Erasmus+ links Europe with 150 partner countries around the world
Until now, the “Erasmus” student mobility programme was restricted to 33 European programme countries. In 2015, it acquired an international dimension and was extended to a further 150 partner countries. It’s now known as “Erasmus+”. Europe’s largest educational mobility programme now offers undergraduates and PhD students, university staff and researchers from around the world the opportunity to study or teach at a university in Europe.
Batoul Adel is just one of those who has benefited: Erasmus+ supported her period of study in Germany. Adel, a Masters student at the German Jordanian University in Amman, says “I’ve got to know so many people from all around the world – it’s really boosted my intercultural skills.” Between April and late July 2016, she was in Berlin, working at the Humboldt-Universität on a research project on integrated natural resources management, which was being run jointly with the German Jordanian University.
“I gained a huge amount of academic experience, and those of us working on the project were able to set up an international research network”, enthuses Batoul Adel. Her story illustrates how important periods of study abroad can be for both professional and personal development: students and researchers alike get to know another country and meet lots of new people: they have a chance to test themselves in a different learning environment; they boost their academic and intercultural skills; and they learn new languages. And all these skills make them attractive to future employers.
EU programme for education, training, youth and sport
The Erasmus+ programme runs between 2014 and 2020. In addition to mobility for individuals, this means exchanges for undergraduate and PhD students, university staff and researchers (Key Action 1), Erasmus+ funds three further actions:
- Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practice (Key Action 2): this Action supports the internationalisation of European universities through strategic partnerships and knowledge alliances. It also supports the creation of networks and joint capacity building projects in regions neighbouring the European Union as well as international partnerships around the world.
- Support for policy reform (Key Action 3): through Erasmus+, the Commission supports reform of education and training policy within Europe and beyond its borders.
- Jean Monnet activities: this part of the programme supports teaching and research in connection with international research into European integration.
Key Action 1 and the strategic partnerships under Key Action 2 are administered on a decentralised basis by the National Agency for EU higher education cooperation. The remaining programme areas under Key Actions 2 and 3 and Jean Monnet activities are administered centrally by the European Commission. The National Agency provides information and advice on all Actions.
150 partner countries outside Europe
“Our 33 programme countries remain the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Macedonia”, explains Dr Markus Symmank, who is an expert for Key Action 1, “Mobility of Individuals” under the Erasmus+ scheme within the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), “but since 2015, Erasmus+ has also enabled us to link Europe with the rest of the world.”
Erasmus+ has brought 150 new partner countries into the scheme. The main focus of the programme’s support is on partner countries neighbouring the European Union: the Western Balkans, the South Mediterranean countries, the Middle East, Russia and a further six Eastern Partnership countries in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The priority is to support mobility to Europe, but the programme also offers a wide range of new opportunities to support students from Europe who are travelling in the other direction. It also continues to offer full support for study trips to partner countries.
Wide-ranging support for students from Erasmus+ partner countries
The opportunity for support for a period of study in Europe has proved very popular in the new partner countries. As Markus Symmank explains, “Germany supports exchanges with partner countries for around 3,000 academics and students each year.” Participants from the 150 Erasmus+ partner countries coming to Germany benefit from a wide range of support mechanisms, including subsidised travel, and pay no university tuition fees.
Those from Erasmus+ partner countries also receive grants of EUR 800 per month. As Dr Markus Symmank points out, “this is considerably more than the grants given to programme country participants studying abroad in one of the 33 Erasmus+ programme countries, who receive smaller grants of between EUR 150 and EUR 500 a month, depending on the country involved.”
How do I apply to study in Germany under the Erasmus+ programme?
- Find out whether your own university has Erasmus+ agreements with German universities and, if so, with which universities.
- If there is an agreement, contact the German university at which you would like to study. You will find contact details on the DAAD’s Erasmus+ website (in German only).
- Check the criteria for applying to your chosen university and then send your application direct to the university. Most universities give details of application deadlines, the documents you need to provide and other relevant information on their website, or you can contact their International Office for more information.
Erasmus+ students can now spend more than one period abroad
Markus Symmank explains that students on Bachelors or Masters courses can spend a total of 12 months studying abroad. A new feature of Erasmus+ is particularly attractive to students from the 33 programme countries: “They can now go for one period of 12 months or divide those 12 months up into separate, shorter periods of study, spending, say, four three-month periods or two six-month periods abroad”, he says. Symmank adds that students can also now choose to spend time in more than one country.
Dilek Utku is one of those who has benefited from this arrangement. The summer semester of 2016 saw her studying in Germany for the second time. Between May and September, the German Studies graduate from Izmir in Turkey was at the University of Wuppertal, working on her Masters dissertation. She had previously studied at the University of Augsburg as an undergraduate in 2013. She says, “It’s all down to the new Erasmus+ programme, which supported a second period of study abroad.”
Utku adds, “If you want to learn another language, the best way is to speak it, and for me as a student of German, that’s really important. Over the past few months, I’ve been able to improve my language skills enormously. I’ve been really lucky that Erasmus+ made it possible for me to spend a second period of study in Germany!”
The focus topic “Setting out – People on the move” takes a look at people moving from their home country to another one, and possibly back or even elsewhere again. One of the ways of covering some ground is to participate in a term abroad while studying. Which programme did you go with? What experiences did you have? Discuss the special challenges of studying abroad in our Community group “Studium und Forschung”!
Are you planning to study abroad? What do you most hope to achieve?