In 1987, the Erasmus programme was founded by the European Union and named after the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. It aimed to support education, training, youth, and sports in Europe with an annual budget of 14.7 billion euro. Since then, over three million students, four thousand universities and thirty-three countries have taken part in this exchange programme. This achieved effective results in developing the European economy and education. Higher education, with its links to research and innovation, can play a crucial role in self-development and economic growth by preparing highly qualified people and the articulate citizens that Europe needs.
This article will define the positive impacts and the advantages of having the Erasmus programme on the EU.
Firstly, the Erasmus Programme had benefited and advanced European countries by filling the universities and institutions with international exchange students. This program is also an opportunity for people to strengthen international friendships, which can lead to further relationships such as long-term friendship or even marriage. A study carried out by the European Commission proposed that more than a fourth of the individuals who join in its long-running Erasmus plan meet their life-partner while abroad, and that more than one million people may have been born subsequently. The Erasmus Impact Study interviewed more than 88,000 students, educators and organizations, and found that international exchange students were much more prone to have trans-national connections. 33% of ex-Erasmus understudies had an acquaintance of a different nationality, in contrast to the individuals who stayed at home amid their studies who had only 13%.
In addition, by traveling and studying abroad, European students gain skills to deal with different cultures, thus enabling them to improve their social skills. Therefore, these skills allow individuals to progress in their social life as a European Citizen and prepare them to enter into labour market. Orginaizations and employers nowadays prefer someone who has skills boosted by the programme such as tolerance, confidence, problem-solving skills, curiosity, knowing one’s strengths/weaknesses, and decisiveness when making a recruitment decision. Research also shows that Erasmus students exhibit more of these personality traits, even before their exchange starts. By the time they come back, the difference in these values increases by 42% on average, compared with other students. On top of that, work placements have a high direct effect on employment, where 36% of the students who have done their work placement abroad were higher in the same company. This is a result of the Erasmus programme that enabled them to understand and communicate with individuals and organizations outside of their own culture.
Another important advantage, due to the fact that the number of early school leaving students is growing, and the high affect that caused by this phenomenon. For the European union to reduce the number of people with minimum qualifications, the European commission has proposed an action to prevent the economic damage that can be caused by early school leavings©. Erasmus programme and skill exchange in Europe can successfully minimize the of unskilled people. Not only that but it can also reduce the number of the following generations.
Lastly, by giving an opportunity for self-development in different cultures in Europe, the Erasmus programme successfully increases cultures awareness. In other words, “curriculum gives international and intercultural knowledge and abilities, aimed at preparing students for performing (professionally, socially, and emotionally) in an international and multicultural context.” By the time the students finish the Erasmus programme, they are more open-minded, tolerant, and able to live and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. This can lead to the reduction of cultural indifference and promote peoples’ positive attitudes in a long term way. Furthermore, it strengthens the solid relations of the students to Europe.
In conclusion, the Erasmus programme is playing a crucial rule in the increase of integrity through cultural harmonization that can influence European society and promote European citizenship. Cultural appreciation will directly affect the smooth flow of trade in the market. The liberal democratic market and culturally allied societies will increase wealth and social justice. The Erasmus programme is one of the most successful programmes that the European union encouraged for the advancement of the European countries and citizens.
- “What’s in a name? History of the Erasmus Programme”.
- “The Erasmus Impact Study”, European Commission 2014. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/education/library/study/2014/erasmus-impact_en.pdf (last visited 29.04.2016)
- “Pedagogy for employability”, Ann Pegg, Jeff Waldock, Sonia Hendy-Isaac, Ruth Lawton page 4, 2006. Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/pedagogy_for_employability_update_2012.pdf
 Erasmus funding budget. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about_en
 Pedagogy for employability, Ann Pegg, Jeff Waldock, Sonia Hendy-Isaac, Ruth Lawton page 4, 2006. Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/pedagogy_for_employability_update_2012.pdf
 The impact of Erasmus, page 120. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/education/library/study/2014/erasmus-impact_en.pdf
 Preventing early school leaving
 (Nilsson, 2000, p 22).