Europe's Erasmus Student Exchange Program

Europe's Erasmus Student Exchange Program

Guest Writer

Updated February 22, 2023 Updated February 22

Italian student Gracy Rigano explains how the Erasmus exchange program could help you spend time studying or working in a new European country.

Get the latest on the Erasmus program here >

The Erasmus program (short for the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is an initiative run by the European Union (EU). It provides opportunities for students to study or gain work experience in a different European country while completing a degree.

There are many benefits, including the chance to learn another European language, and to experience life within a different culture.

In addition to the study abroad and internship programs for students, the Erasmus program also includes a project for higher education teaching staff.

Studying abroad with the Erasmus program

Students studying any subject, both undergraduate and postgraduate, can apply to participate in the Erasmus program for studying abroad – as long as the European university they’re studying at supports the program.

A huge number of universities, in 36 different European countries, are signed up as members in the scheme. Study abroad placements last between three and 12 months, and can take place at any point in your degree after the first year – the exact timing may depend on your course structure.

Successful applicants receive a small scholarship, which does not cover all the expenses involved, but does help! Most of this (80%) is received at the time of departure, and the rest once the exchange has been completed.

After being accepted onto the Erasmus program, students work with their course supervisor to develop a plan of study which they agree to follow during the exchange – to make sure the experience is productive and relevant to their overall degree program.

For Erasmus program students travelling to a country that has one of the less widely spoken and studied European languages, intensive language support is available before the exchange – known as Erasmus Intensive Language Courses. English, German, French and Spanish are excluded, as these are fairly widely taught and studied across Europe.

Gaining work experience abroad

For students who want to gain some practical work experience related to their studies, the Erasmus program also offers opportunities to complete internships abroad.

In this case, students are hosted by a company that signs an agreement with the European university – a contract of training which is approved by both parties. This allows students to better understand the industry they’re interested in, while, also improving their language skills in a working environment.

This article was originally published in October 2012 . It was last updated in January 2020

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