From Erasmus to Erasmus Plus
The Erasmus Programme (now called Erasmus Plus) is, with no doubt, one of the greatest success of European Union and it’s turned 30 on 2017! Let’s see together a brief history of these years of intercultural experience!
The Erasmus Programme was first established in 1987 as an EU student exchange program.
Its namesake is a Dutch philosopher, but also an acronym (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students).
Since its inception, The Erasmus Programme has allowed well over 4.4 million students the opportunity to study in a different country and more than 4.6 million people more to take part of another cultural exchange training, volunteering or working in another country. More than 9 million people in 30 years!
These numbers have always risen during this period. Let’s just think that in 1987 the Erasmus students were 3,200 coming from 11 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom).
What is the Erasmus generation?
The Erasmus experience is invaluable; it lets students attend a different University, studying subjects recognized from the home University thanks to the Learning Agreement, while learning firsthand about another culture, providing a grant to bear the life abroad.
Many people consider the Erasmus Plus not only an exchange programme but a cultural phenomenon.
It has become incredibly popular for university students to want to take part in exchange programs and people who have done this kind of experience feel part of a big family, often called the Erasmus generation.
Giving students the opportunity to make new discoveries in unfamiliar countries and learn more about other customs and cultures helps instill a sense of integration between countries and people.
In 2014 the European Commission stated that more than 1 million children were born from couples who met themselves during their Erasmus period.
Many people you meet studying abroad become friends for life and this will improve your language and communication skills, lets you travel (cheaper) in other countries, grow your knowledge and culture.
In 2013, Erasmus became “Erasmus Plus” and much more than mobility:
“Cooperation projects are a tool offering organisations active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport the opportunity to form partnerships with each other, as well as with other actors such as companies and public authorities. These cooperation projects enhance quality and drive innovation, for example by improving the policies that are essential to economic growth and job creation.” [source: European Commission Website]
The Erasmus Programme has also inspired the creation of multiple exchange student organizations, the most prominent of which is the Erasmus Student Network , the largest student association in Europe.
Erasmus before and Erasmus Plus now have revolutionized the study abroad experience in Europe, making it easier than ever for students to immerse themselves in different cultures while studying their respective disciplines.
The millions of students who have passed through this programme, and been the recipients of Erasmus grants, had their lives forever changed by the unique cultural experiences they encountered and new friendships they made.
And you? Are you ready to be part of the Erasmus People?