All About Erasmus+

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 19th January 2010 and has been read 48735 times.

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. It incorporates many of the EU funding programmes in education and training which were previously separate, including Erasmus. It offers many of the same exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.

Erasmus+ supports higher education students to study abroad for up to one year European university or to gain valuable international work experience in a European organisation. Apprentices and students in further or vocational education can also benefit from an international experience by taking part in a traineeship abroad or attending a European Vocational Education Training school. Young people and those working in the youth sector can also take part in a youth exchange or a volunteering scheme. If you are interested in applying for any of these activities, you must do so through your university, college or youth organisation.

The original Erasmus programme for higher education students was introduced in 1987 and since then over three million education students in Europe have taken part.

In the UK, Erasmus+ is managed by the UK National Agency, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

Your questions answered

Where can I go?
Why take part?
Who can take part?
Does it cost anything?
Which institutions take part?
Do I receive any support?
Will I get academic recognition?
Want to experience Erasmus for yourself?

Erasmus+ enables you to study and/or work abroad in one of 32 other countries in as part of your degree course. You don't have to be doing a language course; students from all subject areas can take part, with many universities even running courses in English. Eligible students receive a grant from the EU to help towards the additional costs of travelling abroad.

Whether you go for three months or 12, it will enhance your personal development, your job opportunities, your confidence, and your enjoyment of life. Not only will you acquire a broader range of skills to offer a future employer, but you'll have fun doing it. Also, the UK Higher Education International Unit reports that students who study abroad earn more on average than those who don’t go abroad during their degree.

Where can I go?

Europe is such a diverse and exciting region - culturally, historically, politically and geographically, and with a choice of so many cities all over Europe, you're bound to find somewhere very special. It can't all be work and no play, so when you're not at college or in work, you can check out all that Europe has to offer. Laze on the beaches of Greece, ski in the Alps, go to the opera in Italy, admire the art in France or go on a killer whale safari in Norway. Enjoy some fantastic and often bizarre festivals that take place all over Europe; from throwing tomatoes in Spain, to getting jazzed in Umbria. No wonder Erasmus+ students say it is the best part of their time at university.

Why take part?

The Top Ten reasons to take part in Erasmus+:

1. Stand out in the job market - a great addition to your CV
2. Return more motivated, independent and confident
3. Get a grant and have your tuition fees waived (if you go for the full academic year)
4. It counts towards your degree - it's not a gap year
5. Learn a range of life-skills not taught in the lecture theatre
6. Access a wider range of subject areas than in the UK
7. Improve your language skills
8. Gain an international network of friends and meet your lifelong partner! (1 in 10 students do)
9. Discover a different culture and gain an international perspective
10. It's really good fun!

Click here to read some reviews written by current Erasmus+ students. For more information on the benefits, check out EC's Erasmus impact study.

Who can take part?

Higher Education students in the UK can participate in the Erasmus+ Programme and it is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students in all subjects and at all levels – Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral. If you are a student enrolled in a short-term higher vocational education course, such as an HND or foundation degree, you can also participate. Part-time students are eligible to participate providing they study full-time during their mobility period. Students can choose to undertake a study period or a work placement, known as a traineeship. Most students go abroad with Erasmus+ in their second or third year, although students doing a work placement can go in their first year. 

New from 2014 is the option for recent graduates to take part in an Erasmus+ traineeship (within a maximum of one year after graduation).

Does it cost anything?

Erasmus+ grants are paid in addition to the standard grants or loans to which you are currently entitled. This is a supplementary, non-repayable grant intended to help towards any additional expenses you may incur while abroad.

Eligible HE students who study abroad under Erasmus+ could receive a grant of up to €300 a month, and traineeship students a grant of up to €400 a month, depending on the country you visit.

For students identified as eligible for the various 'widening participation premiums' already operating at HE level across the UK, there is extra financial support (currently an additional €100 a month) for those doing a period studying abroad.

Students with a severe disability or exceptional special needs may be entitled to extra funding to cover associated costs, but this must be applied for before departure, through your home institution Erasmus+ office.

As an Erasmus+ student you do not pay tuition fees to the host university and in many cases if you go for an academic year (at least 24 weeks excluding holidays) you will receive a large contribution towards your UK tuition fees.  However, if you study abroad for less than a year, your home institution normally requires you to pay a proportion of the fee, where applicable.

Which institutions take part?

All UK universities and many other UK Institutions of Higher Education/Further Education are involved with the Erasmus+ programme. The involvement varies from institution to institution but overall every subject area is covered. Not all courses can be combined with the Erasmus+ programme – this will depend on the structure of the courses at your institution. The European Commission publishes an annual list of institutions which hold the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education and take part in the programme.

Do I receive any support?

The Erasmus+ programme is a European Union Programme, administered in the UK by the UK National Agency for Erasmus+, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK. Participating institutions in all countries have an Erasmus Co-ordinator/ International office who acts as the primary point of contact for all Erasmus+ students. These co-ordinators provide support and guidance before, during and after your Erasmus+ period.

Read our Top Ten Tips for Survival as an Erasmus Student.

Will I get academic recognition?

Unlike other programmes or gap years, an Erasmus period is an integral part of your course. You will receive formal academic recognition for your period abroad and are sometimes awarded a second qualification in recognition of your Erasmus period; in all cases, the study is formally acknowledged on your degree transcript.

Want to experience Erasmus for yourself?

If you want to study or work in Europe, the best way to do this is through the Erasmus programme. Make sure you don’t miss out on what will probably be the most rewarding and exciting time of your university life. Read more about doing an Erasmus+ study period or an Erasmus Work Placement abroad.

If you're already at university, the first step in applying to take part in Erasmus will be to contact the local Erasmus co-ordinator who will be able to answer all your questions. They should also be able to put you in touch with past Erasmus students and staff members. Also remember to read some case studies written by former Erasmus students.

If you want more information on a country or city, we have some country guides as well as ‘insider guides’, written by Erasmus students who can give you the real low-down on a town.

If you aren’t yet at university, visit the Erasmus+ website for more information and check the university you choose offers the Erasmus programme on the course you want to do. You will also find it useful to look at the universities’ own websites and contact these institutions directly if you have further questions.

Need more information? Read the European Commission’s FAQ document for HE students on the UK National Agency’s website.

Higher Education students in the UK can participate in the Erasmus Programme and it is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students in all subjects and at all levels – Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral. If you are a student enrolled in a short-term higher vocational education course, such as an HND or foundation degree, you can also participate. Part-time students are eligible to participate providing they study full-time during their mobility period.

Students can choose to undertake a study period or a work placement. Most students go abroad with Erasmus in their second or third year, although students doing a work placement can go in their first year. Subject to agreement with your home and host institutions, you could combine a study period with a work placement.

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