The international dimension of Erasmus+ – University of Copenhagen

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24 April 2017

The international dimension of Erasmus+

As the intra-European exchange programme, Erasmus+, celebrates its 30-year anniversary, its international component is still expanding. In 2017, the University of Copenhagen applied for more than € 320,000, hoping to add 7 countries to our portfolio of Erasmus partners within the International Dimension.

From its humble beginnings in the late ‘80s, the Erasmus programme has grown ever larger; from 11 participating countries in 1987 to virtually covering the entire globe in 2017. The latest component, the international dimension, was added in 2015. The University of Copenhagen has participated from the beginning and has recently completed the application for 2017. The mix of partner countries is diverse and includes Australia, Canada, Chile, Jordan, Palestine, Russia and Serbia – and most of the agreements are comprehensive, covering the entire university.

Diversifying selection
The international dimension of the Erasmus+ programme offers opportunities that the intra-European part of the programme does not. Firstly, it opens up parts of the world that are not necessarily accessible through regular exchange agreements, often due to financial aspects. Providing both ingoing and outgoing students with generous grants, the programme enables a more diverse cohort of students to participate in exchange programmes.

We need to go deeper
Secondly, the programme offers a strategic aspect and an opportunity to deepen existing agreements. As many others, UCPH continuously scrutinises its agreements on parameters such as level of activity, academic ability and strategic relevancy. Universities that hold up to all these factors can be deemed strategic “super-partners” and this year, UCPH applied for grants for exchanges with two of these: the University of Sydney and the University of Toronto.

Deepening...and widening
Combined, UCPH exchanges roughly 75 students with the University of Sydney and the University of Toronto each year – and each way. As such, applying for Erasmus+ is not necessarily an attempt to simply add more students, but also to increase the diversity of the exchange, for instance by including students with special needs or students with limited means. Both applications furthermore encompass administrative staff exchanges, which we hope will ensure that the impact of the project transcends the individual participants and becomes rooted in the two institutions and beyond.