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Studying in Europe
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One of the great benefits of being part of the EU family is the opportunity to study or take part in training programmes anywhere in Europe, no matter how young or old you are.

There are significant advantages to studying or training abroad for Irish citizens. Students improve language skills, experience a different culture and may even give themselves an edge when it comes to applying for skilled jobs.

There may also be courses or training programmes in other EU countries that aren’t available in Ireland.

EU member states, including Ireland, adopted a new framework for cooperationto reform education and training systems in May 2009. This will make it even easier for Europeans to move, study and upskill in any of the 28 EU countries.

And that means more lifelong learning opportunities from early childhood right through to higher education, vocational training and adult learning.

The European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programmehas a budget of almost €7 billion for the years 2007-2013 set aside to be spent on various educational and training initiatives.

Check out also Ploteus, the European Portal on Learning Opportunities throughout the European Space. Ploteus aims to help students, job seekers, workers, parents, guidance counsellors and teachers to find out information about studying in Europe.

Here are some of the ways that Irish citizens can take advantage of lifelong learning in Europe.

The Comenius Programme

Secondary school students in classroomThe Comenius programme is designed for pupils, teachers and parents involved in the first phase of education. It targets pre-school education as well as primary and secondary schools. However, it can also be relevant to any member of the education community.

The main aim of Comenius is to develop knowledge and understanding among young people and educational staff of the diversity of European cultures, languages and values.

Each year thousands of schools across Europe participate in Comenius and work on common projects to learn more about each other’s country. Some teachers and pupils travel to partner schools or take part in video conferences and chats, which can be a lot of fun as well as educational.

The programme is open to schools in all 28 EU countries and non EU states Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Turkey.

To find out more about Comenius and see how your school can participate click here or contact Léargas, the Irish National Agency for the Comenius Programme.

The Erasmus Programme

Students at workErasmus is the EU's flagship education and training programme and it provides opportunities for students and staff at third level institutions to study and teach abroad.

Around 90 per cent of European universities take part and 1.9 million students have participated in the programme since it started back in 1987.

More than 180,000 Europeans study and work abroad each year through Erasmus and the programme supports co-operation between higher education institutions across Europe.

Erasmus can also help university staff, including lecturers and professors, to teach or be trained abroad.

The main aims of the programme are to create a European Higher Education Area in which academic qualifications will be comparable and to foster innovation through education throughout Europe.

Like Comenius, Erasmus stretches beyond the EU’s borders with a total of 31 countries involved in the programme.

The programme is expanding and has a target of three million Erasmus students by 2012.

Erasmus is open to applications from Irish students who are enrolled in at least the second year of their college, university or third level institute but placements may be authorised from the first year.

Students selected for the programme by their college or university may be awarded a grant towards the cost of living abroad and travelling.

To find out more about Erasmus click here or contact the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the Irish contact point for the Erasmus programme.

The Leonardo da Vinci Programme

Apprentice at workThe Leonardo da Vinci Programme is for individuals and organisations involved in vocational education and training. It’s designed to benefit workers, trainees and businesses through work placements abroad which can improve knowledge and skills.

The programme is open to all Irish organisations involved in work-based education and training. And because it supports the development of skills and training it can help businesses as well as the individual students and trainees.

Leonardo da Vinci enables organisations involved in vocational education and training to work with European partners so they can exchange best practices, increase the expertise of their staff and respond to teaching and learning needs.

It also helps make vocational education more attractive to young people who can use the programme to acquire new skills, knowledge and qualifications.

Leonardo da Vinci also aims to bolster the competitiveness of the European labour market.

Applications for the programme can made in Ireland through Léargas and the Higher Education Authority (HEA). To find out more about the Leonardo da Vinci Programme click here.

The Grundtvig Programme

Adult educationPart of the lifelong learning programme, Grundtvig focuses on the teaching and study needs of people in adult education and alternative education streams.

One of its main aims is to provide adults with ways to improve their knowledge and skills in order to keep them both mentally fit and potentially more employable throughout their lives.

Grundtvig can benefit Irish adults involved in education through formal or informal methods such as autonomous learning, community learning or experiential learning.

The programme is open to any Irish group or institution involved in adult education, from community groups to museums to universities.

Grundtvig funding is provided through a number of sub-programmes, details of which are available from Léargas. For more information on the Grundtvig Programme click here.


The Transversal Programme

Language studentsTransversal programme funding is available to support education and training organisations across four themed areas that include languages and policy cooperation.

Irish learning professionals involved in the design or delivery of education or vocational training can benefit from a Transversal study visit to another European country.

People from all areas of education and training in Ireland can take part. This includes those working in Government, local authorities, schools, colleges, adult education organisations, trade unions, companies, sectoral organisations, the voluntary sector and non-governmental organisations.

To find out more about the Transversal Programme click here.

The Jean Monnet Programme

Jean MonnetThe Jean Monnet Programme is the European Commission’s initiative to encourage teaching and research that helps European integration.

The programme reaches over 250,000 students worldwide and includes a network of Jean Monnet European Centres of Excellence which are university-level institutions recognised by the European Commission.

The centres are involved in high quality research into European integration as well as the teaching of topics relating to integration.

The programme offers support for university-level projects which promote integration and which are selected on the basis of their academic merits.

The Commission also funds Jean Monnet Chairs and Jean Monnet teaching modules. There are currently 629 Jean Monnet Chairs worldwide and the Jean Monnet Action – a key activity of the programme - is currently present in 61 countries across the five continents.

For more information on the Jean Monnet Programme click here.

Last update: 03/07/2013  |Top