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These last few years, exchange programs between universities across the world have become very popular. Every year, thousands of students choose to go studying or working as interns abroad. They often come home with amazing memories, new knowledge and priceless experiences.

Within the European Union, the Erasmus program is the most commonly known. Erasmus stands for European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students and makes a reference to humanist Desiderius Erasmus who was, in his time, a real pioneer in terms of studying abroad. The Erasmus program was created 25 years ago and aimed at promoting exchanges for students and professors. Since then, more than 2 million young Europeans have been granted scholarships to go study in partner universities for one or two semesters. During the academic year 2009-2010, the number of students participating in the Erasmus program broke a new record and reached 200,000. France, Germany and Spain welcome the greatest number of students every year (source: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc80_en.htm).

Nowadays, having some experience of living abroad is no longer considered as a strength: it is almost an obligation.

What are the main advantages of staying abroad?

First, a better education: the tutorial system is usually different and classes are not organized as in the students’ home countries. Thus, they have to broaden their minds and go into further detail to understand perfectly their classes. They learn to master other ways of working and to consider their subject of study from other points of view.

Moreover, they are usually immersed in new languages and cultures which is an amazing experience and a real strength on a résumé. By getting in contact with the locals, they can really get to know a new culture and get a better understanding of the habits, ways of thinking and of functioning of the country they are in.

From an individual point of view, living abroad is even more enriching. Students will have to learn to live on their own and to be independent. Should they have problems, they learn to solve them by themselves as there is often no one around to help them. Multicultural experiences help broaden the mind and are really useful in a professional environment. Students usually grow up while living abroad and learn to be open when meeting new people. Strong friendships often grow between exchange students coming from all over the world. They develop international networks, which can always be useful when looking for a job.

As a general basis, managers usually consider that students who lived abroad have more managerial skills, know how to adapt to new situations especially intercultural situations. And usually, they are not afraid to go working abroad.

Still not convinced that you need international experiences?

Stop hesitating, pack your bags and go have an amazing experience that you won’t forget to find out by yourself!

More information on the Erasmus program:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc80_en.htm

Few testimonies:

http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEnglish/FileStoregeneral/DeborahONeill/Filetoupload,101315,en.pdf

http://www.i-studentlife.com/2009/08/alec-wilding-my-erasmus-experience

http://erasmusu.com/en/erasmus-experiences

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