Forging the European Spirit: which are the Erasmus+ programme outcomes?

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Welcome to the second part related to the Erasmus+ programme! I am Dino again as always! And in the next paragraphs we will find out the financial support for participating to the Erasmus+ experience and some other opportunities within the framework of the programme. In the end, I will tell which were the outcomes of the Erasmus+ in the EU society.

Financial support for Erasmus+’ students

The students are entitled to receive a monthly amount of money which is necessary to grant their independence during the abroad period and cover their travel costs. The monthly wage is calculated according to the living costs of the hosting country, to the student’s family’s level of income, and the distance between countries and the availability of the grants.

You can check the rates with your National Agency for mobility or directly with your university. There is also extra support for students who are disadvantaged or that come from outermost programme countries or regions.

In addition, as Erasmus+ student you are exempted from all kinds of fees which are usually necessary for the enrollment of the receiving institution. Small fees may be required for an insurance or student union membership (like been part of the Erasmus Student Network).

Anyways, as written in the first part, the current Erasmus+ programme has been funded almost the double than the last one, it means that the monthly wage has doubled! So do not lose this opportunity and think about the possibility to do an Erasmus+ exchange or project!

Traineeship abroad with Erasmus+

As mentioned, it is also possible, through the Erasmus+ programme, do a traineeship abroad. As for the exchange, the aspirant candidate may be enrolled in higher education institutions holding an Erasmus+ Charter of Higher Education (therefore, being part of the Erasmus+ network). But this kind of project is also open for students who have recently graduated: in this case the traineeship must occur between one year of the student’s graduation, and it is necessary to apply while still being enrolled.

The duration of your traineeship can last a minimum of 2 months up to a maximum of 12 months. As for the study exchange, there is also the possibility for a blended mobility. Further, it is possible to benefit of a traineeship exchange with Erasmus+ multiple times, but keep in mind that the total time abroad cannot exceed 12 months within your cycle of study! (Expect for courses as medicine)

It goes without saying that the traineeship must be relevant for the student’s degree-related learning and, of course, coherent with the student’s personal skill development.

The traineeship can be held in any organisation in an Erasmus+ partner country, but not within the EU institutions, bodies, and agencies.

The application process is held by the international or Erasmus+ office of the student’s higher education institution, and the selection is up to the latter.

If the candidate succeeds in the application process, it will be necessary to sign a Learning Agreement for the traineeship between the participant, the education institute and the receiving organisation. This with the aim to ensure a transparent and efficient preparation of the abroad experience. This document has almost the same duty as the one for the study exchange. And the participant will receive the Erasmus+ Student Charter.

Once concluded the traineeship (diligently possible!), the receiving organisation will have to send to both the participant and the higher education institution the Traineeship Certificate. The latter is a document which states that the participant has accomplished the traineeship, and reports the activities done and eventual new skills acquired during the experience. Therefore, it is a useful tool to improve the participant’s CV!

For what concerns the financial support, there are no difference with the exchange study experience. Therefore, it is sufficient to tell you that also in this case, if you decide to participate in a traineeship exchange, the monthly wage will be higher that the wage of the previous Erasmus+ programme!

Some more opportunities from the Erasmus+ programme

Besides the exchange study and traineeship, the Erasmus+ programme offers further opportunities. But due to the extent of the programme, it is opportune to list some of them and describe them briefly. It goes without saying that if you want to find more information about these other opportunities, you can find everything that you need within the official Erasmus+’ website!

An interesting opportunity is the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters. It is a high-level integrated study programme for master’s degrees. Even though it is an Erasmus+ project, it is formed by an international partnership of different higher education institutions worldwide. Therefore, the applications are made by worldwide candidates which compete to be enlisted as best-ranked students to get the Erasmus+ funds scholarships, which covers the cost of a student’s participation in the project, travel, and a living allowance.

There is also the big opportunity to get an Erasmus+ master’s degrees loans, which consists in a loan with favorable pay-back terms. And it is quite convenient for those students who wish to do a master’s degree abroad, without the risk of ending up with a large debt! And there is no need for a collateral from students or parents, and thus it does not apply market interest rates. Leaving, therefore, enough time (1 or 2 years) to the graduated student to find a proper job.

Another cornerstone of the Erasmus+ programme is the support for students with physical, mental or health-related conditions. It is aimed to ensure that a student with those difficulties can participate with no obstacles for to the Erasmus+ experiences. And it consists with extra financial support and with the particular care of the EU related agencies to the programme to secure a prompt physical accessibility, and pedagogical and technical support services wherever is needed.

Results of the Erasmus+ programme

In conclusion, it is opportune to give a look to results of Erasmus+ in the European youth society and understand if the programme has been a positive tool for enhancing our EU family. As we know the EU has unveiled, starting from 2014, some recommendation for promoting mobility as a useful tool for fostering employment, lower poverty level and enhance free movement of people (which is a cornerstone of the EU charters).

In fact, the experience of living and studying abroad, gives to the individual the mean to foster its “best practices”, throughout its exposure to different cultures, political and economic contexts. Those “best practices” are considered paramount for the students to find their path in a world which is perceived as a global village: therefore, it is needed the ability to adapt themselves to differences. Thus, the students, who represent most of the times the future leading class, are needed to develop decent intercultural communication tools to interact with the complexity of the global society.

Indeed, the Erasmus+ experience offers and helps the student (and other individuals) to foster these crucial skills. And in addition, it brings changes within the different society in which the Erasmus+ operates (mainly in the EU borders), also fostering the change within the local societies which host the exchange individuals. Indeed, this does not refer simply to the ability of communication of both students and hosting society, but rather the ability to engage with specific cultural nuances of both listeners, thus enhancing international communication.

Another fact that has emerged during the monitoring of Erasmus’ long-decades experience, is that the students who have taken part to the programme tend to have better results in reaching a good working position (and thus well paid) rather than those students who did not take part the programme. Thus, the Erasmus exchanges projects are a valuable experience for finding a good employment throughout the individual life.

Besides the economic aspects, it is clear, according to the follow-up of the Erasmus experience, that studying abroad creates a more positive attitude between the different students from other European countries and strengths the sense of belonging to Europe. Indeed, it has been recorded that a greater attachment to the host country and Europe among students who have had an experience abroad with Erasmus, rather than those students who have studied just in their own country who instead show higher levels of attachment to their country of origin. Therefore, the Erasmus experience fosters European identity.

Anyways, it is also necessary to point out that the Erasmus+ programme, albeit its reinforcement by the European Commission, needs to get through other phases which could make this tool even more suitable for creating a better European family. Indeed, it has been noted that sometimes the Erasmus participants, after arriving in the host country, are left alone in their experience. Which vanish the purposes of the Erasmus+ programme. Even though that there are associations, like the ESN, which try to propose activities intended to foster the student’s community.

But those association, which most of the time outside the EU circuits and lead by other students, are not sufficient in implementing those recommendations which were pointed out here above. Therefore, it is desirable that EU’s institutions or agencies take the opportunity of structuring even better the stay of the students in the host countries. With the aim to enhance the student’s feeling of belonging to a greater purpose: which is creating a better EU family.

But is anyhow appreciable that, starting from 2020, EU has integrated in the Erasmus+ programme topics which are paramount for our modern times: like the European Green Deal, the efforts for a better digitalization of the EU’s countries with the help of the European youngsters, proposing a different way of economy which improves both sustainability and mental health, protecting democracy within the EU border with the help of the youngsters and promoting the European Union in the world!

Conclusions

At the end we can agree that the Erasmus+ programme is a great opportunity that the EU puts on disposal of its youngsters, and this it is a valuable mean to pursue a greater interconnection amoung the different European cultures. As pointed out before. Albeit some leaks, it is clear that participating in an Erasmus+ project is important, and I strongly suggest you to do so.

Because we are quite lucky to have this sort of chance which enable us to wider both our personal and technical skills! Therefore, do not miss this chance to become more linked with the European family.

And never forget: Play. Learn. Evolve.