Isanya Köhne

Going abroad for a short period of time, is a dream for many of us. Most Higher Education Institutes offer students to follow a semester (or two) abroad at one of their partner universities. Students have the opportunity to go out there, and explore the world, while studying. In Europe, universities mostly work with the Erasmus+ in order to make it for students possible to study at a partner university in Europe. Sometimes, universities also partner up with universities outside of Europe, making it possible to study at the other side of the world! But how does this all work? What is the Erasmus+? How to apply for the program? And what do the other exchange programs entail? In this weeks’ blog post, we will answer all those questions!

One of the most known exchange programmes, is the Erasmus programme. In 1987, the Erasmus Programme was established. Erasmus stands for: EuRopean community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. Since then, students have the opportunity to follow a semester (or two) at another university than their own in Europe. The idea originated in 1969 from Sofia Corradi (Mamma Erasmus) from the idea to promote cultural, social and academic exchange between European students. She raised awareness about the idea and made it known in the academic spheres. 

Then it started. The EGEE student association (now AEGEE), led by Franck Biancheri, made sure that this idea would happen. AEGEE actively collaborated with the European Commission, and with success. In 1987, the Erasmus Programme was approved! Throughout the years, many European students went on exchange. In 2014, 3.3 million students were able to go on exchange, with more than 4,000 university institutions from 31 countries participating.

Nowadays, even more than 9 million students did their exchange with Erasmus+. Every six years, the programme gets renewed, with the current programme coming to an end this year. For the next programme, which will be from 2021 - 2027, the negotiations are still going on in order to make it better and more inclusive. Keep an eye on ERASMUS+ to be up-to-date on the new programme!

Exchange outside of Europe

With the growing interest of students wanting to go on an exchange, many universities also offer the possibility to go outside of Europe to one of their partner universities in the United States, South America, Asia, Africa or Australia. The possibilities are endless! In addition, there are organizations like Education First or AEGEE, with which you can also go outside of Europe.

How to apply for an exchange?

The easiest way to apply, is to look at the possibilities at your university and what they offer to you to go on exchange. Find information via your universities’ website, via the International Relations Office and talk to people from your university that went abroad to see how they did it. 

Choosing your destination

But, then comes the last important question. Where do you go? With such an amazing and broad network there’s plenty of options, all unique from one another. Even though we’re confident you’ll find THE country and programme for you, there’s no better way to soak up inspiration than from people’s stories that went abroad before you. That’s why we take great pleasure to let people that went on exchange share their stories in the upcoming weeks! 

Every week, we will voice one or two stories that are a guide for you to explore your options. Spain, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, or even South Korea or Canada, anything is possible. So that once the world turns to normal again, and you can choose whether to go on exchange or not, you already have some information on the life in several destinations!