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Setting up an Erasmus year

(18 Posts)
WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 25-Mar-13 21:06:41

Is it possible for a student to set up an Erasmus year for themselves please?

DD is keen to spend a year abroad as part of a degree course. She knows what she would like to study, she is fluent in the language of the country she would like to study in.

At an HE day arranged by her school DD was told by one university that a new Erasmus link would take 3 years to set up meaning that DD wouldnt be able to benefit.

Has anyone come across a situation of a student setting up an exchange year for themselves please?

crazyspaniel Mon 25-Mar-13 21:51:55

I'm pretty sure the agreements need to be made between the institutions themselves- I've never heard of a student setting one up. There are certain checks and reciprocal arrangements that need to be made which would preclue that, I think. But I'm also pretty certain that there's no reason why a link would take three years to set up - my department set one up for a first year student so that he could attend the partner institution in his second year.

Waswondering Mon 25-Mar-13 21:56:07

Contact the Erasmus unit of the uni she wants to go to and ask them directly. They will have lots of reciprocal arrangements, and will be able to advise if it's possible with her chosen degree subject ...

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 25-Mar-13 22:04:53

Thanks crazyspaniel the application process described by the potential host institution required agreement from the home institution but didnt appear to require much else from the home institution.

Is there a lot of admin work required by the home institution please? The course DD is interested in is essentially the same as the course she would be studying in the UK. The big differences would be that the course would be taught in the host language not English and the teaching styles are apparently quite different.

I suppose what I was anticipating was that DD would have to make most of the running but that the formal arrangements would be made by the home institution.

creamteas Mon 25-Mar-13 22:08:32

Erasmus agreements are institutional ones so no, a student could not do this. There are strict controls were I work on any new agreements as we have to ensure that we more or less match the numbers of students coming to us with our students going abroad (so it is neutral in budget terms).

But not all years abroad are part of the Erasmus scheme, so there might be other ways to do this.

A crucial part though is if her degree course is set up so that she can spend a year abroad. Some universities always allow this, but others it is on a course by course basis.

If it is not written into the general regulations or programme specifications from the beginning, the year abroad would have to be taken as leave of absence and would not count towards her degree (so she may as well do a gap year before or afterwards).

She should be able to find out whether or not a year abroad is a possibility from the university. If it is not on the website, then contact the admissions tutor.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 25-Mar-13 22:10:02

Thanks Waswondering I shall give DD a firm parental shove in that direction!

Just to make clear, I have no intention of making the contact myself. If DD is big enough to go abroad, she is big enough to work out the details for herself. I am just performing my normal parental function as nag!

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 25-Mar-13 22:18:28

Thanks Creamteas. As a matter of interest where does the shortfall generally lie in terms of reciprocation? Too many students going out or too many coming in? All the information I have seen is that far more students come in to the UK than go out.

creamteas Mon 25-Mar-13 22:30:41

Yes, too few UK students want to go overseas in relation to European students who want to come here.

As far as I know, we don't receive money for teaching Erasmus students, so if we have more in than out it is an additional cost to us to teach. A few years ago, this did not matter as much, but now the budgets are so tight, we have to aim for matched numbers.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 25-Mar-13 22:37:43

Do you know if the balancing act is attempted on a course by course basis or at an institution level please? DD is looking at science courses where I am guessing there are far, far more students looking to come into the UK then go out especially where host courses are taught in host language.

dearcathyandclare Mon 25-Mar-13 22:46:25

My DD is currently doing an Erasmus year and loving it, but it is overseen and payments administered by her uk uni. I assume your dd is in year 12 now and making degree choices, so I suggest she does her research and chooses a Uni and course that participates in the scheme.
From memory there is lots of info onThe British Council website ( sorry can't link from my tablet)

dearcathyandclare Mon 25-Mar-13 22:51:07

By the way my dd's year is at master's level in her host institution so her home Uni and dept is happy to credit it for her 2nd year. She'll return for her 3rd and final year to the UK but will have only paid 2 years of tuition fees.Massive financial saving, aside from everything else she has gained in terms of experience. The host course is taught in English.

dearcathyandclare Mon 25-Mar-13 22:55:12

Sorry to go on, but her home dept had to support her application and keep in regular contact. However there was little interest from other first years for the scheme, and the selection process was virtually completed in her first term, so your dd will need to quick off the mark when she gets to her chosen uni.

creamteas Mon 25-Mar-13 23:08:45

Whether it is manged at institution level or dept will vary depending on the uni.

Some unis are keener than others. Aston Uni, for example, has an expectation that every student does a study or work placement in their third year, whereas at other unis it is only a tiny minority that do so. I've also heard on the grapevine that it now offers free language tuition as well to encourage students to study abroad.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 26-Mar-13 07:12:01

Many thanks.

I think that DD will be targeting universities which already have significant Erasmus links even if not precisely matching what she wants. She will take on board the advice to contact admissions tutors directly. My only worry is admissions tutors being frightened off by the course being taught in local language when this is what DD is wanting.

GrendelsMum Tue 26-Mar-13 16:45:50

Some Universities - maybe all? - also send a lecturer out in advance to check out the quality and content of the matched course at the partner University, and then visit the students during their year abroad to ensure that all is going well.

Waswondering Tue 26-Mar-13 20:45:24

Depending on the subject, we have science students going out for either 6m or a year ... Depending on what agreements are in place. There will be an Erasmus unit in your institution and admissions should also put her in the right direction.

If she's interested in Europe, she might also look at AIESEC for vacation opportunities.


WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 26-Mar-13 20:57:12

I have heard different reports on how active or passive the home university is once the student is on their exchange year. I guess some of it will depend on how international the course is. If DD is the only person at the institution then there may be less pull to send someone over to check up on her!

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 26-Mar-13 21:05:22

Thank you for the AIESEC pointer, Waswondering. I will email a link to DD as it could well be of interest

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