During the last year, the pandemic and the international health emergency nearly stopped the Erasmus+ programme.
In April 2020, the European Commission launched a survey to National Agencies, in which it turned out that among the 107.000 participants in the Erasmus+ programme, 45.000 students have continued the programme online, 23.500 students have suspended the programme and about 38.500 students have completely cancelled it.
In general, 80.000 students returned to their country and 27.000 remained abroad.
But the pandemic does not stop the desire for Erasmus+. Students, teachers and high-education staff are ready to leave as soon as possible. On the one hand, many of them are still waiting for the approval, but on the other hand, some were able to go abroad. In fact, several students and teachers have decided to leave for this new life-changing experience. However, those who choose to do it now are aware that their adventure may be influenced by restrictions and difficulties.
This is the case of Riccardo, a 24-year-old Italian student, who decided to take off for Rennes (France) last August.
He said: “The epidemiological situation in France is both very delicate and complex. France is currently [at the time of interview, ed.] in national confinement, and this is why the choice to leave was difficult. Nevertheless, I was very excited. I knew that I could still live the Erasmus experience despite the Covid-19 emergency situation. I just thought: ‘This opportunity only knocks once. Grab it or you’ll lose it’. And so I did.”
Greetings from Poland!
Fear is a problem for every Erasmus + coordinator. Everyone has to struggle with it.
Coordinators are afraid that they will not have so many students willing to go abroad.
Students were afraid whether their language skills were at a sufficient level, whether the exams abroad would be too difficult, or whether the Erasmus grant would be too low.
Our role as coordinators is to break down these walls that cause fear.
Unfortunately, the pandemic is not conducive to our work. It increased fear in every form.
However, I believe that it is not the end of the Erasmus + program. I believe that the hope and willingness of students to learn about the world overcomes any fear.
I wish this to all coordinators.
See you on Erasmus!
Indeed, “Opportunity knocks but once”.
It would be interesting to update the study in the next year, asking students what they are going to do or are doing online mobility, if they would have done it if it was not online.
For the students who may say that they would not have done it, they are also having a chance that has occurred due to this situation. You have to see the bright side of things.