Irish Erasmus students hit an all time high

By Gavin O'Callaghan

The number of Irish students taking part in the Erasmus exchange programme hits all time high. Credit: Hungary Today

The number of Irish students going on Erasmus is at a record high with about 3,200 students going on the exchange programme each year whilst the country takes in about 6,300 from other European nations according to The Higher Education Authority.

France, Spain, and Germany are the most popular destinations for Irish students with 69 per cent of the 265 DCU students who are currently studying abroad being in one of those three countries. DCU has also welcomed 348 Erasmus students over the current academic year.

The programme, which includes 28 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, has grown dramatically since its first year in 1987 when only 112 Irish students took part. Since then over three million students have gone to other European countries to study.

Ireland is currently the 14th most popular destination for EU students to study in with demand for places expected to rise due to uncertainty over Brexit’s impact on those looking towards the UK.

International Business Student Ciara Nugent is currently in Neoma Business School Rouen in Reims, France and says that the experience has overall been positive.

‘’Erasmus is definitely an invaluable experience whether you initially like it or not, especially for language students’’ she said.

‘’I think it would be impossible to fully learn a language without spending time living in that country and Erasmus gives you the opportunity to experience the real culture of a place and separate it from the stereotypes that you often help form your view and opinion of a country.’’

‘’Erasmus has allowed me to discover the things I love and really hate about France, something I could never have experienced in a classroom in DCU.’’

The experience gained by students is also reflected in the EU’s Erasmus Impact Study which found that students who have undertaken the programme were 50 per cent less likely to find themselves in long-term unemployment.

In 2014, the EU launched the Erasmus+ funding scheme with about €15 billion to be offered in grants to over 4 million students with the aim of having 20 per cent of students undertake the programme by 2020.

Gavin O’Callaghan

Image: Hungary Today