Most people have already heard about Erasmus. After all, this program is already 33 years old. But, over time, the Erasmus program changed, and nowadays it is much more than just an exchange program for students. There are also many opportunities for researchers, workers, and even teenagers.
The list of opportunities is long and you can consult it at the Commission’s website. I selected a few that I think might be useful for the majority of the people.
Let’s start by the most popular one: studying abroad.
This program allows you to spend between 3 and 12 months studying in a foreign institution. Thankfully to the Bologna agreement, it is possible to get credits for the subjects you enroll abroad in most of the cases. Anyway, it’s not mandatory for your sending University to accept those, so do your research before you go (unless you go only for the experience, of course 😉 ).
A great thing about this program is that you’ll get a scholarship from the EU. to help you with your traveling and extra expenses. But these scholarships vary from country to country and, in most cases, it doesn’t cover the extra cost you’ll have. (In any case, I also wrote a post on saving money during Erasmus that you can check here!)
How do you apply? You can do it through the international or Erasmus+ office of your higher education institution. The process varies from University to University, so only your University can help you with this.
2. Erasmus Traineeship (for students)
I went to Italy under this program. You can apply for this if you’re a student or if you recently graduated (up to 1 year after). In case you don’t study anymore, there’s another program available for specific situations – you may find more information here.
Under this program, you may spend from 2 to 12 months abroad acquiring more skills. You may do a traineeship at a company or, as I did, you may use this program to do some research and write your thesis. And, as a “normal” Erasmus”, you may benefit from it various times – once per cycle (bachelor, master, and Ph.D.).
Again, you’ll have access to a scholarship and the value is slightly better than Erasmus studies. In any case, it’s still not enough for most of the countries.
How to apply? You can do it through the international or Erasmus+ office of your higher education institution.
If you’re looking for a short period of experience abroad, go for a youth exchange! The duration of those is from 5 do 21 days and it’s open to people between the ages of 13 and 30 years old.
The concept here is to simply gather together a group of people from different countries to exchange experiences, learn more about some topics, or simply work in a project together.
The full activity is financed (trips, food, and any other activity related expenses), but you should have the money to pay the trip first and after the activity they reimburse you.
I never did a youth exchange but I have many friends who did. In most of the cases they loved the experience, but the success of the activity depends a lot on the local organization receiving you. If they work well it can be a great experience, but if they don’t it may be a bit chaotic. In any case, you’ll meet many cool people and have fun, for sure!
How to apply? There are many groups on Facebook sharing these opportunities. Search for something like “youth opportunities” and you’ll find it. Enroll in a group from the country where you live, as each one of these projects is only open to specific nationalities. For each project, you should apply to the specific organization in charge and fill the specific requirements that vary from project to project.
In case you’re looking for a volunteering experience (maybe a gap year), this one is for you!
You must be between 18 and 30 years old and legally resident in an EU member state. You may be 17 when you apply, but you need to be 18 when you start the project.
Most of the projects available on this portal are long term projects (from 5 to 12 months duration), but it is also possible to find some short term projects (minimum 2 weeks). All the activities are financed – that means they always pay your trips and give you pocket money. In most cases, they also give you accommodation and food.
I recently applied for a project in Belgium that was suppose to happen in August 2020. Unfortunately, due to covid-19 they posttponed and and I have no idea if and when it will happen.
How to apply? Through the solidarity corps website.
I hope this list gave you some idea about your next adventure in Europe. Any question, hit the comments section bellow ;)!