FAVOURS EX-ERASMUS STUDENTS, THE EXPERIENCE IS IRREPLACEABLE
It seems that the European labour market favours those with international experience. The most recent study on the effects of the Erasmus Programme shows that the probability that the former Erasmus students risk long-term unemployment, compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad, is twice smaller. Five years after graduation a quarter less of Erasmus students are unemployed than their peers who have not chosen to spend part of their studies abroad.
Erasmus exchange is not only study and work. Young people develop also those personality traits that are highly valued among employers. Among others these are qualities such as tolerance, self-esteem, problem solving skills, curiosity, knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses, and determination, shows the research done by the European Commission.
“Erasmus exchange has taught me that I can live anywhere as long as I remain my own best friend. If I also have true friends by my side, everything becomes even simpler. – Klavdija (Slovenian student on exchange in Germany)
Erasmus exchange is an “experience”. For the majority of young people who participate in the programme, this is the first experience of living in a foreign country. The Erasmus Programme seems to have developed a kind of cultural phenomenon, where young people find themselves in unfamiliar situations, in a country where they do not understand the language and where they have to take care of themselves. The result is an extremely fast socialization and community building with other foreign students, which dismantles stereotypes and creates close friendships. The figures even show that almost a third of students who have participated in the Erasmus programme found their life partner on exchange. The result are one million babies born to Erasmus parents since 1987. A life of Erasmus students was shown in movies like L’Auberge Espagnole and Erasmus 24 7.
How Erasmus Programme will affect Europe as a continent in the long run, is a matter of academic debate. Most likely however, it will have a significant contribution to shaping the European identity and in the coming decades we can expect leaders, who will lead their countries and the European Union in innovative ways, also due to their student exchange experiences.
“Erasmus is not only a student exchange, but a life experience. Lately, all I do during my holidays is visit the people I’ve met in Prague.” – Uroš (Slovenian student on exchange in the Czech Republic)
ERASMUS + AND WHERE TO APPLY
Erasmus + is the new EU program for education, training, youth and sport, which was launched in January 2014. By 2020, 4 million people will have studied, trained, taught or been placed abroad. The program is expected to have available approximately € 14.5 billion for 2014-2020, which is 40% more than the funds from the current mobility programs in education and training. Erasmus + will replace the current Lifelong Learning Programmes (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the program of bilateral cooperation with industrialized countries. More detailed information can be found on the pages of the European Commission here.
The application process to the Erasmus programme is run by individual faculties. Each faculty announces every year a list of higher education institutions with whom they have signed agreements on the exchange and describe their internal procedures for the application. Ask your international office about the possibilities Erasmus exchanges and scholarships.
WHO WAS ERASMUS?
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (real name: Geert Geerts) is a Dutch Renaissance humanist, writer, philologist, philosopher and theologian who lived in the 15th century. He became recognised very early as theologian and humanist. He enjoyed intellectual autonomy inside the Church due to his rich patrons. The dispute between Luther and Erasmus about free will became a central philosophical-theological debate of the time (cosmopolitan humanism Vs locality of reform). As a fairly liberal critic of his time, he had enemies even in religious circles. His best known work is the satire “The Praise of Folly” (Latin: Laus Stultitiae), which he dedicated to his friend, also educated humanist, Thomas More. (Source: Wikipedia.)