Erasmus. Just about every student will have heard of it, but what really is it? You’ve befriended exchange students and envied their non-stop partying and sexy accents, but have never properly understood why they’re here, or if you could do the same.
Not enough UK students take advantage of the Erasmus programme in comparison with their European peers – mainly because of a lack of awareness and a number of myths. So here is the Erasmus programme in a nutshell…
What is Erasmus?
The ERASMUS programme is a European student exchange programme offering university students the possibility of studying or working abroad in another European country for a period of at least three months and at a maximum, 12 months.
The Erasmus programme is only open to languages students
Many students think that Erasmus is only for languages students who have a compulsory year abroad. The programme is open to all students – check out what links your department has with universities abroad.
I can’t speak another language, no Erasmus for me!
While speaking the language obviously helps, it isn’t an absolute must. Even if you haven’t done a language since GCSE, many of the courses are run in English and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll pick up. Many universities also have intensive language classes available for international students.
I can’t afford to live abroad
Most students are unaware of the support available for going abroad and immediately rule it out due to funding reasons. UK students are entitled to a non-repayable grant provided by the European Commission which contributes towards the extra costs arising from studying abroad. This is paid through your home university and is in addition to your standard student loan. What’s more, Erasmus students benefit from the tuition fee waiver – this means that you pay no fees to your host university and your home fees are significantly reduced for the year. UK students currently benefit from a fee cap that offers a reduction of up to 85% in their tuition fees.
Erasmus is just another gap year with no employment benefits
We all know the Erasmus stereotype of partying and no time spent in the library. Whilst I’ll admit that the year abroad is incredibly fun, it is far from a glorified long, paid-for student holiday. In an increasingly international job market, the value of studying or working abroad is increasingly recognised among employers. Use your free time wisely – of course travel and do the tourist thing, but a part-time job abroad is a great asset to have on your CV.
So what is stopping you? If you want to meet new people, discover new places and gain some invaluable skills along the way, the Erasmus programme is the perfect option for you.