On the day the UK leaves the European Union, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) AISBL and ESN UK highlight their continued commitment to supporting UK students that want to study, train or volunteer abroad, and international students that aspire to study, train or volunteer in the UK.
At the moment, 50% of all international exchanges in the United Kingdom happen through EU funded programmes, which have supported since 2010 over 132,000 students from British universities to study a part of or their full degree abroad; the UK will continue to be part of the Erasmus+ programme until December 2020, allowing students to be mobile until funding runs out in 2021-2022.
The UK, with its world-class universities and research centres, has therefore always been an integral part of the Erasmus+ Programme, and their contribution to the European Higher Education Area cannot be neglected. In 2018 alone, more than 1,138 UK-based organisations received project funding worth over 47,61 million EUR. With 31,877 students in 2018, the UK is one of the top receiving destinations for students: only Spain and Germany receive more Higher Education students through the Erasmus+ programme. Since 2010, more than 250,000 students from other EU countries have decided to conduct their studies or traineeships in the UK through the Erasmus+ programme.
With more than 360 volunteers across 17 local student organisations in 14 cities across the UK, ESN UK supports over 10,000 incoming Higher Education international students per year.
"As we are entering the transition year for UK-EU relations, it is crucial to raise our voice and ensure both sides will negotiate to keep in mind the future of young people. Erasmus+ is not just a mobility programme. It became a cultural identity, a movement which has shaped an internationally-minded generation. We are calling the UK and EU decision-makers to not take away the opportunity from the UK citizens to be part of the Erasmus Generation. Erasmus Student Network will continue supporting UK students studying in Europe and ESN UK will be there, in the cities and universities, for the Europeans who wish to study in the UK." Kostis Giannidis, President of the Erasmus Student Network
But the Erasmus programme is so much more than numbers. The mobility experience is a turning point in the lives of young people, allowing them to develop their personality and competences, using the opportunity to improve their career path. 80% of Erasmus+ students find a job within three months after graduating.
"My Erasmus+ experience in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, was one of the best years of my life as I made friends across the world. The experience inspired me to continue my studies with a masters degree in the Netherlands. Looking back, my Erasmus brought me much more than just a year abroad; it opened my eyes to what exists beyond the UK, giving me the confidence to travel and, as I am finishing my masters, consider an international career." Marc McGowan, Political science student at the University of Glasgow, class of 2018
With more than 30 years of history, the Erasmus+ has influenced increasingly more young people in the UK and across Europe. With the next Erasmus+ programme expected to launch in 2021, ESN doubts it will be possible to launch a successful replacing programme ready to support International student mobility from summer 2021. We call therefore call upon the EU and the UK Government to continue its Higher Education cooperation in the future, within the framework of the next Erasmus+ successor programme.
Today at PMQs the Prime Minister answers a question on #Erasmusplus. #UUK and #UUKi continue to call for UK participation in Erasmus+ from 2021 onward. Given the huge importance of this scheme, we need further assurances that the UK government will #supportstudyabroad. https://t.co/QmDEDkowxV
— Nabil Ali (@Nabil__Ali__) January 15, 2020
ESN believes that in this time of change, international cooperation in the field of education is key, in order to continue the intercultural dialogue between the people of the UK and other EU member states. Disregarding the upcoming negotiations and the future of the UK’s involvement in the next Erasmus+ programme, ESN stands ready to support the students on both sides of the channel on their learning path.
Find out the latest information about Brexit and its impact on the internationalisation of Higher Education on the website of Universities UK.