What's it all about?
With all the studying you’ve been doing it can be difficult to think about getting an actual job. And even if you are thinking of work there’s a fair chance it’ll be something to help pay off your overdraft, rather than doing an unpaid internship at your Dad’s friend’s sister’s printing company.
What many students don’t realise is that Erasmus+ provides a grant for higher education students to carry out a work experience placement in a choice of 32 countries across Europe, as part of their degree. You get to travel, you get to improve your language skills, you may get paid, you’ll earn credits and you get that most precious word of all: experience.
Vocational students can also take part, as Erasmus+ offers apprenticeship placements to the students of colleges and further education providers taking part in the programme, across the EU.
What countries can I work in?
Erasmus+ grants currently cover 32 countries in Europe outside the UK: 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.
Who can I work for?
The restrictions on who you work for and where you work are fairly flexible – you can choose to work in most sectors, in private or public companies, schools, trade unions or non-profit organisations. Higher education work placements and internships should last between two and 12 months.
Vocational work placements for college or further education students can include apprenticeships and training placements at other colleges or workplaces across the 32 countries and can last from two weeks to 12 months.
The thing to remember is that Erasmus+ will help provide the funding for it – you have to apply for the work placements yourself. A good place to start your search is Erasmus Intern site, IAESTE, or you could try Erasmus+ or LEO-NET’s Job Offer Exchange platform (JOE+). Alternatively you can use your own contacts, but it’s worth having a chat with the Erasmus+ rep at your institution to find out more options.
How much will I get paid?
If you’re a higher education student eligible for a grant then you can currently receive €380-€430 a month, depending on the country you visit, which should help cover accommodation and some living expenses.
There is some additional funding available for students with special needs, which you will need to apply for before you leave. Again, it’s best discussed in more detail with your Erasmus+ contact.
Can I apply?
The basic requirement for an Erasmus+ grant is that you are studying for a degree or other tertiary level qualification (up to and including doctorates) in an institution with an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education.
Higher education students - you can take your internship in your first year, or even in the year after you’ve graduated (provided you’ve applied before your graduation) but it must fit in around your studies.
If you are taking a short-term higher vocational educational course, such as a foundation degree course, or you are a part-time student, you can also participate providing you work full-time during your period abroad.
Vocational students - you can also apply, but you will need your organisation to apply for Erasmus+ funding. The official Erasmus+ site has more information on this.
What does the programme cost?
There is no fee for taking part.
What’s the availability and deadline?
If you’re at university you should talk to your Erasmus+ representative who will be able to offer you help and guidance in finding a suitable placement.
If you’re not at university and studying a vocational course, you could check with your international office, tutor or student services.