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Is the Erasmus life for me?

A new semester brings another round of temporary student departures from UEA. Numerous second and third years say goodbye to the hallowed grounds of the Square, Library and (perhaps the most difficult goodbye) the Nick Rayns LCR in exchange for the opportunity to spend a semester abroad on the Erasmus programme.

Erasmus

Photo: The National Student

For those of you who don’t know what the Erasmus programme is, it is a European Union education programme that aims to increase student movement across the continent. It offers students the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or for a full academic year and for this study to be recognised as part of their degree. Currently, a vast range of schools at UEA have links with other educational institutions; for example, the School of History have links with universities in Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid. You can check out the full list of links here.

So if you want to experience a new culture, contribute toward your CV and increase your employability (you’ll be able to boast of a working knowledge of a second language) in an enjoyable and exciting way then it’s certainly worth considering the Erasmus programme. But before proceeding to list even more benefits of studying abroad, lets debunk a few myths and address some concerns you might have.

What happens to my tuition fees, I hear you ask? If you study abroad for the full year, you don’t pay any tuition fees to UEA, nor will you have to pay the partner institution because the government will cover the fee. How very kind of them. If you study abroad for a semester, you will have to pay tuition to UEA for the semester you spend in the UK, but again, nothing to the continental institution. Result!

You will have to pay for accommodation, travel and any other educational or entertainment costs, but given that you will continue to receive any student loans, grants or bursaries alongside an Erasmus grant, you will have plenty of financial support. The institution you are going to will also help you find accommodation. Additionally, if you do enough digging, flights to the continent can be very cheap and if you’re worried about the size of your luggage you could use all the money you’re saving to hire an international removals company.

Not all links will require fluency in another language given the popularity of English. Many institutions provide facilities for you to start learning a language and some European host institutions even teach certain subjects in English. Finally, you can’t go on a semester/year abroad in your first year or in your final semester/year of study and you need to be averaging 55% in your examinations.

So as it turns out, studying abroad does not bring more financial pressure, and it can actually decrease your overall student debt. Additionally, taking part in the Erasmus programme is a great way to make friends on the continent and make your time at university even more memorable.

To find out more about the Erasmus programme, check out UEA’s FAQs. You can also read about an Erasmus experience in Leiden, Netherlands and the benefits of studying in Prague in the most recent edition of Concrete.

16/01/2014

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