Erasmus is a programme funded and developed by the European Union with a 30-year history. It aims to support education, training and sport across Europe while also hugely promoting student exchange. With a fresh re-launch in 2014 and a budget of nearly €15 billion, Erasmus+ is now set to provide more than 4 million Europeans with unique study, volunteering and training opportunities abroad. Ready to become one of them?
Named after one of the greatest minds of the Renaissance, the Erasmus programme was first established in 1987 as an acronym for European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. During the same year and with an aim of introducing student exchange to higher education in Europe, around 3,000 students from 11 EU countries participated in making the launch a huge success.
Since then, there have been several changes both in the name and the scope of the programme but not in its popularity with more than 9 million people from 33 countries around the world who have taken part in different exchanges.
Ending by 2020, the current Erasmus+ offers more than a possibility to study abroad. For the new programme period The European Commission plans to increase the budget and accessibility of Erasmus+, aiming to increase reach and the number of students taking part.
As an EU student, you can spend a semester or a year at a university of a member state or a partner country of the programme, while also combining your studies with an internship or placement year. Also, you will not be required to pay any tuition fees during the period of your studies while also having your living costs covered with the aid of a monthly grant.
As an international, however, your choice can be limited, restricted or even still not possible. For this reason, we highly recommend that you check you eligibility and consider if you can alternatively apply for Erasmus Mundus – a funding scheme parallel to Erasmus+, open uniquely for non-EU students.
The Erasmus programme also includes different funding opportunities such as Masters loans up to €12,000 for a one year study and €18,000 for two-year degree. If you want to learn more about your personal exchange study, volunteering and training opportunities, you can contact your local university Erasmus coordinating center or scout for official Facebook groups and forums with verified information.
In general, Erasmus volunteering and training exchanges have a wide variety of requirements based on age, gender, nationality and educational qualification. As for a study exchange, your proof of language knowledge will be your most important application document.
For programmes in English, you will be expected to present either an “A” level Cambridge certificate or state exam. In some cases, it is also possible to apply with IELTS and TOEFL.
When applying for courses in other languages, there is usually at least a minimum B2 level required. However, there are some exceptions, as your hosting university might offer a personal language test upon admission or even language classes during your study.
Other requirements include presenting a valid student license with a paid tuition fee and a reference with your current overall Masters academic score. And last but not least, you will have to print out an Erasmus application form for your specific exchange which you can also find translated on your official university website.
Erasmus+ gives the opportunity to do a traineeship abroad. The sole requirement is to be a currently enrolled student in a higher education institution in a programme country at Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral level. Recent graduates can also take part, but there is an obligation to do your traineeship within one year of your graduation and that you apply while still enrolled at your university.
The duration of the traineeship abroad lasts from a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 12 months. However, keep in mind that you cannot benefit from the Erasmus+ programme for more than 12 months within one study cycle (there are 3 study cycles defined by the European Qualification Framework: first cycle (Bachelors or equivalent), second cycle (Masters or equivalent), third cycle (Doctoral or equivalent)) – so if you have taken advantage of the study abroad Erasmus+ programme, the months you spent abroad will be “on your account”.
When it comes to choosing a company for your traineeship, you have to follow 3 conditions:
It is possible to take advantage of the Erasmus+ grant for traineeships. Its purpose is to cover your travel and subsistence costs. However, the amount depends on your destination country and the number of the other applying students.
If you are interested in more funding option from your institution, government or other sources you can always check the European Funding Guide.
For more information on the application process and access to the documents all involved parties must fill please follow the Erasmus+ Learning agreement page.
Aside from the international experience, independence, meeting people from all around Europe and getting to know different education systems, you will have one really great advantage – you will extend your career opportunities. Statistics show that the programme has a huge impact on participants: Erasmus + alumni double their chances of finding a job just a year after graduation and one third of the Erasmus + trainees get a job offer from the company where they held their internship.
If you want to learn more and get an easy guide to your Erasmus+ experience you can download the Erasmus+ mobile app.