The French Embassy hosted an entertaining evening for the Indian Erasmus+ Alumni on May 13, to commemorate Europe Day, as a part of the French Presidency of the European Union (EU) Council, which also coincides with the completion of 35 years of the Erasmus+ program. The event, co-organized with the European Union Delegation to India and Bhutan, boasted of a vibrant meet and greet between peers, Erasmus Alumni, academics, corporates, EU delegates, and students, along with food, drinks, and entertainment.
The keynote speakers for the event were HE Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, HE Ugo Astuto, the EU Ambassador to India and Bhutan, and Ms Elsa Mathews, representative of the Erasmus Alumni Association in India and Bhutan. The gathering included Erasmus Alumni, prospective students, researchers who have been involved in European programs, corporates, academics, diplomats, and delegates from EU embassies, along with several ambassadors of the EU.
This year, the EU and India are celebrating 60 years of strategic partnership. Asserting that the mobility of students and researchers forms an important dimension of the partnership, the Ambassador of the EU to India and Bhutan, H E Ugo Astuto, said, “I am happy to share that 143 Indian students have been awarded Erasmus Mundus scholarships for higher education in Europe. This builds on the success of the last two years when Indian students were the top recipient of the EU Erasmus+ scholarships among 167 countries. More and more Indian students are looking at the possibility of studying in the EU, exploring its world-class academic institutes, attending courses in two or more European countries, and gaining exposure to diverse cultures.”
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Ambassador Lenain called the Erasmus program one of the most successful programs of the EU. Talking about the reach of the Erasmus program, he said, “Earlier, Erasmus was focused only on student mobility. However, Erasmus today brings opportunities to all: students, academics, trainees, teachers, volunteers, and more. It is not just about Europe or Europeans either: with Erasmus Mundus, people from all over the world can access this program.” Ambassador Lenain confirmed that for three years in a row, France has received the highest number of Indian Erasmus scholarship holders.
Erasmus is a wonderful way to enhance people-to-people relations, and transform students into global citizens. This point was emphasized by Elsa Mathews, an alumna of the Erasmus Mundus program, who had pursued her European Master of Arts in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at the Université Stendhal, Grenoble, France, and the University of Aarhus in Denmark. Sharing her experience, Mathews said, “The opportunity to experience pan-European study and travel led me to choose the Erasmus Mundus program. I learned many concepts, theories, and practices that I could have never learned in India. I have had receptive teachers who helped me choose the courses. It was very enriching to be part of student projects where I got the opportunity to work with international peers, learning and understanding different styles and approaches to work.” Mathews elaborated that the program gave her a multi-dimensional and global understanding of her field.
Erasmus+ is a program established in 1987 by the EU to support education, training of youth, and sport for students from across the globe, in partner universities, in partner countries across Europe.
With a budget of €26.2 billion (Rs. 2,096,94 crore) for the 2021-2027 period, this is the largest program in the world for student motility. With this program, the EU wants to enhance academic and youth mobility and cooperation among EU members but also with other regions in the world, especially Asia.
With the success of the Erasmus+ Programme within the European continent, an extension was created in 2004. This extension so-called Erasmus Mundus offers student mobility from and to non-European countries. To apply for the Erasmus Mundus program, the applicant has to have a bachelor’s degree or be in the last year of bachelor’s studies and graduate before the master’s program starts. A new batch of selected Erasmus Mundus Masters is added to the list each year. Most consortia will require applications to be submitted between October and January for courses starting the following academic year. The applicant can consult the online catalog of Erasmus Mundus master’s programs for more detailed information about the EU-funded programs and a link to the websites of the masters. Nevertheless, the Erasmus+ program grants scholarships to not just students, but also staff, trainees, adult learners, and even organizations involved in learning mobility, innovation, and policy support.
While the event was primarily held as a meet and greet soiree, Euraxess also worked to build a directory of all Erasmus alumni to enhance the network and prepare for future events. To inform and support professional researchers, Euraxess is a unique pan-European initiative, backed by the EU, member states, and associated countries. It supports researcher mobility and career development while enhancing scientific collaboration between Europe and the world.
For more details on the Erasmus program please visit https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/