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Erasmus 20th Birthday Conference: students have their say

On 18-19 January, the celebrations for the Erasmus Programme’s 20th birthday were kicked off with an opening conference. The event, fully organised by volunteers from the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and in partnership with Università Bocconi, attracted 200 former Erasmus students from 30 countries to share their study abroad experiences and evaluate the Programme’s development.

Students had the opportunity to voice their recommendations for the Erasmus Programme to the European Commission, represented by Ms Margot Wallström, Vice President, and Mr Jan Figel’, Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. Some of the addressed issues were:
  • improvement of the recognition of studies abroad – according to an ESN Survey in 2006, only about half of the Erasmus students received full recognition for credits earned abroad;
  • better financial support for students, especially for disadvantaged groups and for Eastern and Central European students – about 60% of Erasmus students cover exchange costs with their parents’ money;
  • contributions from the nation states to study abroad expenses. Spain, for example, recently decided to increase the Erasmus scholarship funds;
  • easier and faster visa procedures and resident permits that could allow students to work part time to support themselves during their stay;
  • recognition of volunteer activities – granting ECTS points or other forms of recognition to students working in non-profit organisations;
  • improvement of communication between universities and better information on exchange possibilities and procedures;
  • awareness amongst Erasmus students and employers of professional benefits of the stay abroad.
Erasmus Student Network invites all former Erasmus students to share their study abroad experiences at Especially welcome are comments from older Erasmus generations. Erasmus Student Network