Erasmus study abroad programme to extend beyond EU by 2021
No mater where you're from, you may soon be able to study in Europe for a year through Erasmus. Source: Shutterstock

The Erasmus exchange programme, which currently allows students in the European Union (EU) to study in another EU country for a year, is set to allow other countries to participate by 2021 as Brexit looms and more countries look join the higher education sector.

In a proposal released on Wednesday, the European Commission announced they would double the funding for the Erasmus programme and increase ‘physical and virtual mobility’ with third-party countries, meaning those not within the EU.

The proposed plans will also “allow the UK to join [Erasmus+] as a third country” after Brexit has taken hold, Thomas Jørgensen, Senior Policy Coordinator at the European University Association said, according to Times Higher Education.

Twelve million young people around the world will benefit from the EU’s higher education system under the new proposal – three times the number of students currently taking part in the Erasmus programme.

“It is no surprise as we know that the [Chief EU Negotiator Michel] Barnier team has association to EU programmes as a part of the plans for the Future Partnership [with the UK]. What is surprising is that Erasmus opens up for the rest of the world for association at the same time,” Jørgensen added.

“Every euro that we invest in Erasmus is an investment in our future – in the future of a young person, teacher or trainee and in the future of Europe,” Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said, according to a media release.

A year abroad through Erasmus can open opportunities for you in Europe. Source: Shutterstock

Studying abroad has long been held as a social mobility enabler as it gives students the chance to develop an international perspective, learn a foreign language and build networks.

Four of the world’s top 10 economies are situated within the EU, according to Investopedia, so the chance to gain experience within these countries as a non-EU student could be invaluable to building graduate opportunities.

“For over 30 years it has been one of the most important programmes because it shows everyone what integration is all about. It is the very essence of a borderless Europe. Through Erasmus we give our young people more opportunities,” Katainen said.

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