UK students gain clear benefits from study in other European countries, says British Academy

6 Aug 2020

UK students gain clear benefits from studying in other European countries, the British Academy says today as it publishes Association to Erasmus: Challenges and Opportunities. The briefing outlines the value of the Erasmus Programme and how the UK Government can associate to the next Erasmus programme, set to run to 2027.

Established in 1987 as an exchange scheme for higher education students, the Erasmus programme has gradually evolved to support mobility in education, training, youth and sport across Europe; more than half (53%) of UK students who study abroad do so through Erasmus.

Following its withdrawal from the EU, the options the UK government needs to consider in order to take part in the next Erasmus programme are either to negotiate associated country status to the programme or to become a non-associated country.

The briefing finds that:

  • The Erasmus programme provides a critical pathway for language degrees and the promotion of languages, in a context of continuing decline in the number of students studying languages at secondary school and consequently at university
  • The programme helps enhance language skills and ensure that UK-based students and academic staff across disciplines can work across different cultures and within a diverse workforce as well as establish vital international partnerships
  • The UK is the third most popular destination for incoming students with 31,396 students coming to study or complete a traineeship.

As well as complementing EU research programmes and supporting mobility in higher education, Erasmus+ funding in the UK has also supported exchanges for other groups, including €114.3 million for vocational education and training (VET), €45.4 million for youth, €19.8 million for schools, and €5.2 million for adult education, between 2014-2018.

The Academy’s briefing also outlines the ways that the UK can associate to the next Erasmus Programme as well as the terms and conditions this might entail.

These conditions include committing to a financial contribution to the Erasmus programme, engaging in constructive discussions on participation in EU programmes, guaranteeing that students, researchers, trainees and volunteers can come to the UK for the entirety of their Erasmus planned mobility as well as sharpening and expanding its presence in Brussels.

Professor Simon Goldhill FBA, Foreign Secretary of the British Academy, said:

“The Erasmus programme plays a critical role in research life in the UK by providing a recognised framework for the circulation of ideas and talent with other countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world. One in two UK-based students going abroad as part of their studies do so thanks to the Erasmus programme.

“The programme provides a wide range of opportunities and benefits to students, staff, higher education institutions and businesses by enhancing language skills, cultural awareness and employment opportunities as well as by supporting international partnerships and contributing to the UK economy.

“It is vital that the UK reaches an Association Agreement in order to safeguard opportunities to study, train and work in other countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world provided by the Erasmus programme.”

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on press@thebritishacademy.ac.uk  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

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