So many times considered and participated in a discussion of whether it is worth to study abroad on Erasmus program, but every single time it was on a theoretical opinion level. Recently published The Erasmus Impact Study reveals some measurable quantitative and qualitative figures. Lets discuss them.
“Former Erasmus students are half as likely to experience long term unemployment compared to those that do not go abroad. The unemployment rate of Erasmus students five years after graduation is 23% lower.” Given the results are well measured, this is a very significant outcome. This makes sense when we look at another outcome: “64% of employers think international experience is important for recruitment (a change from 37% in 2006)”. Even though international experience criteria probably does not play that important role in practice, the tendency is undeniable – international study experience is seen as more valuable and in fact enhances chances of finding a job.
“On average 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills such as openness to and curiosity about new challenges, problem-solving and decision-making skills, confidence, tolerance towards other personal values and behaviours. Based on Erasmus students personality traits, they have better a better predisposition for employability even before going abroad. By the time they return they have increased their advantage by 42% on average. While 81% of Erasmus students perceive an improvement in their transversal skills when they come back, 52% show higher memo© factors. In all cases, they consider the improvement of skills to be greater than they expected before going abroad.” This conclusion is another confirmation of benefits studying abroad.
“40% Erasmus students have changed their country of residence or work at least once since graduation, almost double the number of those who were not mobile during studies. While 93% of students with international experience can imagine living abroad in the future, this is the case for only 73% of those who stay in the same country during their studies. 33% of former Erasmus students have a partner of a different nationality, compared with 13% of those who stay home during their studies; 27% of Erasmus students meet their long-term partner while on Erasmus”. These findings clearly illustrate how multidimensional the study experience abroad is. This is why European Commission seeks to increase the number of Erasmus students from 5% to 20% by 2020.
Unfortunately, i am among the 5%, who have not used the Erasmus student exchange possibility. Even though I applied to the program twice (in both bachelor and master degree’s), both times i was rejected due to a surprising reason – the lack of motivation! My grades were good enough and sometimes on the top of the class, but somehow the motivation letter was never graded well. Not sure how i could not be not motivated, if study abroad was my dream, which subsequently turned into the decision to leave the country for a full study abroad. The selection system in Economics Faculty at Vilnius University was clearly not well balanced and needs to be improved, but lets leave this and other undercurrents and instead – focus on positive movements. I went to study to Copenhagen Business School and from there i participated in the international student exchange program in Shanghai, China.
I was always convinced that studying abroad in Erasmus program is beneficial and had to convince / support several friends to use the possibility. The ones who are opposed in the beginning tend to change their opinion after the experience and even though some people might be unhappy and disappointed, i believe that experience was still valuable.