The Lifelong Learning Programme is a product of the European Commission to enhance higher education. It seeks to reinforce transnational cooperation between universities, boosting European mobility and encourage full academic recognition of studies and qualifications throughout the Union (with ECTS, European Credit Transfer System).
The Lifelong Learning Programme
Currently 31 countries participate to the program.
There are six sub-programs focusing on different stages of education and training and continuing previous programs:
- Comenius for schools
- Erasmus for higher education
- Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training
- Grundtvig for adult education
- The Transversal programme covering activities in four themed areas across all sectors of education and training: policy cooperation and innovation in education and training; foreign language teaching; development of ICT-based content and services; and dissemination of results of the programme;\
- The Jean Monnet Programme, supporting institutions and actions in favour of European integration.
The ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) system is attached to life Long Learning system. Total recognition of periods of study abroad is a condition of quality and volume of student mobility in Europe. The aim of ECTS is to guarantee this recognition.
The credit system represents the volume of work that the student must give to each module/course, affected by a value. Student workload consists of the time required to complete all planned learning activities such as attending lectures, seminars, independent and private study, preparation of projects, examinations, and so forth.
60 Credits represent the workload of year of study; normally 30 Credits are given for semester and 20 credits for a trimester, one credit stands for around 25 to 30 working hours). Those credits allocated to modules and courses can only be obtained after successful completion of the work required and appropriate assessment of the learning outcomes achieved.
It is advised to start preparing your stay at least 1 year before your departure, in order to find all the different possibilities that are offered, and to avoid missing a deadline (registration time, allowances, etc.
It's usually better to leave after having achieved a first degree (ordinary degree, Bachelor of Engineering for example), or even after a post degree or Master in order to complete your studies.
It is possible to go without an exchange program and to contact yourself a foreign university in order to continue your studies. You must first check that the degree will be recognized both in the host country and at home. Nothing worse than to realize at the end of the stay that you won't be able to use your new qualification in your home country.
In any cases, it's better to check your level in the language before to go, and possibly attend a language leaning course, as you will have to be able to follow the courses.
Some institutions organize tests and select the students based on their skills on the language: Deutsches Sprachdiplom in German, or Dele in Spanish and TOEFL in English.
In addition, a student can get an Erasmus Intensive Language Courses (EILCs) offered at host universities.
The Erasmus grant is intended as contribution towards covering the difference in living expenses abroad (do not expect a full scholarship, the amount is often no more than hundred euros per month). This allowance can be granted in addition to other grants or loans.
A good news is that no fees (for tuition, registration, examinations, access to laboratory and library facilities etc.) have to be paid to the host institution./p>
Explain in your candidacy your level of qualifications, level of language skills, current degree, and the courses you wish to take.
Attach certified copies of all diplomas and educational degrees. It is possible that some universities will ask for translations.
Preparing for the Stay
Before to leave, you must assure that you've got enough money needed for your stay. Therefore ask information on the cost of living, the price of accommodation and do not forget to include the cost of travel that you will have to make.
Student grants allow you to face some needs but cover often only part of your spending as their amount is low. The Erasmus program provides automatically mobility grants (see above).
You should bring your European card for sickness insurance (see our section Health in the list of information about the city). You can also consider any other private insurance or international cover when you travel abroad.
Either accommodation is offered by your host institution (room on campus in April-May for example), or directly in September by trying to find a flatshare. The first solution is of course preferred. In the second solution, choose to stay in a cheap hotel, youth accommodation or bed and breakfast for a few days in order to have time to visit and find a room.
Important documents to bring with you:
- ID photos
- All the administrative documents sent by the universities regarding the stay, student card of the year
- Documents regarding all grants awarded
- Travel and Health Insurance
- Proof of Income or Funds