Some 22 years after the launch of Erasmus, two million European students have been able to study or take up a work placement abroad with the support of the programme.
Ever fancied studying in Barcelona or doing an internship in London? 160 000 European students and 27 000 teaching staff from higher education institutions went abroad to study or teach in the academic year 2007/2008 alone.
Courses taken in another country are recognised by the student's home university, so a term or two abroad is definitely not time wasted. As well as broadening academic opportunities, on a personal level the programme fosters intercultural skills and helps students become more independent. A monthly grant of around €250 - depending where the recipient's home university is based - helps meet living costs.
The programme also promotes teacher exchanges and general cooperation between higher education bodies across Europe and beyond. Over 4 000 higher education institutions in 31 countries - that includes 90% of EU universities - currently participate in the programme. This figure is set to rise when Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia join Erasmus later this year.
Erasmus grants are also available for work placements in companies and organisations abroad. This option is attracting a growing number of students - some 20 000 in 2007/08.