For a student in the European Union looking to spend time in another EU country, the Erasmus program may be the perfect semester abroad option.
European Union university students have an opportunity to spend time abroad through the Erasmus program. Named for scholar Desiderius Erasmus, the program is intended for European Union students wishing to spend a semester or year in another EU country. This Erasmus program is not to be confused with the Erasmus Mundus program, which is open to students outside of the European Union.
Erasmus Program Requirements
Students interested in the Erasmus program must meet the following requirements in order to participate:
- EU citizenship
- At least one year of university coursework completed
If a part-time university student is interested in the Erasmus program, he or she must have full-time student status while in the destination country.
Participating Universities in the EU
The European Commission requires any university interested in participating in the Erasmus program to have an Erasmus University Charter. According to the European Commission’s website, approximately ninety percent of the universities in the EU participate in Erasmus. Students should, after finding a university city of interest, check with the home university’s foreign study office to be sure.
Duration of the Erasmus Program
EU university students may choose to study abroad for just a short period of time or for a full year. Program lengths run from three months (approximately one semester) to twelve months. Some students may choose to spend three months in one country and three in another, most often those pursuing two fields of study.
Pre-Departure Financial Considerations for Erasmus Students
While students on the Erasmus program receive a small monthly stipend and are not required to pay for their studies at the foreign university, saving money prior to departure is essential. Money will be needed for rent, personal expenses, and excursions.
Erasmus Language Courses
For students interested in or requiring additional foreign language instruction upon arrival, there are intensive language courses available at the university in the destination country. Many participating universities also offer special programs for international students, including courses exclusively for non-native speakers of the country’s language.
Learning More About and Applying to the Erasmus Program
The first step prospective Erasmus students should take is to do research on the European Commission’s website about the program. Also essential is to check with the home university to be sure that the school has an Erasmus University Charter. Students must also see if the home university has an agreement with a university in the foreign country of interest.
The Erasmus Student Network is also a great place to learn more about the program and life as an Erasmus student. Erasmus program participants may also enjoy films such as L’auberge espagnole, a 2002 French film about Erasmus students in Barcelona, Spain.
For a student in the European Union looking to travel to and live in another EU country, the Erasmus program through the European Commission is a fantastic opportunity to meet other students in Europe, become fluent in another European language, and benefit from the education at another prestigious university in the European Union.