A spokesperson for the mobility office in the University of Barcelona has said that during the year 2013-2014 the UB will host a total of 1,122 Erasmus students from a whole host of partner universities all over the world. However, this has meant a decrease from the 1,171 Erasmus students that attended the University of Barcelona during the course of 2012-2013. Although these figures released by the university have meant a fall in students choosing University of Barcelona for their Erasmus exchange programme, figures have been rising consistently in the years previous showing that Barcelona is still a very popular Erasmus destination.
Tom Bosse (21) who is a student at the University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht in the Netherlands, was studying Economics and Business at the University of Barcelona. Tom came to Barcelona in February and undertook studies for his Erasmus placement until June. Tom said that he “loved it” in Barcelona and thinks that Erasmus is an “awesome concept to improve (international) social cohesion”.
The Erasmus (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) Exchange Programme was set up in 1987 by the European Union to allow students and teachers to travel within the EU to other higher education institutions. Erasmus grants are allocated to those who participate and many of the European countries have host universities. Presently, Spain is one of the leading countries for the mobility of Spanish students coming in at over 30,000 exchanges which has cost over €32 million in EU mobility funding.
Robert Boucaut (21) who has just completed his studies of Humanities and Communication at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona over a six month period has said that the continuous success for students choosing Barcelona is down to the fact that Catalonia “is an easy culture to slip into and Barcelona is a great town for partying and socializing in”. Robert, who is originally from Adelaide, Australia also said that he is in favour of the Erasmus programme as it is “ a structured way to make people see parts of the world which is particularly important if it is part of your studies, for example if someone is studying languages”.
“Barcelona’s reputation is true that it’s a really fun city and I would definitely tell all my friends to come here”, said Robert.
The Pompeu Fabra University has stated that “most of the incoming students to UPF are from Italy”, however there is such a diverse range of students from all over the world participating in the Erasmus exchange programme.
Dayana Kancheyva (19) who originates from Bulgaria but is undertaking her studies at University College Birmingham, completed her exchange to Turisme Sant Ignasi (TSI) and studied Hospitality Management in Barcelona. “I have met many people from all around the world and have experienced a new lifestyle, culture and language” explained Dayana.
“The universities are really good as the studying system is similar to the one in the UK which makes it easy to get used to… If you don’t know Catalan or Spanish you can chose to study in English which makes it more suitable for students from many countries” said Dayana.
Heidi Eskildsen (25) who is from Esbjerg, Denmark chose to undertake journalism at the Pompeu Fabra University from January until June 2014. Heidi explained that she thinks Erasmus is “a great way to get to know more about yourself and to get some other experiences that you cannot get at home”. Heidi also said that she thinks Barcelona is very suitable as an Erasmus destination because it’s “such a big city and its very cultural. It’s very international as well…I like it and I think it’s very popular”.
Heidi said that she doesn’t think that “Erasmus should be compulsory as some people don’t like to go out of the country but I think it’s great that we have the opportunity to go all over the world and I think that Erasmus is a really great way of putting another layer on your education”.
2014 has welcomed an upgraded version of the Erasmus programme which is titled ‘Erasmus+’. This new version aims to improve effectiveness, employability and subsequently allocate more funding and grants to the participants. It also combines all of the minor EU programmes that are based on the same concept of mobility as the Erasmus programme. Erasmus+ initiated in January and is a seven year programme which has a budget of over €14 billion euros, a 40% increase on current spending levels.