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25,000 Irish Students to Study in Europe by 2020

Up to 25,000 students in Irish higher education institutions are expected to benefit from the new Erasmus+ programme which will come into effect in January 2014. Erasmus is the world’s most successful student exchange programme, established in 1987 and operating now in 34 countries.

The European Parliament has just given the green light to the €14.7 billion European study/work abroad programme.    In total,  some two million higher education students across Europe are expected to benefit from the programme across the 34 participating countries.

In the current programme which covered the period 2007-2013, a total of 18,000 students from Ireland travelled to one of the participating countries (28 EU members plus European Economic Area countries), up from 9,000 in the previous 7 year period.

Head of European Programmes at the Higher Education Authority, the national agency for Erasmus+, Gerry O’Sullivan says

“There is a growing interest among Irish students and their parents in including a learning period in Europe as part of one’s higher education.  Students who have been on the programme see the benefits, including a more focused approach to learning on their return to their home institution; a greater sense of personal development; enhanced language skills and stronger cultural awareness.  It is not beyond our ability to hit a target of around 50,000 given that in the new programme students will be able to do a traineeship for two months compared to the current minimum of three months and for the first time students will be able to do a traineeship in the year after graduation.”

France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden are the top five countries of choice for study among Irish Erasmus students but travelling Irish learners have spent time in higher education institutions from Reykjavik to Istanbul.



Malcolm Byrne, Head of Communications, HEA (086) 2237102

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