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.
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.
There will be lots of focus – rightly – on the economic costs of Brexit. But ending UK participation in Erasmus – an initiative that has expanded opportunities and horizons for so many young people – is cultural vandalism by the UK government. https://t.co/sOxpcCWq5z
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 24, 2020
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.
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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