Two years have passed since I started my Erasmus+ student mobility so I decided to write an anniversary post.
HOW TO GET THE BEST ERASMUS SCHOLARSHIP FOR YOU?
1. Start with “why”:
“Those who have a why can bear any how,” said Viktor Frankl. I agree with that, it’s very important to be aware of the reasons WHY you want to go on Erasmus+. These reasons will be a reminder for why you chose this programme throughout the application process and your mobility and they might serve as an encouragement if you hesitate to go or whenever you stumble upon difficult moments.
Tip: Write down on a piece of paper at least 5 to 10 reasons why you want to do this. Then find two advantages and two disadvantages for each reason. Cut out the ones in which the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Make sure you remain with at least 3 main well-argued reasons. Bonus: you can mention these reasons in your motivational letter!
2. Let the search begin:
After you decided on the reasons for which you want to pursue this programme, let’s get down to action. When choosing the right Erasmus+ programme for you, you have to think thoroughly about many variables.
🔹How does your academic situation look like? Do you have good enough grades to be selected for this scholarship?
🔸Where would you like to do the mobility?
🔹What kind of mobility do you want to pursue (study or practice)?
🔸At which uni would you like to study?
🔹Does your uni have a partnership with the desired uni?
🔸What kind of partnership do they have?
🔹How many months is it possible for you to stay?
🔸In which language are the courses taught/do you have to do the practice?
🔹Can you learn the language until you go on mobility or does the desired uni offer language courses?
🔸How many credits do you have to come back with?
🔹Does your home university recognise the subjects you take at the university abroad or do you have to re-do exams at your home university when you return from your mobility?
🔸 What is the monthly sum of money that the Erasmus+ programme offers you (depending on your home country)? How will you get it? Is it enough to live by?
🔹Where are you going to live? Does the partner university offer you campus dorm options or do they help you in any way?
🔸Are there any sites for Erasmus+ students from which you can get more information about the partner university and student life there?
These are just some of the most important variables that need to be taken into consideration for Erasmus+. I’m sure there are many more, feel free to add them in the comments.
3. The proper application period:
After deciding at which partner university to apply, it is high time you prepared the required documents for the application. This can be a really long and tiring process. But don’t give up folks, good things take time, effort, and patience.
Personally, my home university required me to prepare the following documents:
- candidate file (with info about yourself, your uni, and the Erasmus+ mobility)
- declaration of consent (legal document in which you agree on the legal conditions of the scholarship)
- motivational letter in the language of the partner uni (tips: keep the motivational letter concise and well-argumented, you want to convince the selection jury about the importance of choosing YOU for this mobility; try to bring arguments from multiple points of view – eg. the Erasmus+ programme will help you not only in your professional life but also in your personal life and provide examples how; try to add a personal touch to it and eventually mention how you would apply further on in your life/career the benefits/learnings of this experience)
- curriculum vitae (in your mother tongue or in English, make sure it is in a European format): keep it concise and professional!
- transcript of records from your home uni with the (average) grades scored each year since enrollment
- language certificate (here you have to pay attention: when choosing your partner uni, make sure that you are informed about which language the courses are taught in; if they are taught in a language that you already speak well, and when I say well I mean intermediate level B1/B2 in the CEFR framework, then it’s going to be easier for you, you just have to submit a certificate to prove your language level or sit an exam in order to get that certificate; if they are taught in a language that is entirely foreign to you, try taking language courses at least 6 months in advance or try to learn it either individually by watching movies/reading/listening to music or with a group of Erasmus+ students or by chatting with locals from your destination country – this is a great way to also get introduced to the culture and local customs and to create friendships with locals before actually leaving for Erasmus+)
- additional diplomas certifying voluntary work/research experience in your field of study
❗️The documents mentioned above are the ones that I was required to submit by my home uni in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Make sure that you have checked the list with the required documents from your home uni in your country.
4. The selection process:
The selection process usually has two parts: submitting the aforementioned documents and an interview with the Erasmus+ committee of teachers from your university. The interview will not be very long, the usual questions that you will be asked tackle your motivation for the programme, whether you speak the language of the country in which you want to go (the interview might also be in the language of the partner country!) and what makes you the perfect candidate for the chosen programme. These are just some examples of questions that you might be asked. If you know any other useful ones, feel free to add them in the comments.
One aspect that is really important during the interview is your attitude. I know it’s a cliché, but confidence is key. Own your decision of applying for Erasmus+ and do a little pep talk before entering the interview room. Make sure you have arguments to back up your decision of pursuing Erasmus+ and try to speak openly about the benefits of the programme and your desire to be selected for it. Do not worry if your CV lacks some experience or if you do not have all the skills required for being chosen. As Simon Sinek puts it: “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills”. The selection committee will remark your willingness to learn and improve in order to be eligible for the mobility if your attitude is positive and proactive and inspires these things (Disclaimer: there might be some requirements that are 100% mandatory in the agreement and you have to ensure that you meet them). After the interview, you will have to wait a bit until the selection results are posted. If you are selected, congrats! Keep scrolling down to read. If you are not selected, congrats! You were brave enough to apply and now you know what you have to improve in your next application. Do not let a rejection determine you to give up on your dream of pursuing this programme. Maybe the chosen partner uni was not the right fit for you, maybe the universe has better things in stock for you. Remaining optimistic and working for your goals will always lead you on the right path for you. 🧘🏼♀️
5. Confirmation of your place and preparation for Erasmus+:
If you were selected for the programme, the next step is to confirm your place and submit additional documents that are needed. It is advisable that you communicate with your local Erasmus+ coordinator who will help you with the preparation of your mobility and will mediate the communication between your home uni and your partner uni. Meanwhile, try to craft an action plan at least 3 to 6 months before you go on your Erasmus+. In this action plan you should:
🔺talk to your teachers in order to make sure they recognise the subjects studied at the partner uni and to be aware of which subjects you have to re-take
🔺take language classes and check which language exams you have to sit or find a local with whom to practice the language
🔺start looking for accommodation and find some options
🔺buy a city map and localise the main neighbourhoods, the route from your place to uni, where your bank will be located, where is the nearest hospital, where the main shops and facilities are located
🔺find out what entertainment is available for students: this is one of the best parts of Erasmus+ – there are plenty of activities available for Erasmus+ students such as city tours, trips, festivals, local cuisine tasting events, parties, integration programmes, etc.; make sure that you are in touch with the local ESN organisation (Erasmus+ Student Network) or other organisations which provide entertainment for Erasmus+ students.
6. Leaving for Erasmus+:
I know goodbyes are hard, but trust me, saying goodbye to your family and friends at home when going for Erasmus+ is not going to be so difficult because an awesome and life-changing experience awaits! Make sure all is set before you go and make the best out of your Erasmus+ experience. It’s all up to you. From my personal account, my Erasmus+ study mobility in Valencia, Spain was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life so far. I loved every minute as a student in Valencia, the city, the university, the people, the culture, the life, the food, the way in which I felt at ease and at home there. Even if I encountered some difficult moments, they were insignificant in comparison to the good ones I’ve had. The Erasmus+ experience in Spain has not only enriched me with a lot of professional knowledge but it has also helped me find myself, has taught me to appreciate authentic human connections, made me speak Spanish, laugh heartily, eat paella impulsively, drink sangria and horchata a bit too often and cherish being present. These are some of the reasons why I recommend it from the very bottom of my heart.
Some ethical issues:
❗️As far as I am informed, students are not allowed to get in touch with the partner universities and teachers/coordinators from them BEFORE being selected for the Erasmus+ mobility. So try to mediate any form of communication with the partner university via your Erasmus+ coordinator from your home university.
❗️The Erasmus+ monthly scholarship is designated to be used solely for supporting your living costs during the mobility. The sum is a fixed one and it comes in pre-set fixed amounts each month, however, many students get the last amount only after finishing their mobility. Mind how you manage the scholarship because asking for more is not an option. (Of course, other costs can be covered by your family or yourself if you work)
❗️Before you go on mobility it is advisable to check which subjects and credits will be recognised when you return to your home university. If there are subjects that are not recognised, talk to your teachers and try to reach a legal agreement about what you are supposed to do to recover those credits. Some teachers will want you to re-take their subject next year, others might give you an exam or just a project so you have to be prepared for anything.
Good luck with your application!