The Erasmus programme is named after the 16th century humanist and theologian, Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus addresses the teaching and learning needs of those in formal higher education, up to and including doctoral studies. It provides study grants to students and pays their fees in a university abroad. In addition, Erasmus provides important support to institutions, supports the development of a European Higher Eduction Area, and reinforces the contribution of higher education and advanced vocational education to the process of innovation.
The priorities that have been identified for Erasmus during the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013 include: mobility, multilateral projects and thematic networks.
Giving students the opportunity to study abroad has two benefits: support for students, and actions to make higher education institutions “mobility ready” by, for example, taking language issues into account or enabling students going to another country to take preparatory courses. Erasmus Intensive Language Courses
Erasmus supports curriculum development projects (for example, making curricula more flexible and linguistically diverse) and projects allowing higher education institutions to exchange good practice. In addition, Erasmus supports projects that actively contribute to the European Higher Education Area, by dealing, for example, with exchange of good practice between universities in terms of modernisation and internal governance strategies.
These projects enable educationalists to co-operate in practical terms, and to promote teaching and research synergies in different study areas.
Erasmus is managed on different levels. For students interested in studying abroad, and for teaching staff wishing to take advantage of Erasmus opportunities, the first port of call will be the Erasmus office at their home university.