How to go on an Erasmus exchange?

The Erasmus adventure is a privileged moment for each student. Many courses dedicate the third year to university exchanges. It is a moment of discovery, deepening of his linguistic and professional skills but also the opportunity to open up to a new culture. An Erasmus is the opportunity to go and live abroad for several months. These experiences are considered a real asset by schools and employers, and contribute to the construction of every European student. The goal is to increase and develop student and teaching mobility in Europe.


Since 2014, nearly 600,000 French students have been able to benefit from the Erasmus experience.


This trip abroad as part of an Erasmus requires a small phase of organization: destinations, scholarships, professional training, subsidies and universities. Studapart has gathered all the information you need to best anticipate the great departure.



What is the Erasmus program?


The Erasmus program is a university exchange program set up in 1987. It now covers 33 countries including the 27 members of the European Union. It is a program that concerns students and teachers from major European schools and encourages the creation of a European higher education space. This project was set up within the framework of European construction and a space for sharing and solidarity on the continent.


This program is endowed each year with several million euros and allows nearly 3 million students each year to do a university exchange lasting between 3 months and one year.



The Erasmus+ Program.


Until 2014, there were other European exchange programs for education, youth and vocational training. In 2014, all these programs were brought together under one name: Erasmus +.


This name change can be summarized as simplifying exchange offers and opening up to more people. Foreign mobility under the Erasmus+ Program now includes students but also teachers, recent graduates, apprentices but also secondary school and high school students.


Erasmus+ also opens the program to other countries that are not members of the European Union, such as Iceland, Turkey, Serbia or Norway. Other non-EU countries have been added to this program since 2014.



Who Can Go on Erasmus?


The Erasmus+ program is open to all citizens of the 27 Member States of the European Union, as well as to citizens of North Macedonia, Serbia, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Turkey. All public or private higher education institutions approved by the State can participate in the program.


Persons affected by this opportunity to study abroad are numerous. The students who are part of a university establishment which has signed the Erasmus+ charter are the first ones concerned. These students can be in a bachelor, master or doctoral degree but must have validated at least one year of study. The stay can take the form of a professional internship or a semester of study.


In addition, the program is also open to vocational training learners, that is to say young graduates, apprentices and qualified youth in vocational training. They can follow an internship in a European company or a professional training.


By going through a guidance structure, the active people can take advantage of the Erasmus program as part of a reorientation or a specific professional project.


Finally, teachers and trainers are also concerned by the Erasmus + program. They can go to do an internship or observation period in one of the 33 member countries of the program. Mobility in this case can range from two days to two months.



When to Go on Erasmus?


Most higher education institutions offer the opportunity to go on Erasmus during the third year of their studies. It is obviously essential for the student to research this topic before even enrolling in their institution. In France, most universities allow their students to make 3-5 destination wishes to participate in the Erasmus program. IEPs, business schools and engineering schools have also integrated overseas experience into their curriculum.


If the institution meets the conditions of the Erasmus Charter, it is possible to go on exchange as early as the second year of first-cycle university studies, but also from the start of second or third cycle university studies.


The departure dates depend on the course, field of study and the institution. Not all students therefore have the opportunity to go abroad in the same year.



What Steps to Take for an Erasmus Exchange?


Going abroad with Erasmus requires a certain number of steps that need to be anticipated in order not to be overwhelmed by events. First, each school that participates in the Erasmus program is equipped with an international office which needs to be approached in order to start organizing one’s stay in Europe. This international office is responsible for organizing and accompanying all students in their international mobility, both incoming and outgoing. That is why it is necessary to contact the international office of both the sending and receiving universities.


The student can start the administrative procedures by contacting the international relations services of each university. The administrative registration is the first step. This registration is often done online.


Then, the student must fill out a study contract with both of their universities. This contract allows them to choose courses related to their initial training and that will enable them to validate enough ECTS credits to validate the academic year they are currently in.


If the exchange is part of a professional internship, the student must have their internship contract signed by their university and the organization that is hosting them.


In the case of a university exchange, it is possible that the host institution may require a language level certificate. For example, the TOEFL is a language test that certifies a certain level in English and allows students to apply to Anglo-Saxon institutions.


Then, the student or intern can proceed to pay for their mobility abroad. In France, the cost of one month of studies varies from 200 to 300 euros per month. Many financial aids exist to support young people in their mobility abroad.



Which countries are eligible for Erasmus and Erasmus +?


Erasmus + program includes the 27 Member States of the European Union, as well as North Macedonia, Serbia, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Turkey.


Switzerland left this exchange program since 2014 but remains a partner country for the Erasmus program. This is an exception.


Since 2021, the United Kingdom does not participate in this program following the decision of Brexit.



How to Finance Your Erasmus Trip?


The cost of university tuition for this year of study abroad is that of the starting university. However, the cost of travel accommodations and living abroad is a significant amount. In order to ensure that as many students as possible have the opportunity to study abroad, there are many financial aids to accompany young people in this year.


Firstly, there is the Erasmus grant with an amount ranging from 629€ to 926€ per month. Travel costs can also be added to this amount. The amount paid to students is calculated according to the cost of living in the host country, the duration of the stay and the nature of mobility (whether it is an internship or a university exchange).


In France, there is a supplement to the Erasmus grant that is awarded based on the student's financial means. Only scholarship students can benefit from this additional financial aid.


In France, local authorities and cities also participate in supporting international mobility. Regions as well as departments and cities have part of their budget set aside for paying its students a sum of aid in their university and professional projects.


Higher education institutions in France also have a budget dedicated to helping its students organize their departure abroad. Students must turn to their university to benefit from this scholarship if they are eligible.


In order to make the most of the Erasmus experience, students often save a certain amount of money during their first years of study. By taking on a student job, it is possible to put some savings aside in order to face unforeseen events if necessary or to enjoy the host country fully.


The project of going on an Erasmus program is a crucial moment in student lifet. It also requires a certain number of administrative steps and a good organization. The universities that participate in this program are prepared to accompany each student in this step of their academic career. That is why you should not hesitate to ask for details of each step to be taken. Start by choosing the courses, then find out about housing and the cost of living in your host city, and then start the application process for scholarships.


It is also advisable to refer to former students who have returned from their Erasmus program, they will be able to give you good advice on the choice of courses or on the best accommodation options in your host city. 


Erasmus is above all an enriching human experience, Studapart advises you to make the most of it!







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