For updates on the impact of the EU referendum on the UK's participation in the Erasmus programme please refer to the University's EU FAQs
Erasmus+ is the European Union’s (EU) funding programme for education and training, youth and sport. The overall programme objectives are to:
- Boost skills and employability
- Modernise education, training and youth work
- Improve opportunities for young people.
The Programme is provided with funding by the European Union via the British Council, who are the UK’s National Agency.
The University is currently participating in the Erasmus programme and has done since its inception 25 years ago. In the last few years there has been a substantial increase in student mobility with over 150 Cambridge students participating and around 100 incoming students in 2013-14.
Due to the Tripos structure at Cambridge, the only undergraduate students who can take part in Erasmus+ are from the following departments/faculties:
- Modern and Medieval Languages (study exchanges and traineeships)
- Law (study exchanges only)
- Engineering (study exchanges only)
- A number of science departments also allow their students to go abroad for research projects during the long vacation but only if the project is a recognised part of the individual's degree.
MPhil students, with the exception of the 2 year Architecture and Design course, cannot take part in Erasmus due to the course length.
A number of departments allow PhD students to spend time abroad through Erasmus for research purposes. Please make enquiries with your department or the Erasmus Co-ordinator for current opportunities. You must have approval from your supervisor, the relevant Degree Committee and have applied for permission to work away.
Any student in their final year of study is eligible to apply for funding for a Graduate Traineeship. Please see this page for further information
Staff mobility opportunities are available to University Teaching Officers, University administrative staff and College Teaching Officers.
The Benefits of Erasmus+
Cambridge students who went abroad under the Erasmus programme in 2015-16 reported:
- 87% of students who participated in a study exchange and 90% of those on a traineeship felt that their period abroad made them feel more confident and convinced of their abilities
- Over 94% of students who completed a traineeship felt that they improved their problem solving skills
- More than 90% of students felt that the programme had given them the skills to adapt to and act in new situations
- Over 84% of students felt that their experience had made them more open-minded and curios about new challenges
MML student, 2015-16 year abroad: I went on two Erasmus study placements in the academic year 2015-2016. I’m an MML student in French and Spanish, so I chose to split my year abroad accordingly, with one term studying at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon and the other in the Universidad de Sevilla.
When planning my year, I considered first and foremost what kind of place I’d like to live, and, secondly, I thought about opportunities to be fully immersed in the language. I’m a bit of a city girl, so Lyon and Seville looked like the perfect places to be because they’re big, buzzing cities, but not too big and daunting. The YA reports on ENS Lyon were brilliant – everyone seemed to have a great time and speak loads of French. There was less information on Seville, but I was determined to go to Andalucía – a region I had already visited and loved. In the end, I fell in love with both cities, improved my language skills immensely and made great friends.
I loved the ENS because of the opportunities available to get involved in uni sport and uni life in general, and the courses I took there were fantastic. I’d say it’s quite like being in a very big Cambridge college, in terms of “feel”. The University of Seville is huge (probably more than ten times the size of the ENS) so it was a completely different atmosphere, but this only exposed me to more new ways of studying and organising myself! I really appreciated Cambridge’s flexible approach to what you study on Erasmus because it allows you to become a more rounded student; being able to study Classical Arabic and Palestinian Literature in Seville was a definite highlight. The things I valued most in both places were the friendships I made and the immersion I got in the languages; I would go for days neither speaking nor hearing a word of English in Seville. It was hard leaving Lyon after only one term, but – and this is a recommendation for anyone wanting to split a year of study – you have to see each Erasmus placement as an experience in its own right. It is especially rewarding if you can find ways to connect the two. For example, one of my friends from Lyon visited me in Seville, which was very cool. I feel that my time on Erasmus has improved the way I approach my academic work, thanks to having studied in lots of new ways and in different environments, but most importantly it has given me real, personal connections with great people in two fantastic cities. As clichéd as it might sound, it broadened my horizons more than I could ever have anticipated. If you want to make the most of your Erasmus placement, you should definitely be ready to try things out, to put the effort into making friends, and to speak and work in the language at every possible opportunity. But don’t get down if you find yourself alone for a day: take that opportunity to do some exploring or maybe do your YAP (!).
MML student, 2015-16 year abroad: During my year abroad I spent five months working in Paris and a semester studying in Madrid. I worked as a marketing intern for SCOR Global P&C at their Paris office, located just off the Arc de Triumph on Avenue Kleber. I chose the job because of the opportunity to gain some valuable work experience, but also for the fact that I was the only English speaker in a francophone office environment which meant that I got lots of French practice in. In Madrid I attended the Complutense University, and studied Statistics, Modern European History and Classical Mythology all modules within their school of Filologia. I chose these two different places because of the diverse opportunities that both offered. In Paris, I had a lot of responsibility in my job and I got a real taste of what it’s like working in a big company, which has helped me to think more clearly about what I would like to do after leaving university. In Madrid, I got a taste for Spanish student life and the flexible study timetable allowed me to make the most of my time in Spain, take part in lots of extra activities and visit different cities nearby. The combination of work and study gave me a good balance of responsibility and freedom throughout the year. I really
enjoyed my time in both cities. In Madrid in particular, one of the best things was the people I met through the Erasmus framework, and taking part in student run trips and activities whilst I was there. In Paris, spending five months with a company (as opposed to a normal summer internship for
example) gave me an authentic insight into the French corporate world, and I developed ties with the people I was working with, something which will no doubt help me career wise in the future. I am very grateful to have had both experiences. Overall, I am glad that I decided to split my year abroad between two countries and would encourage other students to do so if they are keen to develop both languages. My main advice would just be to speak to students who have already been on Erasmus about specific things such as accommodation, setting up bank accounts etc. as all this can seem very daunting at the start when you’re trying to find your feet in a new country and other people’s advice from experience will be invaluable.
For more information on the programme please see the relevant pages on this website