Erasmus scholarships do not measure up to inflation

Although the Erasmus program of the European Union is quite extensive, mobility grants for university students are the most famous part. For many students, there is a before and after leaving Erasmus, “a transformative journey that fosters personal and professional development,” as he describes it. Alfonso GentileDirector of the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (Sepie). It undoubtedly represents a unique and one-of-a-kind opportunity at a time of decisive changes, being “a very powerful stimulus that it is better to live 100% without worrying too much about what will happen next,” he says. Amaia EchevarriaDirector of the Erasmus Student Network Spain (ESN Spain).

With a budget of €26,200m for the period 2021-2027, in 2023 the endowment amounts to €4,430m for all of Europe. In Spain, these scholarships range from 210 to 310 euros per month, depending on the country chosen. However, in the current inflationary scenario and rents reaching exorbitant figures, such support is scarce.

Eduardo Garbaio, VP, Business & Operations at Spotahome adds optimization to these reasons, “which reduces supply available in downtown.” According to this portal, the European cities with the cheapest room rent are Cagliari (156€/month), Katowice (210€/month) and Perugia (250€/month). Two Italian cities in the top three explain that the fact that Italy is the preferred destination for Spanish students, with 21.3% of the total, is no coincidence.

Economic hardship has a mixed effect. Victoria J Ramos“The occupancy rate of available places has been very high, but there are still free places that will be tried to be filled in the next semester,” admits Camilo José Cela University’s International Mobility Coordinator. However, they point out from Sepie that 1,200 applications were collected, up 9% from the previous call. In any case, the amount was already low before the CPI went up, admits Echevarría, who also believes that “it’s useless to give me money if I’m going to have to pay it. It’s like asking for a loan while you prove you don’t need it.”

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The fact is that the payments are not monthly, but usually one at 80% and the other at 20%. The first is usually received before departure and the second upon return, but there are no exact dates, so student budget planning must take into account possible delays. Specifically, they warned UCJC that financial aid payment terms rank among the most frequently asked questions.

In addition to the cost of living, there are many factors that influence the choice of country. Gentile highlights “the possibility of studying in English, which is a primary language for the current job market.” Namely, when leaving our borders, relief is obtained. “Almost 80% of the participants state that they have improved their language proficiency,” notes Director Sepie, which is a key aspect of employment: 8 out of 10 find a job within three months after completing their studies, plus a 50% increase in employment opportunities in the country. other. Those in charge of human resources realize that exerasmus students know a foreign language, not “because the exam certifies it, but because they have really practiced it,” asserts Echevarría, who also emphasizes the flexibility gained because “you encounter a new country, a different culture, another education system, all of which teach you Adaptation.” Else “soft skills” What supports this international training experience are teamwork, creativity, tolerance and entrepreneurial spirit.

academic factor

Study discipline marks too to choose. «German universities are interesting in the fields of engineering and industry; Italian for the social or legal sciences,” Gentile points out. On the ground, the educational program is crucial. Validating the material turns many students upside down. “The biggest problem always comes with the study agreement, also known as Learning Agreement. It is an equivalence contract that allows the validation of material studied abroad upon return to Spain in order to prove that the stay has been fruitful.

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For the director of ESN Spain, “there is much more contact between universities because in the end the student does not fully understand the process,” insisting that “it is not about the amount of information but its quality and not what is there but how it is explained.” This advice is usually given. from a particular department in the university, covering both departments academic As is the administrative matter, according to Ramos, who explains that “the student is helped to prepare the study agreement that he will study abroad, and on the other hand he is informed of the requirements that he must fulfill.”

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