What's it all about?
Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. One of its aims is to boost the skills and employability of university students by taking your studies overseas for between three and twelve months. It’s your chance to continue your course in a new environment and experience a different culture while you’re at it.
You can take your pick from any one of 32 countries in Europe, with whom your university or college has an agreement and most students receive a grant to help cover the cost of living. So whether you fancy brushing up your languages, meeting up with new people or just immersing yourself in a completely new culture, Erasmus+ will have something to suit you.
Can I apply?
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then you need to make sure you’re eligible to apply. Erasmus+ courses are available to anyone who is:
- studying for a degree or recognised tertiary level qualification
- at an institution, such as a university or college, with an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education
- in their second year or more of study.
You can also apply if you’re taking a short-term higher vocational education course, or studying part-time, providing you’re willing to study full-time when abroad.
What countries are involved?
Besides the UK there are 32 countries working with Erasmus+. They are:
Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Turkey.
How much will it cost?
The cost of living abroad can vary massively depending on the country you choose to visit, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be left out of pocket. Eligible Erasmus+ students currently receive a grant of between €250 – €300 a month to contribute towards accommodation and living expenses, and that’s on top of any existing grants or loans that are in place through your current university. There’s also currently an extra €100 a month available for students who already qualify for additional support for higher education and further financial support for students with special needs.
There’s no need to worry about any tuition fees at the university you choose to visit, and you may even be able to take advantage of a financial contribution for your existing UK tuition fees if you study abroad for the whole academic year. Speak to the Erasmus+ rep at your university to find out more.
When’s the deadline?
If you’re interested and eligible then you should probably arrange a meeting with your Erasmus+ university office as soon as possible. Deadlines for the following academic year are normally in the winter term, but it does change depending on your university.
Why should I go?
This isn’t a gap year. It’s not your chance to get a cheap holiday. Yes, you’ll have a great time, and yes, you will get to experience life in a completely different culture, but it’s about gaining new skills to make you more employable in the future. You’ll meet new people, you’ll learn a language, and you’ll have something a little special on your CV that will help you stand out. So perhaps the question you should really be asking yourself is: why shouldn’t I do it?