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10 reasons to go on Erasmus

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Baked beans feasts, fancy dress parties, living on the edge to scrape that 2:1. That’s the student life as we know it. Have you ever wondered, though, how it would be like to study at a uni abroad, say in France, Italy or Czech Republic? The Erasmus student exchange programme enables more than 230,000 students each year to live in a foreign country. The experience often turns out to be priceless.

Erasmus (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is the European Commission's programme for students, teachers and institutions aiming at increasing student mobility within the European Community. Since its launch in 1987 around three million students have participated in the project. It involves over 4,000 higher education institutions in 33 countries, and the annual budget exceeds 450 million euro.

What it means for you is that you can spend a period of three to 12 months in an EU, EEA or candidate country, studying, undertaking a work placement or working as a language assistant. You’re exempted from paying tuition (or any other) fees at the host university and you get a monthly bursary to cover expenses of living abroad. Students from any subject areas enrolled at a Higher Education or a Higher Education/Further Education Institution that has a formal agreement with a partner in one of the eligible countries can participate. Not bad, huh?

10 top reasons to go Erasmus

  1. It’s an amazing adventure. One Erasmus student said: "For a year you have a completely new life. You meet new people, live in a new place, even speak a different language."
  2. You can make friends with people from all over the globe. Such international network means you will never need hostels again when you travel!
  3. Immersing in a different culture is exciting and broadens your horizons.
  4. You can learn or improve a language. ‘Living’ the language is the most efficient and fun way to acquire it.
  5. You will stand out in the job market. Erasmus is a great addition to your CV as it means extra academic and professional skills. Many employers value such period abroad, which increases your employability and job prospects.
  6. It boosts your self-confidence and independence. "For me it was the first time I lived without my parents and although it was weird at the beginning, I made loads of friends and became very independent," confirmed one of my fellow Erasmus in Spain.
  7. It’s not a ‘lost year;’ it counts towards your degree and it will help you develop  life-skills that are not taught in the lecture theatres. 
  8. It’s a great opportunity to travel and get the international perspective. You’ll come back feeling more of a European citizen.
  9. It’s a chance to try new things. Different modules, foods, lifestyles…
  10. It will change your life. No exaggeration. Two French Erasmus students I met during my year abroad decided to stay for good and transferred from their university in Lyon to our host university in Barcelona after their Erasmus period had finished. Another Erasmus friend added: "It was like a Wonderland and although you do face some problems during your period abroad, there are special people, places and moments that give you the strength to fight them with a smile on your face, to make your experience unforgettable."
If you’re still not convinced have a look at the trailer of a movie about a French student's experiences on Erasmus in Barcelona here

To find out whether your university offers Erasmus placements visit the International Office or look for the local Erasmus Student Network (ESN) section.

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