Erasmus Scholarship

Are you ready to spend the best year of your life? That’s the conclusion you conclusion you draw when you ask all the students who have been able to enjoy an Erasmus experience. What is Erasmus? Venturing to an unknown country, with a different language and culture, making a foreign city your home for a year and making best friends for life. More than an academic experience, the Erasmus Scholarship has become a life experience.

In this article you can find everything you need to know about the Erasmus scholarship, one of the most important university scholarships, the financial aid they offer and how to choose the destination to enjoy this unique experience.

What is Erasmus?

The Erasmus Scholarship is a program created by the European Union to promote student exchange. The acronym Erasmus comes from the official name: European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. In other words, it allows a student to carry out part of his or her studies in a different European university. You can do Erasmus in any European country and also in Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Turkey and Liechtenstein.

Formerly this scholarship was intended only for university students. Now with the Erasmus + program many more people have access to enjoy the experience: Erasmus for university students and master students, teachers, staff in teacher training, Erasmus internships, Erasmus for young people in volunteering and Erasmus for youth leaders. This initiative moves more than 4 million people every year.

The objective of the European Union with this program is to reduce youth employment, promote adult education especially in new skills, encourage young people to participate in democratic life in Europe, support innovation and cooperation between countries, reduce school dropout rates and promote mobility in Europe.

Basically, the Erasmus program helps young students to get to know other countries and cultures. It encourages people to communicate in more than one language to be able to teach and learn from others, to interact with other students to see the advantages of belonging to a single market and to develop international projects.

What is Erasmus for a student?

Erasmus is an adventure. A unique experience. For many students it is the first time they leave their parents’ house, it is the first time they are going to be totally independent. Erasmus is an experience where you are going to meet hundreds of people, but you have to take the first steps alone. You are going to arrive in a country you don’t know, with a language you don’t speak and you have to solve all the administrative papers at the university, find a place to live and get to know a new city. Your parents and lifelong friends are not there to help you, the first weeks are chaotic, but they are the ones that make you realize that you are about to start a unique experience, and that everything you do depends only on you. If you are from the city you will meet people from the town, if you are from the south you will meet people from the north. You will discover how different are the students in Spain, and not only that, you will meet Italians, English, Portuguese. You will travel around all the corners of your destination country, discover all the streets, all the bars and be a local. A citizen of the world.

Requirements to apply for the Erasmus Scholarship 2021

  • Have Spanish nationality or be a citizen of the European Union or any of the countries belonging to the Erasmus program.
  • Be enrolled in a Higher Education Institution and be pursuing an official Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree.
  • Undergraduate students must have passed at least the first year of studies.
  • The home and host universities must have an inter-institutional agreement between them.
  • Language level: It is necessary to demonstrate the knowledge of the language of the country where the course will take place, or the language that will be used in the subjects (To go on Erasmus to Poland you only have to demonstrate your level of English). You can present an official certificate, or take the language test given by each university.
  • Not to have enjoyed more than 12 months of Erasmus scholarship before. Currently you can choose a period of between 3 or 12 months per cycle. So it is possible to do an Erasmus in the Degree for 6 months, and another Erasmus in the Master for another 6 months.

How to get the Erasmus Scholarship at your university?

The Erasmus program is a European initiative, but all the administrative process is carried out at the university. The process to apply for the scholarship depends on each university, so the first thing you have to do is to visit the International Relations Office of your faculty or university to get all the information.

If you are thinking of applying for this scholarship, visit the ORI as soon as possible as the application dates may surprise you, and you will need to apply well in advance. To simplify the process, here are all the steps you need to complete to get an Erasmus Scholarship at your university:

  • Visit the International Relations Office of your college or university to learn about application deadlines and requirements.
  • Apply for the Erasmus Scholarship: It is a very simple step since the university has access to your academic transcript. The percentage of credits you have already passed, the average grade of your transcript and your language skills are positively evaluated. In other words, a student who applies for the Erasmus Scholarship for the last year of his or her degree will have a better grade than a student who wants to enjoy the experience in the second year of his or her degree.
  • Demonstrate your language level: If you have provided an official degree in your application you may not have to take a language test. If you do not have an official degree then it is necessary to pass the placement test set by your university. Not all host universities require you to have a language level (for example in Italy and Portugal it is possible to find destinations without passing the placement test). The minimum grade to go to an English-speaking destination is B1, but some centers may ask students to have better grades such as B2 or C1.
  • Complementary tests: Sometimes universities conduct personal interviews to assess the student’s motivation.
  • Provisional lists: Once the application period is over, the university will make public the provisional lists with those students who have been successful or have been rejected for the Erasmus Scholarship. If you have been rejected, this is the moment to start a claim and submit all the documents missing from your application.
  • Choosing your destination university: Some universities ask you to complete a list of destinations in your application and automatically assign you a destination. At other universities, destinations are selected in descending order according to each student’s score. That is to say, the student who has the highest percentage of credits passed with the highest grade point average can choose the destination first. Unfortunately, the student with the lowest score may find that many destinations no longer have places available. If for some reason you do not want to go to these countries, you can always leave it for the following year.
  • List of approved students and acceptance of the place: This is the moment when the university publishes all the students who will be able to enjoy the Erasmus grant and the destination university they have chosen. You only have to formalize in writing that you want to receive the Erasmus Scholarship and you agree with the host university.
  • Applying for grants: There are several public and private organizations that offer financial aid for students who are going to do Erasmus. In some cases the grants depend on the Autonomous Community and the University. Make sure that you apply for all possible financial grants. In your faculty they can inform you about all the scholarships and the deadlines you have to apply for them. Below is a summary of all the scholarships you can apply for.
  • Application Form: Once your home university confirms that you have a place, it is necessary to make an application to the host university so that they approve that you are able to study there for the next academic year. The international relations office will help you through the whole process and give you the necessary documents to fill out.
  • Erasmus Coordinator: When both universities have given you the go-ahead, the home university assigns you a tutor. This is usually one of your professors. This is the person who will help you select the subjects you are going to take at the host university, and is the person who has to approve your Learning Agreement.

Learning Agreement and other documents to hand in at the university

The Learning Agreement is the document that usually gives Erasmus students the most headaches. What is the Learning Agreement? It is an academic agreement in which you must include which subjects you want to take at your host university and for which subjects they will be validated at your home university.

This is a full-fledged research work, since normally the academic plans are different in each university. You are not going to have the same subjects in the third year of economics at your home university as at a university in Italy. So you will have to download the academic plan and match subjects with credits and schedules. We advise you to get in touch with students who have been on Erasmus this year so that they can guide you with the subjects, to know if they are easy or difficult, how is the teacher, how are the exams…

Once you have all the information, you have to select the subjects to fit your schedule at the host university. But the most important thing is that these subjects have to match the credits with the subjects you are going to enroll in at your home university. You have to pay special attention to validations.

The validations depend on your Erasmus coordinator, sometimes they turn a blind eye and you can select any subject as long as the credits match. But other times, they will not let you validate History of Economics in Italy for Accounting and Financial Analysis in Spain?

The Learning Agreement has to be approved by your Erasmus coordinator. Once your coordinator approves it, the next step will be done at the host university. Get ready you are going on Erasmus!

What documents do I have to hand in at the host university?

When you arrive in your new city you have to go to the international relations office at your host university to formalize the situation. The first thing you have to do is to sign the confirmation of stay document. It is simply a piece of paper that says that you have arrived on a certain day at that university.

And most importantly, they have to approve your Learning Agreement. And here the party starts! You know all that research work you did to fill out the document? Now you arrive at the university and they tell you that they have changed the schedules of the courses, or that those courses no longer exist. You have to change the Learning Agreement again. Don’t worry, it has happened to all of us. In fact, you can make several changes in the Learning Agreement as long as the host university and the coordinator agree.

If you arrive at the university the same day that classes start, and you have to make changes in the Learning Agreement you can use a little trick and show up to as many classes as you can to meet the professors and see which subjects give you a good vibe before completing the final Learning Agreement. Remember that your Erasmus coordinator has to approve all the changes you make.

In summary, as soon as you arrive in your destination city you need to complete two documents, you can see some examples by clicking on the links:

  • The Confirmation of Stay document
  • The Learning Agreement (after you have made all the changes).

What documents do I have to submit to the host university?

After spending one of the best years of your life, you come home looking forward to enjoy your family, home cooking, going out with your friends… we are sorry to give you bad news, but the Erasmus is not over yet. You have to fill in and hand in to your home university the following documents:

Certificate of Stay: This document has to be provided by your host university, and basically indicates the period of time you have been at the university.

Learning Agreement: If you have not sent a scanned copy to your coordinator before, you must provide a copy.

Accreditation document or transcript of records: Normally this information is passed between the universities so that they can carry out the validations, but there are times when you have to submit them on paper.

Student evaluation: This is a document in which the student has to evaluate the experience, the scholarship application process, the administrative procedures and so on.

Financial aid for the Eramus Scholarship 2021

The Erasmus program consists of going to study or experience in another country and for this purpose they grant a financial aid to cover part of the costs of travel and accommodation in your destination country.

Although it is not part of the scholarship, it should be noted that students do not have to pay anything at the host university. The student only pays the tuition fee at his/her Spanish university, according to the price of the credits of his/her university. This in itself is a great advantage, since in other European countries the cost of tuition or access to the laboratory is much higher.

How much money can I receive for the Erasmus Scholarship in 2021?

There are several organizations that offer grants to students who are going to do an Erasmus Scholarship. In most cases, all the total amounts are fixed by budget items, so the fixed amount of the scholarship (total amount of the EU budget for example among all the students who got the scholarship that Year) is not known until the applications are approved. This is a list of all the scholarships you can apply for and the financial amount of each one.

Guidelines for the Erasmus Scholarship according to the European Union.

Erasmus Scholarship Guidelines according to the European Union.
The European Union establishes the bases of the economic aid for students who are going to carry out an Erasmus scholarship. This aid is intended to cover the costs of travel and accommodation during the period of training or internship abroad. The grant may vary depending on the differences in the cost of living between the countries of origin and destination, the number of students applying, the distance between the countries and the availability of other grants.

The program countries are divided into 3 groups according to the cost of living in each country:

GROUP 1: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Norway.

GROUP 2: Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Netherlands, Malta, Portugal.

GROUP 3: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Turkey.

The recommendation of the European Union on the amount of the Erasmus Scholarship depends on the country of destination, the amount depends on the standard of living of the country. In this way 3 ranges are established:

Medium Range: Between 220 and 470€ per month. When a student goes to a country with the same cost of living. That is, if you go to any destination within group 2.

Upper Range: Between 270 and 520€ per month. When a student goes to study in a country with a higher cost of living. That is, any destination within group 1.

Lower Range: Between 170 and 420€ per month. When a student goes to a country with a lower cost of living than his/her home country. That is, any country within group 3.

In addition, the European Union allocates funds for special situations:

  • Between 100 and 200€ per month for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and with low incomes (including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants).
  • Between €100 and €200 for students undergoing practical training.
  • Special amounts for students from peripheral European countries. Students from Iceland and Cyprus or the Canary Islands, for example, receive supplementary amounts to cover relocation expenses.

These are the amounts established by the European Union, they are not fixed amounts. These grants are distributed to students through the National Agencies. In the case of Spain, these grants are managed by the SEPIE, which depends on the Ministry of Education. For more information you can consult the European website of Erasmus +.

The final amount depends on the total number of students who will receive the aid from the European Union. Priority is given to those students who are in the most disadvantaged situations. Not all students are guaranteed the financial amount. Some never receive any amount, and will have to support themselves from their own resources. This is the “Beca Cero”, where students are only exempted from paying tuition fees at the host university.

Aid for the Erasmus Scholarship by the Ministry of Education (SEPIE).

How much money can a Spanish student receive for the Erasmus Scholarship? Following the indications of the bases of the European Union, the Ministry of Education has made the same segmentation according to the destination countries:

GROUP 1: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Norway.

GROUP 2: Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Netherlands, Malta, Portugal.

GROUP 3: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Turkey.

And it has established the following financial aid for Erasmus students:

GROUP 1: 300€ per month

GROUP 2: 250€ monthly

GROUP 3: 200€ per month

An additional amount of €100 or €200 per month will be financed to students who meet one of the following conditions:

200€ per month: Having been a beneficiary of a general study grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports for university studies (MEC grant) in the academic year immediately prior to the one in which the mobility is to be carried out. What is the MEC grant? How can you apply for the MEC grant and receive the financial aid?

200 per month: To have the status of refugee with the right to subsidiary protection.

100€ per month: For students for practical training. If the student is going to receive the extra 200€ for having had the MEC Scholarship the previous year, he/she will not be able to add this amount.
For students from the Canary Islands, a transfer grant is also offered depending on the distance between the university of origin and the university of destination, according to the following table:

  • Between 10 and 99Km: 20 € for the student
  • Between 100 and 499Km: 180€ for the student
  • Between 500 and 1999Km: 275€ for the student
  • Between 2000 and 2999Km: 360€ for the student
  • Between 3000 and 3999Km: 530€ for the student
  • Between 4000 and 7999Km: 820€ for the student
  • More than 8000Km: 1500€ for the student

You can find all this updated information in the international relations office of your faculty.

Grants for the Erasmus Scholarship by the Autonomous Communities.
The Erasmus grants offered by the Autonomous Communities are directly linked to the annual general budgets of each community. This means that the amount of the scholarships may vary each year. Or even that they do not approve in the budgets an item for student mobility.

Who can receive these Erasmus grants? The grants of the Autonomous Communities are intended for those students with families with lower income levels and those students with the best academic record. You can visit the website of your Autonomous Community or the international relations office to find more details about these grants.

Just as an example, last year the Community of Madrid helped students by adding 200€ per month to the amount already offered by the Ministry of Education. The Junta de Andalucía has always allocated a large part of its budget to the development of its students, and there have been years when Andalusian students have been able to enjoy an extra €400 per month.

Aid for the Erasmus Scholarship by the Universities.

Some universities also allocate budgets to promote the mobility of their students. These amounts depend directly on the annual budgets of the university. You can check with your Erasmus coordinator to see if your university offers any type of aid. Normally these grants are destined to those students with the best academic record. A few years ago, when the 25th anniversary of the Erasmus scholarship was celebrated, many universities did their bit, but nowadays, it is not very common.

Aid for the Erasmus Scholarship by Banco Santander.

There are several private entities that want to contribute funds to help students. In this case Banco Santander has a special program for students who are going to do the Erasmus program.

Who can apply for the Banco Santander Erasmus Scholarship? To be eligible for the scholarships you only have to have been accepted in the Erasmus + program, and have a good academic record. How many scholarships do they offer? These are the Santander Erasmus Scholarships:

  • 149 scholarships of 3200€ each. Only for those students who have obtained the MEC Scholarship the previous year.
  • 1991 scholarships of 500€ each.
  • 2985 grants of 150€ each.

In the Santander website you can find all the details to apply for the scholarship and the application deadlines.

Types of Erasmus

Traditionally the Erasmus Scholarship was oriented to university students who were going to study abroad. There were other scholarships and financial aid oriented to other social groups or students who had other destinations in mind. Since 2014 the European Union decided to group all scholarships and mobility aids under the name Erasmus Plus (Erasmus +). Thanks to this initiative there are now more people who can enjoy the Erasmus Grant, and the same students have different opportunities to apply for the grant. Who can apply for the Erasmus Plus Grant?

Students

Students who are taking a higher education course can apply for the Erasmus grant. Now they can enjoy the scholarship not only when studying for a Bachelor’s Degree but also when studying for a Master’s Degree or a Doctorate.

Teaching Staff – Teachers

Yes, teachers can also go on Erasmus. This program is intended for all teachers who want to improve their teaching skills. The program is open for teachers in higher education, vocational education and training and for pre-school, primary and secondary education.

Teaching Staff (Training)

Erasmus+ offers training opportunities for staff in the education sector in both teaching and non-teaching subjects. Training abroad may consist of job shadowing or specific courses.

Erasmus Internships

For all students who wish to undertake work placements abroad. This program is aimed at all students in higher education or recent graduates and for all students in vocational training.

Erasmus+ Youth

Erasmus+ is open to all young people, regardless of whether or not they are engaged in learning or training activities. This program allows them to work as volunteers inside or outside Europe, or to participate in a youth exchange abroad. The period for volunteers is between 2 and 12 months. In addition, exchanges between groups of young people can also be carried out for a duration of 21 days.

Erasmus+ Youth Animators

Erasmus+ contributes to the professional development of youth workers through training or networking periods abroad. The activities abroad can consist of training courses, study visits, observation of professional activities in organizations…

You can find more details about all the categories on the Erasmus + program website: Erasmus Plus.

How to choose your Erasmus destination?

Unfortunately you are not totally free to choose any European city to do your Erasmus. It all depends on the international agreements that your faculty has. Normally the faculties with more students are able to close more collaboration agreements so the possibility of choosing a destination is much wider.

The other factor to take into account is that you need to pass a language test to be able to select certain destinations. But let’s say you already know the list of cities where you can do Erasmus and you have enough language level to be admitted. Which city should you choose to go on Erasmus? Which is the best destination to go on Erasmus? We have prepared a list with all the things to take into account in order to choose the best Erasmus destination for you.

Language: Nowadays many young students handle at a basic level one or two foreign languages, and you can easily pass the level of English and French to go to one of these destinations. The question is, which language would you like to improve to the point of being practically bilingual? Which language can offer you more job opportunities? Keep in mind that you are going to spend practically a year speaking that language and you will be able to learn a lot. It is not necessary to select the United Kingdom or Ireland, there are many other countries where English classes are taught.

Budget: In the section on financial aid, we have seen that the Erasmus scholarship depends on the cost of living in the country of destination. It is important that you calculate the cost of living that you are going to have while studying in that country and if the scholarship money is going to be enough to cover all those expenses. The price of a room in London is not the same as in a small town in Poland. When we look at the cost of living in a city, we not only have to look at the price of the room, we also have to take into account how much it will cost us to travel to that city. Are there direct flights with low cost companies? Do I need a flight and train to get to the destination? If you have everything planned you can save a lot of money.

Culture: There are many students who don’t care about where to do the Erasmus, they just want to enjoy the experience wherever it is. But the cultural factor is also very important for the student to adapt during their stay. The climate, the type of food, the way people socialize, everything influences… The student has to analyze if all these elements are going to fit with his personality.

Friends: It is one of the keys of any Erasmus, you will meet hundreds of people and you will make friends for life. But there are also differences between the relationships you can have depending on the Erasmus destination. Big cities like Rome or London receive hundreds of students every year, and among them there will be many Spanish students. The year we were on Erasmus in Rome there were more than 2,500 Spanish students with us. You naturally end up mixing with Spaniards, which sometimes makes you stop practicing the language. However, if you choose a small city, such as Tallinn or Perugia, where only 30 to 50 Spaniards go, it is easier to end up with other nationalities and share an apartment with Germans, Dutch or Swedes.

Improve your CV: The Erasmus experience is very positive for a student. And it is also very well valued by companies because the student shows initiative, has experience in solving problems by himself, an international profile, in general doing an Erasmus is very good for your CV. It is not the same to say that you have done an academic year at Oxford University than at a university that nobody knows. A university classmate of mine got a job at Volkswagen thanks to his Erasmus scholarship in Germany.

These are just some of the notions that you should take into account when choosing your Erasmus destination. Surely when you read the list of cities you will find one that catches your attention, let yourself be carried away by your impulse, after all it is an adventure!

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