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Erasmus Guide: From application to return

Erasmus exchange is one of the most well-known and successful educational programs in Europe. In this article you will get a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about Erasmus, from the benefits to the application details.

What is Erasmus?

Before we get into the details, it is important to understand the Erasmus program broadly. Erasmus offers students, faculty and even educational institutions the opportunity to gain international experience.

  • Definition and origin of Erasmus: Erasmus is the abbreviation for "European Action Program for University Staff Mobility". It was launched in 1987 by the European Union to promote academic cooperation and cultural exchange between member states. Originally started as an exchange program for students, it has since evolved into a comprehensive education program known as Erasmus+, which also includes teachers, researchers and other education stakeholders.
  • Objectives and purpose of the Erasmus program: The main objective of the Erasmus program is to promote intercultural exchanges and education within the European Union. It aims to strengthen the quality and European dimension in higher education, improve language skills and increase the employability of students. By awarding scholarships for study visits and internships in other European countries, the program contributes to personal and academic development.
  • Development and expansion of the program: Since its inception in 1987, the Erasmus program has continued to develop and expand. Initially limited to student exchanges between European countries, it now has several sub-programs and initiatives, including Erasmus Mundus, which promotes cooperation with countries outside the EU, and the Jean Monnet Activities, which focus on teaching and research in European integration. Erasmus+, as the latest incarnation of the program, covers not only higher education but also promotes vocational training, youth work and sports.

Procedure and possibilities of Erasmus

A semester abroad with Erasmus is often a unique experience, but it can also be complex. There are many factors that shape the experience, from the length of stay to the types of academic and extracurricular activities in which one can participate. In this section, we will explore the different aspects that an Erasmus semester abroad can encompass.

Promoting the mobility of teachers and lecturers

In addition to students, university lecturers and staff can also benefit from the Erasmus program. They have the opportunity to teach or train at a host university for a limited period of time. This promotes academic and cultural exchange and contributes to the quality of teaching.

Other offers such as language courses and cultural activities

Many universities offer additional opportunities for personal development, for example through language courses or cultural activities. These are often an integral part of the Erasmus experience and provide a great opportunity to learn new skills and better understand the culture of the host country.

Funding and support

Financial issues can often be intimidating, especially if you plan to live abroad for a while. However, the Erasmus program offers several funding options and supports that can help you get the most out of your experience abroad without putting a hole in your pocket. In this section, we'll go over the various financial aid options, special grants, and budgeting tips.

Scholarships and financial support

The heart of Erasmus funding is the Erasmus scholarship, which usually covers basic costs such as tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. The amount of the scholarship can vary, depending on the country of origin and destination, as well as the duration of the stay. However, it is important to emphasize that the Erasmus scholarship often does not cover all costs and additional financial planning is required.

Possible additional benefits and special promotions

In addition to the main scholarship, special grants are also available in some cases. These may be available for students with children, for people with disabilities, or for specific subject areas. Some universities also offer their own scholarships for Erasmus students. It is worth looking for such offers at both your own and the host university.

Tips for budget planning during the Erasmus stay

Effective budgeting is crucial for a successful Erasmus semester. Consider not only obvious costs such as room and board, but also less obvious items such as public transportation, books, and recreational activities. Take advantage of free or discounted offers for Erasmus students, often provided by universities or local organizations, and plan for unexpected expenses.

Funding and support within the framework of the Erasmus program

The table compares the different forms of a Gap Year.
Category Description Possibilities/Additional benefits
Erasmus Scholarship Basic financial support for living expenses abroad Varies by country and university
Travel Costs for round-trip travel to the host country Some universities offer travel grants
Accommodation Costs for living in the host country Dormitory places, private apartments, host families
Living expenses Everyday expenses such as food, transportation, etc. Planning and budgeting necessary
Tuition Fees Some universities waive or reduce tuition fees Check the policies of the host university
Additional services Additional services such as language courses, cultural activities, etc. Often included in the Erasmus program or at special rates
Special grants For special needs such as childcare, disability, etc. Applications and approvals required
Part-time jobs and internships Possibility to work alongside studies Consider work permit and visa requirements
Country-specific funding Some countries offer their own scholarships for Erasmus students Research and application required
Bank loans Private financing options Consider interest rates and repayment modalities
Private scholarships Scholarships from organizations, companies or foundations Research and application required

Challenges and experiences

A semester abroad is a transformative experience, but it also comes with challenges. These can range from cultural differences to academic requirements. In this section, we would like to familiarize you with the potential challenges and provide practical tips on how to successfully overcome them.

Cultural adaptation and intercultural communication

Moving to a new cultural environment can be a culture shock at first. Differences in language, social norms and daily life can be overwhelming at first. It is important to be open and flexible and to consciously take time to adjust. Intercultural competence is important not only for personal well-being, but also for academic and professional success.

Challenges of studying abroad

A new educational system, different teaching methods, and perhaps even instruction in a foreign language can be overwhelming at first. It is advisable to learn about the academic requirements and expectations at the host university early on. Take advantage of the university's support services, such as counseling sessions or tutorials, to help you find your way around.

Personal development and independence

A stay abroad is often the first time that students are separated from their usual social network for an extended period of time. This can be a challenge for personal development and independence. Problem-solving skills, time management, and self-organization are put to the test. Although this can be difficult, it also provides an excellent opportunity for personal growth.

Conclusion and importance of Erasmus for personal and academic development

The Erasmus program offers much more than just an opportunity to study or do an internship in another country. It is a unique opportunity for personal and academic development. By participating, students can broaden their intercultural and language skills, broaden their personal horizons, and gain valuable professional experience.

The challenges that can arise during a semester abroad should also not be underestimated. They range from adapting to a new culture and educational system to personal challenges of self-reliance. However, it is these challenges that provide opportunities for self-reflection and self-improvement.

Overall, the Erasmus program offers a wide range of opportunities and supports students financially as well as academically. It is an investment in your future in the globalized job market and an experience that will enrich you personally.

This concludes our overview of the Erasmus program. We hope that this article will provide you with the necessary information and inspiration to make your own Erasmus experience an enriching and unforgettable time.


What does Erasmus mean?

Erasmus is the abbreviation for "European Program for the Development of Education, Youth and Sport". It is a funding program of the European Union that enables the exchange of students, teachers and researchers between European universities.

What are the advantages of the Erasmus program?

The Erasmus program offers a variety of benefits, including the opportunity to study or work in another European country, experience a new culture, improve language skills, and build an international network. It can also have a significant impact on your personal and professional development.

How do I apply for Erasmus?

The application for the Erasmus program is usually done through your home university. You should contact the International Office of your university to learn more about the application procedures and deadlines. Normally, you will have to fill out an application form, submit a CV and a letter of motivation, and possibly have an interview.

How do I finance my Erasmus stay?

The Erasmus program usually offers a monthly stipend, which can vary depending on the country where you want to study or work. You can also apply for additional scholarships or financial support from your home university or external organizations. In addition, it is advisable to prepare a detailed financial plan for your stay.

What impact will Erasmus have on my professional career?

Participation in the Erasmus program can significantly improve your career prospects. The experience you gain abroad, both academically and personally, can give you a competitive edge in the job market. In addition, the international network you build through the program gives you access to global career opportunities.

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