Is it possible to change work placements halfway through, and still qualify for an Erasmus grant?

Six weeks in to my placement at a life and culture magazine in Florence, Italy, I've found it's not what I expected. My boss makes me work far more hours than my contract set out (last week I worked 40 rather than the specified 30), and although I was promised lots of Italian practice, so far, it's been entirely English-speaking. I keep hearing "we're getting there, soon we'll sort it out" but it's pretty clear to me they're empty promises. To top it all off, when I tried to bring my problems up with her, she shouted me down, then proceeded to tell me off, and later send me a passive-aggressive email basically telling me why I should be grateful for the opportunity to work for her. I am desperate to change placements, and have already found a new one that my uni tutor has 'okay'ed, but I don't know if this will make my Erasmus grant void as a) neither placement will be 3 months long, and b) it's not the placement I originally applied for. If I don't get the Erasmus grant, I can't afford to stay out here, but I feel I'm working in such a hostile environment I won't last in the job til Christmas!! Any knowledge on this would be so gratefully received :)

This question was asked on 19th October 2014 and has been read 3492 times.

  • Rose Orchard · 8 years ago

    Email your ERASMUS office, however I would suspect that the answer will be no. It's supposed to be a minimum of a 3 month placement, and the ERASMUS grant is not meant to cover living costs. Could you get another local part time job to help with expenses? There are lots of places in Florence that would probably like to have an English speaker!

  • Romy Higgins · 8 years ago

    I don't have personal experience with this but if you contacted the Erasmus office near you and explained your circumstances then maybe they could make an exception.  Failing that, if you have to stay in this placement ask your uni coordinator to speak to your boss on your behalf.  They're breaking the law by making your work longer than your contract and at least if your coordinator talks to them they won't be intimated by your boss and can better explain your situation. This happened to a girl at my uni and although she ended up switching from work to uni, she felt a lot better knowing that her coordinator could explain to her boss what was wrong.

  • Global Graduates · 8 years ago

    Hi there. We've spoken to the British Council on your behalf, and they say the following:

    "There are rules around the funding of work placements and changing their duration and its best to contact the Erasmus Co-ordinator in your university for further help."

    Sorry we can't be more specific - but don't stay in a situation that is making you unhappy. There are always other options!

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