The European Union has just launched an updated version of their Erasmus student programmes, which should see the volume of student exchanges across Europe increase exponentially.
Titled Erasmus+ and active since the beginning of the year, this new programme has so far received more backing funds than any of its predecessors, and could benefit in excess of four million students across the European Union. At this point, the proposed budget for the first seven-year period amounts to roughly 15 million euros, an increase of 40 percent in relation to some of the budgets EU student programmes have obtained in the past.
In relation to previous editions of the Erasmus exchange scheme, Erasmus+ boasts more fields of expertise in which to specialise. It combines some of the best characteristics of previous European Union student programmes, such as Erasmus, Comenius and Da Vinci, as well as more localized initiatives such as Grundtvig and Youth In Action.
Perhaps the most noteworthy addition to this new student exchange scheme is the addition of programmes for sports students. This area was previously devoid of student programmes for international exchange, a tendency the new scheme seeks to rectify. To this effect, the European Union has struck up a number of partnerships with sports institutions across Europe, with a view to promoting grassroots sports and give sports students a chance to experience an exchange.
Erasmus and its sibling programmes play a pivotal role in enabling academic mobility across Europe and further afield. It is estimated that, because of these schemes, about a quarter of all European university students will be embarking in a semester abroad. These figures stretch to encompass roughly 13 percent of all students taking vocational courses and about a fifth of all secondary-school students in the continent.
Britain is one of the countries with the highest rate of student mobility in the Union, with roughly 1.7 percent of all British university students embarking in a programme of this type.
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