Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012, ERASMUS is the most successful student exchange programme in the world. Each year, more than 230 000 students study abroad thanks to the Erasmus programme. It also offers the opportunity for student placements in enterprises, university staff teaching and training, and it funds co-operation projects between higher education institutions across Europe.
Erasmus became part of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme in 2007, covering new areas such as student placements in enterprises (transferred from the Leonardo da Vinci Programme), university staff training and teaching for business staff.
Erasmus is the perfect example of a European success story: close to 3 million students have participated since it started in 1987, as well as over 300 000 higher education teachers and other staff since 1997 (this type of exchange was also expanded further in 2007). The annual budget is in excess of 450 million euro; more than 4 000 higher education institutions in 33 countries participate, and more are willing to join.
In 2012 we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Erasmus Programme. From each of the 33 participating countries, one student and one staff Erasmus Ambassador have been selected to share their views on the impact Erasmus has had on their private and professional lives as well as on their institutions.
Piroska Bakos (Hungarian TV news presenter) - student ambassador of Hungary, Erasmus in Germany in 1998-1999
Tomás Sánchez López (lead systems engineer at EADS) – student ambassador of Spain, Erasmus in Finland in 2002.
Maurizio Oliviero (Professor at the University of Perugia, member of the group drafting the Palestinian constitution; assisting in the reform of the judicial system in Afghanistan) - student ambassador of Italy, Erasmus in Spain in 1988.
Elena Luptak (contemporary dance teacher and Erasmus coordinator, Konservatorium Wien University) - staff ambassador of Austria, Erasmus in Turkey in 2004.
Many studies show that a period spent abroad not only enriches students' lives in the academic and professional fields, but can also improve language learning, intercultural skills, self-reliance and self-awareness. Their experiences give students a better sense of what it means to be a European citizen. In addition, many employers highly value such a period abroad, which increases the students' employability and job prospects. Staff exchanges have similar beneficial effects, both for the people participating and for the home and host institutions.
Opportunities for students:
Opportunities for professors and staff at a University or Higher Education Institution:
|Opportunities for Universities or Higher Education Institutions:||
Opportunities for Businesses:
Higher education institutions which want to participate in ERASMUS activities must have an ERASMUS University Charter. The Charter aims to guarantee the quality of the programme by setting certain fundamental principles.
The European Commission is responsible for the overall programme implementation; its Directorate-General for Education and Culture coordinates the different activities.
So called "decentralised actions" that promote individual mobility are run by national agencies in the 33 participating countries.
"Centralised" actions, such as networks, multilateral projects and the award of the ERASMUS University Charter, are managed by the EU's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.
Thanks to all these actions, Erasmus has become a driver in the modernisation of higher education in Europe and, in particular, has inspired the establishment of th Bologna Process.