The Spanish Language Blog

The European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, or in Dutch, the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, better known as ERASMUS, is a European Union project developed to promote cultural exchange between students from countries of the European Union, the three countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), Switzerland and Turkey. The name "Erasmus" was chosen in honor of the theologian, philosopher and humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam.

The exchange program was created in 1987 as a product from initiative of "AEGGEE Europe," a multi-national student organization. The initiative was welcomed by the European Commissioner of Education and strongly supported by the Presidents of France (F. Mitterrand) and Spain (F.Gonzalez). In 1995 the program was included in the framework of the 'Socrates Plan' and was definitively established in 2000, when it was approved by the 'Socrates Plan II'. (The 'Socrates Plan' is an initiative of the European Commission in the field of Education) In 2007, the 'Socrates Plan' was replaced by the so-called 'LLL' (Life Long Learning).

The aim of the Erasmus program is "to enhance the quality of education in Europe and strengthen its dimension by promoting international cooperation between universities, encouraging mobility in Europe and improving transparency and full academic recognition of courses and certifications throughout the Union."

To benefit from the opportunities offered by the Erasmus program, all you need to be a student of a university or Bachelor's degree program who has completed the first year as well as a citizen of one of the countries covered by the program. Students can study and earn credit for three months to a year in a European country other than their home country. Another option is participating in an exchange program where you do an internship in a host country and the work you do may also be included in your curriculum vitae. Nowadays, many colleges and universities also give you credits (study points) for this.

Erasmus in Spain

There are also Erasmus scholarships to help students cover some of the extra costs of living abroad. The scholarships depend on the country you are in, and in Spain they even vary by autonomous community. The scholarships almost never cover the total extra costs, but they do give you some extra help from about 200 to 800 per month.

The opportunities offered by the program have made Erasmus a unique life experience for many young people in Europe. It gives them the chance to experience -often for the first time- what it is like to live abroad. It will increase their knowledge of other cultures within the European Union and give them the chance to meet students from other countries and learn about living, socializing and integrating in the country of their temporary stay. Spain is the destination of choice for Erasmus students. As many as 6 of the 10 most popular cities for Erasmus students are Spanish places: Granada, Valencia, Madrid, Seville, Salamanca and Barcelona. In conclusion, the concept of Europeanism is beginning to catch on among young people of the European Union with the help of these multi-national experiences.

The Erasmus program was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in 2004 as "one of the most important cultural exchange programs in the history of mankind."

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