Erasmus+: going to check in Europe, why?

Among the main destinations for French students: European countries. A process often facilitated by the Erasmus+ programme. What are the advantages, disadvantages and why just go to Europe? Here are some avenues to explore.

Europe is popular: nearly seven out of ten students choose a country in the region to be part of their studies abroad. In the lead, Belgium, which seems to meet all the criteria, such as geographical proximity and the French-speaking world. Among the European destinations that are also popular: United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Romania. Easily accessible countries for students, in particular thanks to the Erasmus+ programme.

Students’ favorite destinations in Europe

Classification destinations Number of students in 2016
1 Belgium 16,856
two UK 12,076
3 Germany 6,955
4 Spain 5,434
5 Romania 2,169
6 Netherlands 1,430
7 Italy 1,364
8 Luxembourg 984
9 Hungary 588
10 Ireland 581

Source: The Campus France 2019 figures on outbound mobility of French students. Only European destinations included in the Erasmus program were maintained (28 European Union countries + Republic of North Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Turkey).

Erasmus: a financial gain

“Why go with Erasmus+? Because it costs less!”, exclaims Valérie Montembault, project manager for Europe at the CIDJ (information and documentation center for young people). This is really one of the program’s many benefits. You only pay French tuition and can keep your scholarships. “If you decide to go alone to a British establishment, you will have to pay around 9 thousand euros, which is not the case with Erasmus+.”

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Also, if you are going to study for 3 to 12 months abroad, the program gives you the possibility to obtain a mobility grant. The amount varies from 170 to 370 € per month depending on the destination. Please note that the Erasmus+ grant is not automatic, it depends on social criteria. But there is another help such as those of the Council of Europe, CROUS, your region or the solidarity and development fund for student initiatives (FSDIE) of your institution.

a guaranteed frame

Another advantage: simplification of procedures. “Students have nothing to do, guarantees Valérie Montembault. The establishment takes care of everything.“Or almost. Once your study abroad application has been accepted, you must register at your French institution and also at the host institution. As far as your health is concerned, it is up to you to apply for the European Health Insurance Card. Ditto for round-trip airfare and all travel-related costs.

However, when it comes to your studies, the process is much simpler. Your degree is recognized in France thanks to the validation of credits, called ECTS. Erasmus+ also gives you access to an online platform (OLS – Online Language Support) to familiarize yourself with the language of your host country.

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Stand out with less popular destinations

Perhaps the United States, Canada or Australia will make you dream more than the 34 European countries offered by the program, but getting closer can also allow you to earn points. “Today, countries like Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic or the Netherlands tend to emerge. On the one hand, because English is spoken there, and on the other hand, because the cost of living is much more affordable than in Nordic countries, for example.”

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According to Valérie Montembault, these destinations can be an asset to your curriculum, as they also allow you to discover another culture. “Careful, we are not saying that we should favor these countries. The most important thing is to first choose a course that matches your study project before thinking about the destination. You have to ask yourself what is relevant and what it can bring us in particular.”

Therefore, check with the international relations office as far in advance as possible to find out more about the Erasmus program and agreements with foreign establishments.

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