Nearly three million students from across Europe have benefited from a study period or work placement abroad since the creation of the Erasmus programme in 1987; of these, over 200,000 were from the UK. In its first year, 3,244 young, adventurous students took part in one of the 11 countries which initially participated in the programme. Now 33 countries take part in the scheme - the 27 EU member states, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. In the past 25 years, the programme has seen a constant rise in both the number of students and in the quality and diversity of the proposed activities.
Under the slogan, 'Erasmus: changing lives, opening minds for 25 years', the silver anniversary celebrations were launched in Brussels on January 30 by Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Erasmus mobility is at the heart of the Commission's strategy to combat youth unemployment by focusing more on skills development
Commissioner Vassiliou said: "Erasmus is one of the great success stories of the European Union: it is our best known and most popular programme. Erasmus exchanges enable students to improve their knowledge of foreign languages and to develop skills such as adaptability which improve their job prospects. It also provides opportunities for teachers and other staff to see how higher education works in other countries and to bring the best ideas home."
Read more about the inaugural event on our news page and watch the videos of a few of the Erasmus Ambassadors here.
The British Council held its celebration event in London on May 17. At the reception, attended by Minister of State Rt Hon. David Willetts MP, and Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft UK, British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson said “The British Council has managed Erasmus in the UK since 2006, and since then we’ve seen numbers of UK participants grow almost 8 per cent year on year. Erasmus offers a tremendous opportunity for the UK’s students – to boost their employability, have a great academic experience, and potentially save themselves thousands of pounds in tuition fees.” Guests speakers also included Annette Strauss, Head of International Mobility & European Affairs, University of Surrey; and three Erasmus Alumni - Alison Pearce, Julia Kennedy and Mohammad Abbas Abdulla. Read the full story and see some of the photos from the day on our Facebook page
If you would like to read more Erasmus Alumni stories, please download our Erasmus 25th Anniversary Brochure