ERASMUS: 30 YEARS OF MOBILITY – Mélanie Gay-Etchart



Erasmus was created in 1987 by the European Community, to promote student mobility in Europe. This year we are celebrating its 30th Anniversary.

Its name comes from the 16th century humanist, Erasmus, and also means European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. It allows student to study in a foreign university but still getting their diploma from their home university, or achieve a  degree at two universities at the same time.

It is an opportunity that is largely appreciated professionally, and has a big personal impact on each student. The programme has expanded during the last 30 years, and now concerns internship, sports, or even professionals.

Also, it is not only limited to Europe anymore, with the creation of the Erasmus Mundus exchange program few years ago. This expansion resulted in the new name of the programme: Erasmus+. Since 1987, 9 million people have participated in an Erasmus exchange, 4,400,000 of which were higher education students.

Each year, the number of participants increases, and for the academic year of 2017-2018, it is 347,100 people. A lot more compared to the 3,000 in 1987. French students are the first to volunteer for an Erasmus+ exchange. The program remains quite selective but is currently expanding.

With the programme itself, the so-called ‘Erasmus Generation’ born. Indeed, during the last 30 years, young people have developed a special way of thinking due to the impact of the European mobility, which is becoming a common part of their lives and education.

Also, couples were formed and 1 million ‘Erasmus Babies’ were born since 1987 which is a strong testimony of the impact the exchange programme has. During the last 30 years it helped to develop in the last and our generation a feeling of European citizenship.

The programme offers a lot of different destinations, depending on intern universities agreements (yes, not everyone is given the chance to study at SHU). Student’s favourite destination are Spain, followed by Germany and France. Great Britain is at the 4th position. The programme is especially developing and getting in popularity in eastern and northern countries.

Erasmus+ also involves financial aides and scholarships on a European and local levels. The point being to promote this kind of mobility and to make it more accessible to a larger number of students. The amount of the Erasmus scholarships depends only on the living cost estimated in the foreign country against the home country. In 2018, the programme and the European Union are planning to raise those amounts. The budget for the whole program for 2014-2020 is of 14.7 billion euros.

The place of Great Britain in the programme after the Brexit has not been decided for the moment. For now, everything remains as planned.

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary, we can find in the whole Europe different kind of events and exhibitions, involving governments, and even student organisations like ESN (Erasmus Student Network). The points is also to promote the programme especially with the concept of the Erasmus Generation. Many books also came out, summarising several students testimonies.

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