Lunedì, 20 Maggio 2024

All you need to know about the Erasmus+

With over 12 million participants and 37 years of history, here's how Europe invests in mobility and education. But what is it all about?

With over 12 million European participants and 37 years of history, the Erasmus programme is certainly among the most successful EU initiatives. Established by the European Union in 1987 following a Commission proposal, the programme can count on a €26.2 billion budget for the 2021-2027 period - the duration of the latest Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) -, almost double that of the previous period 2014-2020. The ambitious goal is tripling the number of participants by the end of 2027.

What is Erasmus+?

Erasmus+ represents a natural evolution of Erasmus, which originally targeted only EU member countries and students. Launched in 2014, the enhanced exchange programme now also includes some countries outside the European Union, called partner countries, and new areas beyond higher education, such as exchanges for primary and secondary schools, vocational training, adult education, and youth organisations.

Higher education

The most widespread programme remains that aimed at university students and doctoral candidates. Its purpose is pormoting mobility and cooperation among universities, improving the quality of higher education in Europe, and providing students with the opportunity to develop extra-curricular skills such as communication skills (learning a new language) or intercultural competencies.

The programme for university students and doctoral candidates offers two possibilities: not only the exchange for a study experience (Erasmus+ Study) but also for an internship experience (Erasmus+ Traineeship) for a period ranging between 3 and 12 months. In both cases, students acquire credits through a common system called European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). These credits help students move between countries and have their academic qualifications and study periods abroad recognised by their home country. As long as they are enroled in university, students have the opportunity to apply for an internship before graduation to obtain the credits required to complete their studies, or for a post-graduate internship, which is more suitable for people whose goal is entering a foreign job market.

Primary and secondary schools

Exchange for primary and secondary schools can involve both teaching staff and students. In the first case, the school nominates the staff, who can either shadow a partner school or another competent educational institution for up to two months, or directly teach in a European school for up to one year. The aim is learning new teaching, assessment, and organisational strategies, and exchanging knowledge with colleagues abroad. In the second case, where students are the protagonists, the school can decide whether to activate a group exchange (from 2 to 30 days in a foreign school), individual short-term exchange (from 10 to 29 days), or individual long-term exchange (from one month to one year).

Vocational training

Erasmus+ also offers exchange opportunities for apprentices, trainees, recent graduates, and newly qualified individuals (max.12 months after degree) from vocational training and education. In this case, the institutions can apply for a mobility programme for learning purposes with a focus on practical aspects. Mobility can be short-term (from 10 to 89 days) or long-term (from 90 to 365 days).

Adult education

Adult education includes all those enriching activities carried out abroad not directly related to the professional or educational field. Through this programme, staff updating, expert hospitality, and educational trips are encouraged. Exchange modalities include a period of job shadowing at a partner organisation or another competent adult education institution (from 2 to 60 days), teaching or training assignments abroad (from 2 days to one year), or training courses and events (from 2 to 30 days).

Youth organisations

Erasmus+ is also aimed at young people between 13 and 30 years old, socio-educational entertainers, and all those active in the youth and non-formal education sector. You can take part in these opportunities submitting your project and requesting financial support for organisations, local authorities, and young people informal groups (not individuals). The goal of this mobility experience is acquiring new knowledge and skills for one's personal and socio-educational development.

How do funding work?

As for funding, the Erasmus+ programme partially covers travel and accommodation expenses during the study period, internship, or training abroad. Erasmus funds come partly from the European Union and partly from the home country, so their availability can also vary each year within the same country. Making the experience of studying, interning, or training abroad accessible to everyone is the goal, regardless of individual economic circumstances. The longer the experience, the greater the individual financial effort, as the grant only partially covers everyday living expenses. What is best is saving money for the experience trying to anticipate the extent of the fixed costs required by the chosen city, and considering this expense as an investment in one's future.

Specifically, university students receive a monthly scholarship to cover the living costs in the host country.The scholarship may vary slightly depending on the destination country (funds for Portugal will be lower than for Germany, for example, although the difference is minimal), but it generally covers essential expenses just like for primary and secondary education, vocational training, and adult education.

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