Studying abroad had always been on my wish list. When I got the chance through my university in The Netherlands, I didn’t think twice. The only difficulty for me was choosing where to go. My university had many options all over the world, but since I was only a student and not a millionaire, I also had to look at the financial aspect. Eventually I chose for something close to home and yet something not many choose; an Erasmus exchange in Finland.
The Erasmus program is part of the Life Long Learning Program by the European commission. It helps students in funding their exchange within Europe. Among the countries participating are Finland, The Netherlands, Malta, Austria, Spain and the UK. You are selected for the program through your home university and you can go anywhere between 3 and 12 months, as long as you study for a minimum of one full term. Your own university will be able to tell you which options are available to you.
How much money you will get depends on your situation. For the bigger part, your university controls the funding, so your best option is to start there. Your university will have connections with other Erasmus schools throughout Europe. This makes it easy for you to arrange everything. There is a lot to arrange, from getting there to the curriculum, but it’s more than worth it.
Erasmus is not just studying. Often you will find that there are lots of Erasmus students at the university you are going to. Lots of universities organize activities and parties for exchange students. It’s as much a social thing as education. The beauty of being in a different country is that there is so much to explore. Take a challenge. Choose a country with a language you don’t speak or a culture or climate that’s completely different to yours. The options are endless.