Erasmus in Bogotá


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 from a famous character of Christian humanism, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, also called Erasmus of Rotterdam, a Dutch traveler born around 1500.

Erasmus was an orphan who received a religious education and became priest, eventually earning a doctorate in Paris. Critical about the teaching method, he used his theories to create his own program which he used as he lived and worked in several parts of Europe. By leaving his fortune to the University of Basel, he became 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 nearly 30 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. Since 2014, Erasmus+ has replaced 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 will be in operation until 2020.

The Erasmus Programme offers the possibility of studying abroad for between 3 months and 1 year, with scholarships, grants, and transferable tuition.


  • To enable students to benefit educationally, linguistically and culturally from the experience of learning in other European countries;
  • To promote co-operation between institutions and to enrich the educational environment of host institutions;
  • To contribute to the development of a pool of well-qualified, open-minded and internationally experienced young people as future professionals.

Who is Eligible?

Eligible students must be enrolled at a Higher Education or a Higher Education/Further Education (HE/FE) Institution that holds an ERASMUS University Charter in the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, as well as third countries that have concluded agreements with the European Union. Students may also enroll 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 during their period abroad. Postgraduate students can also take part in Erasmus, provided 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 country and get to know the workings of their educational system. Learn new ideas and best practices, 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.

Erasmus+ Programme in Colombia

As a non EU country, not all opportunities offered by the Erasmus+ programme are available in Colombia. However, there are many sections of the programme that include partner countries.  Opportunities in Colombia that may be funded by Erasmus+ refer to:

  • Erasmus+ Study Mobilities at undergraduate level
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degrees
  • Short-term teaching opportunities for higher education staff
  • Short-term training opportunities for higher education staff

Erasmus+ Study Mobilities at undergraduate level

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.

Duration of the Programme

Students may study abroad for between three months and an academic year.

How to Apply

It is advised to start preparing for your stay at least 1 year before departure. The earlier you plan, the better chance you find the right Programme for you and are able to submit your applications before all pertinent deadlines.

The home institution of the students applies for ERASMUS mobility grants to its national agency while the students apply to their home institution. Students apply through their university with an Erasmus Coordinator in their subject area. Applicants must submit:

  • Level of qualifications
  • Level of language
  • Current degree
  • Desired courses

Applicants should be prepared to submit certified copies of all diplomas since the baccalaureate or A Level. Translations may be required.


The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) provides uniform credit across different educational institutions. 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, etc. One credit stands for 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). 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.

Example of graduation:

Percentage of successful students normally achieving the grade
ECTS grade
best 10%
outstanding performance with only minor errors
next 25%
above the average standard but with some errors
next 30%
generally sound work with a number of notable errors
next 25%
fair but with significant shortcomings
next 10%
performance meets the minimum criteria

FAIL- some more work required before the credit can be awarded

FAIL - considerable further work required

It is important to note that the ECTS grade does not replace that of the institution. The ECTS grading system gives information which is in addition to that provided on the host institution's standard transcript, after agreement with the home institution. The ECTS grade is indicated alongside the mark awarded by the institution on the student's transcript of records.

To fully understand how the system works, read our article on the ECTS.

Tuition & Grants

Students benefit from the tuition fee-waiver scheme. For example, a foreign student spending a full academic year on Erasmus does not pay tuition fees in Colombia for that year, but only in their come country. However, if you study abroad for less than a year, you will have to pay the tuition fees.  The payment of any national grant or loan to outgoing students should be maintained during the ERASMUS study period abroad.

Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degrees

Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degrees (EMJMD) are designed and implemented by two or more universities participating in the Erasmus programme. The Masters usually involve spending time in at least two of the programme countries (EU members, EU candidates and members of the European Economic Association), while part of the studies can also take part in a partner country. Colombia is a partner country for the programme, during the current period lasting until 2020. The EMJMD diplomas are either jointly awarded by all universities or multiple diplomas awarded by each participating institution. Enrollment is directly with the coordinating university.

Duration of the Programme

An EMJMD lasts between 12 and 24 months, part of which may be spent in Colombia.

How to Apply

You need to have a higher education degree or equivalent recognized in the countries awarding the degree in order to be eligible for applying.
It is advised to start preparing for your stay at least 1 year before departure. The earlier you plan, the better chance you find the right Programme for you and are able to submit your applications before all pertinent deadlines. A catalogue of all the EMJMD programmes is found on the European Commission website, and new degrees are added each summer.

It is likely that you will need to submit your application between October and January, for the classes that start later in the year.

Applicants should be prepared to submit certified copies of all diplomas since the baccalaureate or A Level. Translations may be required.

Tuition & Grants

In order to receive financial support for your participation in an EMJMD, you first need to be accepted into the course by the consortium of universities, and then be selected for an EMJMD scholarship.

The scholarship covers tuition, library and other academic costs, insurance and other mandatory costs related to the degree. It also includes a small grant for the travel and subsistence costs for the duration of the course. The amount depends on the duration of the course and the nationality of the student.
You should apply for an EMJMD scholarship with the organizing consortium. 

Short-term teaching and training opportunities for higher education staff

Opportunities for staff need to be approved by the sending institution, on the basis of an agreement between the sending and the receiving institution. These opportunities may last between 5 days and 2 months.

The Eramsus+ programme for higher education staff covers travel and subsistence costs during the time of the exchange. Amounts vary depending on the receiving country and the distance between the home country and the receiving country, and are decided by the National Agency within the sending country.

Applications should be made via the sending institution.

Update 20/08/2018


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