Within the scope of the Erasmus program, students in Turkish schools have been improving their knowledge and skills by visiting different European countries by making use of European Union funds. It is a very useful program. However, since Turkey cannot produce enough projects, it can only benefit from these funds at a rate of one third.
The Erasmus program was established in 1987 and is among the most popular EU programs in education and training. In its first year, only 3.244 students benefited from this program and participated in short-term education programs abroad. Again, only 11 countries were included in this program. These countries were Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK. Erasmus, which started as a student exchange program in 1987, has evolved into a larger organization and scholarship program. It has become richer with more than 10 million participants. Currently, 300,000 students can benefit from education and training opportunities abroad by taking advantage of this program every year. Recent research shows that Erasmus+ improves students’ quality of life and career prospects, both during their course abroad and long after they have finished. It is stated that the program promotes innovation and social mobility in higher education. It also helps students discover what they want to do after their studies. As a result, students can develop a better future program for themselves. Another study showed that 80% of Erasmus+ graduates were employed within three months of graduation. At the same time, 72% of students stated that their Erasmus+ experience helped them find their first job. On the other hand, about half of the Erasmus+ trainees were offered a job in the company where they were trained. Erasmus functions for all ages and also for lifelong learning.
It has programs suitable for almost all ages. Previously, Erasmus only focused on student mobility. But Erasmus+ offers opportunities to students, staff, trainees, teachers, volunteers and more. These opportunities are not just about Europe or Europeans. With Erasmus+, people from all over the world can benefit from opportunities. Former Erasmus students were more likely to have transnational ties: 33% of ex-Erasmus students have a partner with a different nationality. This rate is 13% of those who stayed at home during their education; 27% of Erasmus students meet their long-term partners on Erasmus. It does not seem very meaningful for students to be shy about benefiting from Erasmus programs. Language skills develop in a short time. They think that they will have difficulty in establishing a dialogue because they do not use it much in the country. However, with the basic knowledge they have in almost every country, they can improve their language, knowledge and skills in a short time. They don’t need to be afraid.
Prof. Dr. Harun Baytekin