Nowadays, one of the strongest assets a professional profile can have is international experience. In the case of recent graduates, the main way to acquire the professional expertise they lack is through learning or traineeship periods abroad like those offered by the Erasmus programme.
Whether you’re already a graduate who enjoyed an Erasmus exchange or someone who’s thinking about finishing studies with this international experience, being aware of the Erasmus programme benefits will bring to your professional future surely will come in handy.
What is the Erasmus programme?
The European Region Action Scheme for The Mobility of University Students, or Erasmus, came into action in 1987. The programme -whose official designation since 2015 is Erasmus+– allows degree, master’s degree or doctoral students to spend academic or traineeship periods abroad of between 3 and 12 months per cycle. Students can choose any of the 27 member states of the European Union, albeit there are other foreign countries, such as Switzerland or Iceland, joining in the initiative as well.
The Erasmus programme is not exclusive to students, it’s also available for professors and other higher education-related professionals.
In order for the Erasmus programme to be really universal regardless students’ budget, each country grants scholarships every year. In the case of Spain, economic assistance includes a 700 € monthly allowance and travel expenses up to 1 500 € depending on the destination.
In which way does an Erasmus grant benefit you?
The European Commission recently published a study showing, with objective data, the great impact an Erasmus+ grant has on the professional success of students. 47 000 students, 12 000 recent graduates and around 10 000 employees were interviewed about their experiences with the programme before entering the labour market, and the conclusions drawn were the following:
- More than 70% of ex Erasmus students interviewed acknowledge that after coming back to their home countries they had a much clearer vision of where to lead their career path. In fact, many of them adjust their study plan to suit their aspirations better.
- 80% of students who enjoyed the experience found a job during the three months after they graduated.
- For 72% of them, being a former Erasmus student was crucial to get their first job.
- 9 out of 10 employees claim that the professional skills acquired during their Erasmus period are being put to use in their everyday duties.
- Former Erasmus students are more satisfied with their job than their peers.
- Erasmus students, more often than not, develop their career internationally: they have almost double the chances to work abroad.
These numbers make European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsiscs claim that: “Erasmus+ graduates are more willing to take new challenges and have better career prospects”.
You’ll also like to know that graduates with this international experience in their bag have a greater chance of employability than 70% of university students as a whole. Or that the unemployment rate of Erasmus students is 23% lower, and 70% of those who opted for this programme hold, a decade after, an executive position in their companies.
And here you have another interesting fact: in the last four years, job opportunities for graduates with Erasmus experience have increased by 133% in Spain.
The key to professional success
If you’re one of those who think that knowledge of a foreign language is the reason why an Erasmus+ programme opens up the doors of a company more easily, think again. The language thing is taken for granted. What makes candidates with international experience attractive is, primarily, the professional skills they learned or developed during their stay in other countries.
Even the European Commission acknowledges it: “Erasmus+ tackles the inadequacy of skills by focusing on the development of demanded interpersonal and cross-disciplinary skills”.
Among the skills acquired and developed by Erasmus students that are a magnet for organizations, we can find the following:
- Self-government and good predisposition to change, as well as stepping out of the comfort zone.
- Greater degree of maturity and responsibility.
- Greater communication and social skills.
- Higher problem-solving capacity in complex situations.
- Higher degree of self-control and discipline.
- Great ability to work in international and multi-cultural teams.
- Greater empathy towards the rest of people within their professional environment.
- Wider global vision.
The demand for professionals with an Erasmus profile is so high that, for some time now, companies have been make use of several platforms to access directly to Erasmus candidate curriculum databases. Large companies from diverse sectors resort to Recruiting Erasmus, for instance, to attract talent.
As you can see, there’s plenty of reasons to make up your mind and do an Erasmus exchange programme, and if you are a recent graduate who already went through that international experience you should be optimistic. Erasmus programme is, without exaggeration, a golden opportunity to expand your personal and professional horizons.
Sources: ABC, European Commission, SEPIE, El País, and European Union