Erasmus Programme

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Logo of the Erasmus Programme

The Erasmus Programme (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students[1]) is a European Union (EU) student exchange programme established in 1987. Erasmus+, or Erasmus Plus, is the new programme combining all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, due to begin in January 2014.

The Erasmus Programme, together with a number of other independent programmes, was incorporated into the Socrates programme established by the European Commission in 1994. The Socrates programme ended on 31 December 1999 and was replaced with the Socrates II Programme on 24 January 2000, which in turn was replaced by the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 on 1 January 2007.

History[edit]

Origins of the name[edit]

The Programme is named after the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, known as an opponent of dogmatism, who lived and worked in many places in Europe to expand his knowledge and gain new insights, and who left his fortune to the University of Basel in Switzerland.[1] At the same time, ERASMUS is a backronym meaning EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students.[1]

1987 European Commission proposal[edit]

By the time the Erasmus Programme was adopted in June 1987, the European Commission had been supporting pilot student exchanges for 6 years. It proposed the original Erasmus Programme in early 1986, but reaction from the then Member States varied: those with substantial exchange programmes of their own (essentially France, Germany and the United Kingdom) were broadly hostile; the remaining countries were broadly in favour. Exchanges between the Member States and the European Commission deteriorated, and the latter withdrew the proposal in early 1987 to protest against the inadequacy of the triennial budget proposed by some Member States.[1] However, AEGEE, the Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l'Europe, persuaded French President François Mitterrand to support funding for the Erasmus programme. In the next few months a compromise was worked out with a majority of Member States, and the Programme was adopted by simple majority in June 1987.

European Court of Justice decision[edit]

This method of voting was not accepted by some of the opposing Member States, who challenged the adoption of the decision before the European Court of Justice. Although the Court held that the adoption was procedurally flawed, it maintained the substance of the decision; a further decision, adapted in the light of the jurisprudence, was rapidly adopted by the Council of Ministers.

Adoption and growth[edit]

The Programme built on the 1981–1986 pilot student exchanges, and although it was formally adopted only shortly before the beginning of the academic year 1987-1988, it was still possible for 3,244 students to participate in Erasmus in its first year. In 2006, over 150,000 students, or almost 1% of the European student population, took part. The proportion is higher among university teachers, where Erasmus teacher mobility is 1.9% of the teacher population in Europe, or 20,877 people.[citation needed]

In the past twenty years, over two million students[2] have benefited from Erasmus grants, and the European Commission aims to reach a total of 3 million by 2012.[citation needed]

Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013[edit]

The Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 replaced the Socrates programme as the overall umbrella under which the Erasmus (and other) programmes operate from 2007.

Erasmus MUNDUS[edit]

The Erasmus Mundus Programme is another, parallel Programme that is orientated towards globalising European education. Whereas the Erasmus Programme is open to Europeans, Erasmus Mundus is open to non-Europeans with Europeans being exceptional cases.

Citizens' initiative for more money 2014–2020[edit]

On 9 May 2012,[3] Fraternité 2020 was registered as Europe's first European Citizens' Initiative. Its goal is to get 3% of the EU budget for EU exchange programmes like Erasmus from 2014 (the share currently is 1.2%). To be successful it needs to collect 1 million signatures by 1 November 2013.[needs update]

Erasmus+ 2014–2020[edit]

Erasmus+ (2014-2020), also called Erasmus Plus, is the new 14.7 billion euro catch-all framework program for education, training, youth and sport.[4] The new Erasmus+ programme combines all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international co-operation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for co-operation with industrialised countries). The Erasmus+ regulation[5] was signed on 11 December 2013.[6]

Participation[edit]

There are currently more than 4,000 higher institutions participating in Erasmus across the 33 countries involved in the Erasmus programme and by 2007 over 5 million students[7] had taken part. In 2012-13 alone, 270,000 took part, the most popular destinations being Spain, Germany, and France.[8]

Requirements[edit]

The Erasmus Programme had previously been restricted to applicants who had completed at least one year of tertiary-level study, but it is now also available to high (secondary) school students.

Details[edit]

Students who join the Erasmus Programme study or do an internship for a period of at least 3 months to an academic year in another European country. The Erasmus Programme guarantees that the period spent abroad is recognised by their university when they come back, as long as they abide by terms previously agreed. Switzerland has been suspended as a participant in the Erasmus program following the popular vote to limit access for EU immigrants, as a consequence Swiss students will not be able to apply for the program and European students will not be able to spend time at a Swiss university under that program.[9]

A main part of the Programme is that students do not pay extra tuition fees to the university that they visit. Students can also apply for an Erasmus grant to help cover the additional expense of living abroad. Students with disabilities can apply for an additional grant to cover extraordinary expenses.

In order to reduce expenses and increase mobility, many students also use the European Commission-supported accommodation network, CasaSwap, FlatClu, Erasmusinn, Erasmate or Student Mundial, which are free websites where students and young people can rent, sublet, offer and swap accommodation – on a national and international basis. A derived benefit is that students can share knowledge and exchange tips and hints with each other before and after going abroad.

The "Erasmus experience"[edit]

Cultural phenomenon[edit]

For many European students, the Erasmus Programme is their first time living and studying in another country. Hence, it has become a cultural phenomenon and is very popular among European students, going on to become the subject of movies such as the French film L'Auberge espagnole, the documentary Erasmus 24 7 [10] and guidebook Erasmus, Here I Come![11]

The Programme fosters not only learning and understanding of the host country, but also a sense of community among students from different countries.[citation needed] The Erasmus experience is considered both a time for learning as well as a chance to socialise.

Tutors are often keen for students of subjects such as Politics or International Relations to participate in Erasmus. It is seen as a great opportunity to study abroad while not having the expense of studying outside the European Union, since the grants available to Erasmus students are not available to those opting to leave the continent to study.

Some academics have speculated that former Erasmus students will prove to be a powerful force in creating a pan-European identity. The political scientist Stefan Wolff, for example, has argued that "Give it 15, 20 or 25 years, and Europe will be run by leaders with a completely different socialisation from those of today", referring to the so-called 'Erasmus generation'.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Benjamin Feyen/Ewa Krzaklewska (eds.): "The ERASMUS Phenomenon - Symbol of a New European Generation?" Peter Lang Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-3-631-62719-8

External links[edit]