Changes as a consequence of the UK's departure from the EU mean that present and future generations of students could have less access to international study and work opportunities.
Here at the University of Exeter, we are committed to ensuring international learning experiences for as many students as possible. We have a long history of facilitating our students to work and study abroad, as well as welcoming students to our campuses as part of exchange agreements. Understanding difference and embracing diversity are crucial to both personal growth and building community.
We know how valuable it is to undertake a whole range of international learning opportunities, from short-term work placements and semesters spent at partner institutions to degrees with compulsory years abroad (such as Modern Languages or Law with European Study). Studying or working abroad boosts students’ confidence, enhances their CVs and enables them to develop graduate-level skills and global employability competencies that so many employers are looking for.
To be able to immerse yourself within another culture, improve language skills, be given the chance to make lifelong friends, forge valuable career connections and develop a wide range of life-skills is truly life-changing for so many.
Hear from Beccy Allen (Politics and Spanish, 2006) on what it meant to her:
why we are fundraising
Our withdrawal from the Erasmus scheme is likely to affect many students, but will particularly impact disadvantaged students, and those from low-income backgrounds. The Erasmus scheme provided students with financial bursaries, contributing towards their living costs and providing an element of security – allowing students to make bold decisions about their options. Whilst it didn’t cover all costs, it certainly went a long way in helping students and removing some of the financial barriers to participating in the programme.
The new Turing Scheme (designed to replace Erasmus) is likely to be less generous, leaving a shortfall of approximately £1000 per student and removing this safety net. It is also targeted towards short visits rather than extended stays. Unless action is taken there will no doubt be students who simply cannot participate due to cost, consequently restricting their life choices and career opportunities.
At Exeter, around 500 students per year have benefitted from Erasmus funding in the past. We do not want a student’s background or financial circumstances to limit their ability to experience such valuable learning opportunities.
In addition, the UK government have only committed to funding Turing for the 2021-22 academic year, hampering long-term planning and leaving an inherent vulnerability to changing political winds.
can you help?
It is our aim to set up a travel and subsistence fund to facilitate student study and work abroad and continue to offer these life-changing experiences. The fund will be used to support the general cost of living for students undertaking placements from four weeks to 12 months in duration. The amount awarded to each student will vary according to the destination country and/or work sector.
Destination countries will be grouped into three categories: high, medium and low. Grants will be awarded as follows:
- Placements of 4 to 8 weeks: Group 1 destinations £136 per week
- Placements of 4 to 8 weeks: Group 2 and 3 destinations £120 per week
- Placements over 8 weeks: Group 1 destinations £380 per month
- Placements over 8 weeks: Group 2 and 3 destinations £335 per month
These grants will be in addition to any student finance participants may already qualify for.
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive a higher cost of living grant, of either £490 (group 1) or £445 (groups 2 and 3) per week. They will also receive financial assistance towards travel costs, as well as receive actual costs for additional travel expenses, including costs of visas, passports, and health insurance.
make a donation today
All gifts, of every size, are appreciated – collectively they can be transformational. By making a donation today, you could allow a student to undertake an international placement and either work or study abroad, broadening their horizons and diversifying their skills and experiences.
"I would have never dreamed of moving abroad and doing a PhD, but being an Erasmus student showed me I could. It showed me how great the world was outside my 'little' niche. And that world helped me fulfil my dreams, ambition and potential.”
Eliana Maestri, Erasmus participant.