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Erasmus + means more mobility – POLITICO

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Erasmus + means more mobility - POLITICO

For most people, Erasmus still means students who go abroad for a period of study at a foreign university. This is still part of the new Erasmus + program, even though the label now applies to all youth activities, education and training. But the program also contains innovations that provide additional opportunities for this familiar form of student mobility.

Previously, students could receive Erasmus support only for one period of study abroad and for one internship during the entire period of higher education. They can now have multiple periods of mobility under the scheme, up to a maximum of 12 months in each degree cycle.

According to the European Commission, this modification is a response to the evolution of higher education in Europe. “The structure of diplomas has changed in the 27 years since the Erasmus program was launched,” officials said. “The transition to a ‘bachelor-master-doctoral’ model of higher education should also be reflected in the Erasmus program.”

This change will have the greatest impact on students who can now plan to study abroad in their second and third years and add an internship under the Erasmus program. If they then receive a master’s degree and a doctorate, each of them may include further periods of mobility under Erasmus +.

This development is welcomed by current Erasmus students. “Being able to take part in different experiences will help students learn about different cultures and further broaden their horizons,” said Stefan Janke, President of the Erasmus Student Network. “At the same time, we hope that students who have not previously received an Erasmus grant will be given priority.”

It is up to individual universities to decide which students to travel to. If they decide to focus resources on the ultra-mobile elite, nothing in the rules can stop them.

Erasmus + also makes it easier for students to do internships in companies, NGOs or public sector bodies in another country. The minimum period was reduced from three to two months, mainly in order to take into account disciplines such as medicine, where longer training proved inexpedient. However, it is also clear that a two-month internship can fit into the summer holidays – without getting stuck.

More importantly, it will now be possible to apply for an internship before graduation and travel abroad at any time within 12 months of graduation.

According to the Commission, this change will smooth the transition from education to the labor market, as well as address the shortage and mismatch of qualifications.
Universities can further experiment with mobility through the program’s strategic partnership. They can set up support for student mobility; The Commission suggests that this may include a combination of short-term physical mobility with virtual mobility.

Another big change under Erasmus + is that European students can now use the program to study in countries outside the EU and its immediate neighbors. “With the globalization of higher education, there is a clear need to increase Erasmus mobility worldwide,” said the Commission.

It expects to fund around 135,000 student and staff exchanges with partner countries by 2020, using resources from the EU budget for external action. “Funding will be given priority to neighboring countries with the EU, the Western Balkans, then Asia and Latin America, and finally high-industry countries,” officials said. This last category covers highly desirable destinations such as the United States, Australia and Japan. Following the conclusion of negotiations on a new European Development Fund, probably in the first quarter of 2015, the budget will also be allocated to mobility to and from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The Erasmus student network supports this global reach. But Yankee warns that careful monitoring will be needed, as foreign institutions are not required to sign the Charter of Standards, which applies to European participants. “It will depend on higher education institutions in Europe that sign partnership agreements to provide a quality mobility experience.”

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