Between 2014 and 2018, more than two million students and staff in higher education undertook a learning, training or teaching period abroad as part of the Erasmus+ programme. An independent study has assessed the impact of the programme on the lives of individual students and staff members. The study analysed nearly 77,000 responses, including responses from around 47,000 Erasmus students, 12,000 graduates and 10,000 university staff members with Erasmus+ experience. I often point out that the various Erasmus programmes are ultimately a peace project that helps to unite humanity.
The key findings of the study are:
Erasmus+ helps students find their desired careers and get jobs quicker
Over 70% of former Erasmus+ students say that they have a better understanding of what they want to do in their future careers when they return from abroad. Their experience abroad also enables them to re-orient their studies to better match their ambitions. The higher education impact study further reveals that 80% were employed within three months of graduation and 72% say their experience abroad helped them get their first job. Nine in ten Erasmus+ alumni say they make use of the skills and experiences acquired abroad in their daily work. Erasmus+ addresses skills mismatches by focusing on the soft and interdisciplinary skills businesses need.
Erasmus+ boosts European sense of belonging
More than 90% of Erasmus+ students also improve their ability to work and collaborate with people from different cultures and feel they have a European identity. The biggest impact is on the students who felt less convinced about the EU prior to their exchange and the students that spent time in a more culturally different country. Of all Erasmus+ students, those coming from Eastern Europe identify the most with the EU.
At this time of European Parliament elections, many politicians say they are against populism and polarisation, yet none of them have any specific proposals on how to stop these phenomena. The opportunities for mobility and evidence-based education or, to put it another way, skills development offered by the Erasmus+ programme are a tangible example of what can be done. The report on Erasmus+ that has just been published confirms this. Politicians aspiring to a place in the European Parliament should take note, as they are the ones who will be deciding on the budget for the next period of both Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe.
Last week, Uppsala University received two encouraging pieces of news in connection with the Erasmus+ programme. The University was granted a record sum of EUR 2,928,590 for cooperation and exchanges, to cover a total of 1,294 mobilities during the 2019–2021 period (compare 728 mobilities for Lund University and 602 mobilities for the University of Gothenburg). This will enable students, staff and doctoral students at Uppsala University to undertake exchanges and establish lasting cooperation at European level, contributing to the strategic and long-term development of higher education in Europe. Over a two-year period, the number of outgoing Erasmus placements and outgoing staff in the Erasmus+ programme in the EU/Europe has virtually doubled. The large amount of scholarship funds granted will make it possible to continue to engage in Erasmus placements, staff mobility and doctoral student mobility.
For the third year in a row, Uppsala University was best in Sweden at cooperation and exchanges outside Europe. This year we were granted a record sum of EUR 1,091,415 for a total of 228 mobilities! This will enable students, teachers and administrative and technical staff from 20 higher education institutions outside the EU to come to Uppsala. It also means that students, teachers and other staff at Uppsala can receive funding for exchanges outside the EU.
Keep an eye on Medarbetarportalen if you are interested in applying for a grant to take part in an exchange in or outside the EU/Europe:
Students can find information here: