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Elisabeth Pain

25 Years of Erasmus

Erasmus, the European Commission’s flagship program for training and education, will be 25 years old this year. To date, the program has allowed nearly three million students to study or do a work placement in another EU country.

Since its early days, Erasmus has grown from 11 participating
countries to the 27 current EU member states, together with Croatia,
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. The number of
participating students has risen steadily, with more than 250,000 
expected to benefit during the current academic year. Since 2007, the
program has supported work placements in companies abroad, with nearly
150,000 students benefiting so far. Erasmus also allows university
professors to go abroad to teach and higher education institutions to
run intensive, multinational workshops for students.
“Erasmus
exchanges enable students to improve their knowledge of foreign
languages and to develop skills such as adaptability which improve their
job prospects. It also provides opportunities for teachers and other
staff to see how higher education works in other countries and to bring
the best ideas home,” European Commissioner for Education, Culture,
Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou stated yesterday in a press release announcing Erasmus’s 25th anniversary celebration. 
Altogether,
the EU allocated around €3 billion to run the Erasmus program over the
2007-13 period, and that support is expected to rise. The European
Commission is currently working to merge all the schemes for education,
training, and youth under its umbrella into a single new program called “Erasmus for All.”
The idea, announced last November, is to send an additional 5 million
people to study, train, or teach in Europe and beyond. The proposal also
includes a new loan guarantee that would serve 330,000 full-time
Master’s students, helping them finance their time abroad. The new
program is expected to start in 2014, with a proposed budget of €19
billion for the 2014-2020 period.