Storified by Antonia Mochan · Fri, May 18 2012 09:42:56
Almost exactly 20 eyars ago, I got on a ferry and headed off to the Netherlands to spend 4 months at the University of Leiden on an Erasmus exchange. I had classes there with Hungarians, Belgians, Spaniards, Danes, Americans and those are just the ones I can remember. Yesterday the British Council, the UK national agency for the Erasmus programme, held a birthday party to celebrate this landmark and highlight the importance of the programme.
25th-anniversary – british coucnil- erasmusNearly three million students from across Europe have benefited from a study period or work placement abroad since the creation of the Er…
Love the typo! We started with Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, who highlighted the importance of global education for UK prosperity.
This is so true: "The Erasmus generation is the generation which will give us a competitive edge." Martin DavidsonLizzie Fane
He also gave us the numbers for the programme:
925 in first year, more than 12000 last year, 200k brits over life. better degrees, career prospects, lifetime earnings. #erasmus25Antonia Mochan
But it wasn’t all about dwelling on success, but looking to the future
davidson: challenge is building for the future. get business on board. help students understand the benefits. #erasmus25Antonia Mochan
Then David Willetts, the Universities Minister spoke and it was good to hear a government minister extolling the virtues of a European programme.
Willetts. #erasmus25 changing lives, opening minds. unis benefit from stronger links overseas. businesses value knowledge of other culturesAntonia Mochan
He also announced that it had been agreed to fund a 15% fee waiver for students studying abroad during their degree
BIS media information for journalists and the press – Press Releases – Report recommends measures to support and increase outward UK student mobility – BISThe report by Professor Colin Riordan, Chair of the UK HE International Unit, looks at the incentives and obstacles to students studying …
Then it was over to participants. Annette Strauss of the University of Surrey had been involved from early on and spoke a bit about the background, including the difficulties of multi-country partnerships in the days before email 🙂 She also made a point that I think we need to pick up on in the representation
Strauss: UK could make more use of staff exchanges. #erasmus25Antonia Mochan
Any thoughts about how to do so are very welcome!
Next up was Lizzie Fane of Third Year Abroad.
Make the most of your time away with our latest info, help and advice for year abroad students… – Third Year AbroadThe complete resource for university students before, during and after their year abroad, including case studies, language help, Erasmus …
If anyone at the #erasmus25 event wants to read the graduate career case studies I mentioned, check out http://www.thirdyearabroad.com/graduates :)Lizzie Fane
Angela Pearce was an alumna from the very first year and talked about coach travel, phone cards and waiting for letter from home, which brought back some memories!
Julia Kennedy from Robert Gordon University spoke about the value of the staff exchanges, telling the story of an academic who told his students not to do Erasmus as it was bad for their degrees. Then he did a staff exchange and, like Saul on the road to Damascus, everything changed and now he is one of the biggest fans in the university.
Last of the alumni was Muhammed Abbas Abdulla from Queen Mary University
muhammed abbas abdulla, recent alum. split Germany & Spain. Don’t prepare, let it happen. live daily life, just somewhere else #erasmus25Antonia Mochan
Last up was Steven Beswick of Microsoft.
Beswick: intl experience vital to showing 6 core attributes microsoft looks for eg honesty, integrity, self-awareness, openness #erasmus25Antonia Mochan
He told the recent story of two candidates, one with a first from Oxford , the other with a 2:1 from non-Oxbridge. But the skills that the non-Oxbridge candidate had, enhanced by their Erasmus experience, swung them the job.
Speeches over, we then got on with the fun bit – eating the cake!