A disappointing Christmas present for many British students to unwrap: Erasmus exchanges for students from the United Kingdom will no longer be possible.

The British government and European Union announced the cancellation of the reciprocal program today after failing to agree on the cost of an Erasmus membership. The UK decided not to participate in the program instead of continuing negotiations further.

It’s a harsh blow for the 15,000 British students who go on a student exchange to EU Member States each year. It’s also a hit for residents of the EU: the UK was — up until last year — the most-chosen Erasmus destination for European students.

Cultural vandalism

In response, Scottish Prime Minister and Brexit critic Nicola Sturgeon called the failure to reach a deal “cultural vandalism”. She argues that it will deprive young people of opportunities.

The Erasmus program is one of the most popular study abroad programs since conceived in 1987. The program encourages students to undertake one to two semesters of study or an internship in a different EU Member State. Erasmus was, ironically, formulated in Sussex in the UK.

A new program

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously promised that the UK would remain part of the Erasmus program, but has since backtracked. He claims that the UK would be at a financial disadvantage if it remained part of the program because more European students would want to study in the UK than vice versa.

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The British prime minister is now proposing a program of his own, although the details are unclear. However, Johnson has promised that it will have agreements with “the best universities in the world.”

Did you complete an Erasmus exchange? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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3 COMMENTS

  1. My Erasmus year at Newcastle upon-Tyne was simply the beginning of my academic career. I remember thise months with much happiness and nostalgia

  2. gov.uk does not appear to have any information about the proposed Turing scheme. Although its global vision is laudable, surely it would have been better to have an initial pilot scheme in place before withdrawing from Erasmus. Or maybe there’s leeway because colleges and universities throughout Europe won’t be opening until the covid all-clear is given.

  3. A fabulous Erasmus exchange to Utrecht where I made lifelong friends from all over Europe and fell in love with the Netherlands. So disappointed about this and how it effects future students. We should be encouraging more UK students to take part in such a scheme!

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