Erasmus is a European Union programme that enables higher education students to work or study abroad as part of their degree. It also enables staff at higher Education institutions to teach or train for short secondments in another European county.
Analysis undertaken by the British Council, which manages the programme in the UK, shows that 12,873 students took part in 2010/11, beating the record set back in 1994, when the numbers peaked at 11,988.
” This is a fantastic achievement for the programme and UK students. UK and international employers are increasingly telling us that they value graduates with the sort of skills and experience that Erasmus can give. Taking part in Erasmus is a life-changing experience which can have a positive effect on students’ long-term career prospects. Not only does the programme provide financial assistance for students but the experience helps them to stand out in the job market and to get better degrees.” comments David Hibler, Erasmus Programme Manager, British Council.
Encouraging students to go abroad as part of their studies has been at the heart of European Union’s education programmes since the launch of the Erasmus Programme in 1987. Since then it has provided 2.5 million European students with the opportunity to go abroad and study at a Higher Education Institution or train in a company, making it the world’s most successful student mobility programme. Over 200,000 UK students have now taken part in the programme.
For many years there was a persistent decline in the number of UK Erasmus students. However this is the fifth successive annual increase in UK participation rates and clearly shows the downward trend has been reversed. It indicates that UK students are increasingly looking to overseas experience as a means of improving their career prospects and recognising the benefits it can bring to their CV and their future careers.
NUS International Students' Officer Christina Yan Zhang said "It is great to see that more and more students are chosing to study or work abroad as part of their degrees. Research consistently shows that employers want graduates with a global experience, and the Erasmus programmes are an excellent way of achieving that. These increases can be attributed to significant work from the Brisitsh Council, universities and other organisations in promoting the opportunities and working to remove real and perceived barriers to study or work abroad. A great example of this in the NUS Scotland "Wish you were there" project - which has been a huge success"