Going abroad has many advantages: proof of dynamism, motivation and a true experience. The Erasmus program in Andorra is part of an EU program (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) that was created in 1987 to ease cooperation between European universities and allow for full academic recognition of studies and qualifications throughout the Union for both staff and students. Erasmus offered the possibility of studying abroad for between 3 months and 1 year, with transferable tuition rates and grants.
The Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) was created to ease cooperation between European universities and allow for full academic recognition of studies and qualifications throughout the Union. The Programme is named after a 16th century Dutch scholar, Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. An orphan who received a religious education, Erasmus eventually earned a doctorate in Paris and developed his own unique methods and theories concerning teaching. He continued his work by bequeathing his fortune to the University of Basel as a precursor of mobility grants.
The European Commission had been working on a pilot student exchange Programme in the early 1980s when the Erasmus Programme was proposed. Some countries, like France, Germany and the United Kingdom, already had exchange Programmes and were reluctant to join. Other countries were completely in favour. A compromise was finally reached with a simple majority of Member States and the Programme was adopted in June 1987. After a rocky start, 3,244 students were able to participate in the first year.
For over 25 years, the Programme has grown and adjusted to the changing needs and demands of the students and EU. Today, the Programme has expanded to 4,000 higher learning institutions, 33 countries with over 2.2 million students participating.
The Programme is still not without controversy and issues. Funding and management has been a problem and a massive overhaul of the Programme was in order. Erasmus for All will replace the many different Programmes (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig, Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink) of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) to reduce administration costs, duplication and fragmentation. The Programme would be in operation until 2020.
Erasmus program is eligible to all students enrolled at a Higher Education or a Further Education (HE/FE) Institution in the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and EU candidate countries that wish to study, find a work placement or be a language assistant may apply.
Students may also apply if they are enrolled in a short-term higher vocational education course or if they are part-time students that will study full-time during their period abroad. Postgraduate students can also take part in Erasmus, proving that they have not already exceeded their grant quota.
Students from all subject areas can participate. The home Higher Education Institution must have a formal agreement with a partner in one of the eligible countries.
Erasmus also offers education and training opportunities for teaching and non-teaching staff. It's a great opportunity to teach or work in another EU country and get to know the workings of their educational system. Learn new ideas and best practices to take from Andorra, develop your international network and enhance your language skills. You will also acquire first-hand experience to share with students and colleagues who may be interested in Erasmus.
Note that the language of instruction may be different than that of your home institution. Some institutions organize tests and select the students based on their skills on the language, such as; the Deutsches Sprachdiplom in German, Dele in Spanish or TOEFL in English. Erasmus Intensive Language Courses may be offered at host universities.
Participation countries include countries in the EU, EEA, or candidate countries. Students from all subject areas can participate. However, not all institutions offer Erasmus for all subjects. Do your research and make sure the institution you want to go to provides your program. It is advised to start preparing your stay at least 1 year before departure to find the right program and ensure you are able to submit all necessary documents and deadlines.
Students can take part in the Erasmus study mobility at any time during their degree, except during the first year. When you go will depend on the structure of your degree and the arrangements your university has with its partners. Credit is given by the home institution.
Work Placements need to be approved by the home institution, with an agreement between the student, institution and employer. Some employers offer a basic income in addition to grants. Work placement offers credit and recognition by the home institution.
The Language Assistant Programs allows participants to improve language skills and explore a community. Language assistantships in other EU, EEA member states or Turkey are now considered as work placements under Erasmus. Undergraduates participating in the official Language Assistants programme are eligible for Erasmus status, subject to eligibility criteria being met.
Students may study abroad for between three months and an academic year (9 months). For students on short-term higher vocational education courses, the minimum period on a work placement is two months. You can combine a study period with a work placement (showing that there are no gaps between the two activities) so it is considered a single Erasmus period. Check with the university Erasmus Co-ordinator for details on criteria.
Currently, the students benefit from the tuition fee-waiver scheme. For example, a foreign student spending a full academic year on Erasmus does not pay any tuition fees in Andorra for that year. However, if you study abroad for less than a year, you will have to pay the tuition fees.
Students may receive an Erasmus grant for study or work placement. These are supplementary, non-repayable grants intended to offset any additional expenses incurred while abroad. The Erasmus grant is not means-tested. To be eligible, students must be registered at a Higher Education institution which holds an Erasmus University Charter (EUC) and spend an approved study or work period of between 3 to 12 months each at an institution which holds an EUC in another EU, EEA or candidate country. Grant values vary depending on the country you visit:
Students undertaking short-term work placements can receive additional supplementary funding in order to offset the relatively high initial setup costs of such placements. This includes a one-off supplementary grant of €250 to each student, in order to assist with the higher expenses relating to short-term accommodation. Up to €300 can be paid to each student for travel costs.
Erasmus grants in Andorra are paid through your home institution and in addition to the standard grants or loans to which you are entitled. The total duration of all grants may not exceed 24 months.