Europe as Your College Campus: Erasmus+

First day of class in Malta. No joke.

If there’s anything that can top attending some of the best universities in Europe — it’s a generous scholarship to do it. I am so grateful and fortunate to be an alumna of Erasmus+ with a Joint Masters Degree in Education Policies for Global Development (or GLOBED) from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of Oslo and the University of Malta. In conjunction with a semester at the University of Amsterdam, the experiences I had will last me a lifetime and would make a fantastic reboot of L’ Auberge Espagnole (but instead of montages with phone message boards and cheesy 90’s dance music, we’ve got WhatsApp groups and food. Lots and lots of food*).

*there’s so much food, you can even study it through Erasmus+

Erasmus+ is one of the most amazing things you might not have heard of. It’s technically called a mobility program but think of it as the Amazing Race of study abroad. As a postgrad, you’re enrolled as a student in two to five universities around Europe throughout your degree. You spend one or more semesters in a different country studying with your Erasmus+ cohort from around the world in addition to the local students at that university. Depending on your program’s structure, you can also choose to spend a semester outside of the EU conducting fieldwork or attending lectures. Through the European Commission, I did my fieldwork in Rwanda and also got to help on a multi-country study about teachers and peace-building with some VIPs (very incredible professors) at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education. Keeping up with the GLOBEDians in the last semester required some executive level time management as we were each finishing our final projects in Myanmar, the Netherlands, Liberia, Argentina and beyond! I’m thrilled to now be working with the IDP Foundation, Inc. — a Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to encouraging and supporting the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to complex global issues. I‘m helping to improve access to quality education in Ghana through their keystone initiative, the IDP Rising Schools Program. It’s fantastic to be able to take the classroom and fieldwork experience I gained from Erasmus+ and support their partnerships with Sesame Workshop as well as with schools around the region.

At this point, it’s not surprising that most participants say the greatest impacts of Erasmus+ are on intercultural competencies and your career and I couldn’t agree more. Through the mobility structure of GLOBED, we visited the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, picked the brains of United Nations staff, and participated in workshops with community leaders working on behalf of refugees in Malta. With additional opportunities to intern and attend conferences in Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, and dozens of other cities that are an hour’s flight away, we’ve all met countless new colleagues who’ve given us invaluable mentorship and advice.

Getting our diplomacy on at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

There are over a hundred Erasmus+ Joint Master Degrees available ranging from public policy (six different specializations!) and nuclear physics to tourism management (WINE TOURISM!!), economics, and communication. You can apply to three different programs if you have a wide range of interests you’d like to pursue. The application process is extremely straight forward: you submit your materials only to one university, it does not require GRE or GMAT scores, you are automatically considered for the scholarship with a simple declaration and by meeting the deadline, and in most cases it is completely free to apply! What do you have to lose? Did you hear… WINE TOURISM!!!!

Erasmus+ Chinese New Year in Amsterdam (left — photo & culinary credit: Lina Jiang) and Oslo (right)

While the scholarship selection process is very competitive, if accepted to your program of choice as a self-funded student, there are several financing options for tuition through the Federal Direct Loan program —which can be less than half the average costs of a postgrad degree in U.S — um, hello.

Go abroad and ‘Back to School’! Visit the European Commission’s website to learn more and apply for an Erasmus+ Joint Master’s Degree!

This story is part of the #EUatSchool series, showcasing the wide array of EU educational programs, grants, and competitions open to Americans. From Erasmus+ to Euro Challenge to Kids Euro Festival, each week we’ll publish new stories written by the high schoolers, college students, researchers, and educators who have experienced and benefitted from these programs first-hand. Find new stories on Medium each week.

An Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) is a prestigious, integrated, international study program that allows you to earn a joint master’s degree from two or more higher education institutions in Europe. EMJMDs are distinguished by their academic excellence and high level of integration between higher education institutions across countries. Full scholarships are awarded to the best student candidates each year. Learn more.