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A recent study among one-time exchange students by the German Institut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA) has confirmed the positive effects of the European Union's ERASMUS exchange programme. The study concludes that a semester spent at a foreign university has a “remarkable positive impact” on labour mobility. Thanks to the financial help and the bureaucracy made easy, ERASMUS-programme makes the first step towards moving abroad significantly easier.
According to the study, students who had spent at least one semester on an ERASMUS-exchange were 15 to 20 percent more likely to pursue a professional career abroad, and in most cases they decided to return to the former host country. As reasons for returning, the recipients stated personal contacts in the host country and interest in the local culture. Purely economic reasons were less often taken into consideration.
Since the launch of the ERASMUS programme, well over 1.5 million students have so far benefited from the grants. The European Commission hopes to reach a total of 3 million participated students by 2012. Yearly, more than 150 000 people take part in the programme. In the light of the study, the growing number of exchange students may have a remarkable effect on the European labour mobility as well.