The Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) promotes cooperation between European universities and allows for full academic recognition of studies and qualifications throughout the European Union. The Programme is named after Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, a 16th-century Dutch scholar. 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.
Established in 1987, the successful program continues to adjust to the changing needs and demands of the students and EU. Erasmus+, which will replace the many different exchange programs (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, is due to start in 2014.
Croatia has participated in the Erasmus Programme since 2011. A list of higher education institutions that hold the Erasmus University Charter is available here.
The Erasmus Programme offers the possibility of studying abroad for between 3 months and 1 year, with scholarships, grants, and transferable tuition.
Eligible students must be enrolled at higher education institution that holds an ERASMUS University Charter, and at least the sending or the receiving country must be an EU member state. The student must be enrolled at least in the second year of higher education studies. Students are also eligible if they are enrolled in a short-term higher vocational education course or if they are a part-time student that will study full time while abroad. Postgraduate students may also participate in Erasmus if they have not already exceeded their grant quota.
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 to learn more about their educational system.
Erasmus Study Mobility
Students can take part in the Erasmus study mobility program 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. Students in their first year of study are eligible for work placements. Some employers offer a basic income in addition to grants. Work placement offers credit and recognition by the home institution.
The Language Assistant program allows participants to improve language skills and explore a new community. Language assistantships in other EU, EEA member states or Turkey are now considered work placements under Erasmus. Undergraduates participating in the official Language Assistants Programme are eligible for Erasmus status, subject to eligibility criteria being met.
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.
Participating countries include countries in the EU, EEA, and 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 offers courses in your area of study.
Students may study abroad for between three months and an academic year. For students in short-term higher vocational education courses, the minimum period for a work placement is two months. You can combine a study period with a work placement (providing there are no gaps between the two activities), so a single Erasmus period with funding may last for up to 24 months.
It is advisable to start preparing for your stay at least a year before departure. The sooner you start planning, the better chance you have of finding the right program and submitting your application materials before important deadlines.
The home institution of the student applies to its national agency for Erasmus mobility grants, while the student applies to his or her home institution. Students apply through their university with an Erasmus Coordinator in their subject area. Applicants must submit:
Applicants should be prepared to submit certified copies of all diplomas since high school. Translations may be required.
Students currently benefit from a tuition fee-waiver scheme, meaning that students participating in an Erasmus program for a full academic year are not required to pay tuition to their host institution in addition to their home institution. However, if you study abroad for less than a year, you will have to pay tuition fees to the host institution.
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. All participating students are welcome to apply for grants. 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 set-up costs of such placements. This includes a one-off supplementary grant of €250 to assist with expenses relating to short-term accommodation. Up to €300 can be paid to each student for travel costs.
Erasmus grants 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.
The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) provides uniform credit across different educational institutions. Credits are based on student workload, which consists of the time required to complete all planned learning activities such as attending lectures, seminars, independent and private study, preparation of projects, examinations, etc. One credit is equivalent to around 25 to 30 working hours with 60 credits representing the workload of a year of study (usually 30 credits per semester and 20 credits per trimester). Credits can only be obtained after the successful completion and assessment of the required work.
To fully understand how the system works, read our article on the ECTS.