What is Erasmus+?

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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This morning saw the launch of the new Erasmus+ programme as part of the Erasmus+ & European Solidarity Corps National Launch 2021. Many of us have heard of Erasmus but what exactly is it and how can Irish students take part in it? We take a quick look at what the Erasmus+ programme means for students in higher education and how it might be your ticket to a life-changing experience in another country.

What is Erasmus+?

The Erasmus programme has been in operation since the late 1980s is an exchange programme that allows for students to spend time abroad at universities in the EU member states for set periods of time. 

The programme is named after the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam and also an acronym that stands for European Regiis on Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students.

The Erasmus+ programme for education, training and youth work, 2021-2027, launched today boasts a bigger budget: €26.2 billion for all of Europe, compared to €14.7 billion for 2014-2020 and will fund learning mobility and cross-border cooperation projects for 10 million Europeans of all ages and all backgrounds.

It has four key priorities: inclusion, active participation, and supporting green and digital transitions. 

Through this programme, Irish students get the possibility to spend time abroad as part of their studies. To date, more than 88,000 Irish students have availed of the Erasmus programme. The 2021-2027 has expanded to include Those in adult education who will also now be able to study abroad under the scheme.

How Do I Apply?

It is important to note that individuals cannot apply directly for grants. Students must be registered in a higher education institution and enrolled in studies leading to a recognised degree or other recognised tertiary level qualification (up to and including the level of doctorate).

The mobility is carried out between between the sending and receiving institutions, both of which must be holders of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education.

Erasmus works by providing free movement and education exchange between registered universities and institutions for eligible students. As mentioned before, in order to participate in the programme you must apply through your educational institution, which must be registered.

What are the benefits of Erasmus+

Students can go abroad for 3 to 12 months. The programme gives you a great opportunity to travel, improve your language skills, experience a different educational system and participate in classes that will give you new perspectives. On top of this students get to meet new people and make friends from all around the globe. 

To help students along the way, participants are exempt from tuition at their host university and receive a monthly grant between 330 and 450 euros depending on the destination.  Grants will also be available for people who are unable to pay for the initial costs of the programme, such as transport and accommodation costs.

So if this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, contact the relevant administrative staff at your education institution as early as possible at the start of the academic year – usually the deadline for applying is the end of January of each academic year.

Erasmus+ & European Solidarity Corps National Launch 2021 Full Event


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Steven Galvin

Euro 2020 Languages
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