The added value of Erasmus+ traineeships – University of Copenhagen

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03 September 2017

The added value of Erasmus+ traineeships


With the number of students doing Erasmus+ traineeships having more than doubled, students are realising the benefit of the ‘stagiaire’ part of the Erasmus+ programme.

Student exchanges are an established part of academic experiences for many students. Traineeships, on the other hand, have only just recently become so. The numbers of UCPH students doing Erasmus+ traineeships have seen a recent surge: with 37 students abroad in the academic years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, the numbers more than doubled to 95 students in the years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017.

At UCPH, visiting Eramus+ trainees are mainly applying to the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Science. Photo by Lennart Søgård-Høyer

The value of a traineeship

The Erasmus+ Programme attaches the same level of importance to traineeships as it does to student exchanges. Traineeships provide an opportunity to create synergies between academic and professional experiences, while creating value for both the trainee and the company. One UCPH student explains that the greatest reward is the jump from academia to practice, using both while immersing in a foreign context. Different methods, different cultures and different languages – but in a setting where the student can apply his acquired knowledge.

Diverse destinations

Another thing that is different is the traineeships themselves. While universities – with all their differences – tend to be somewhat the same, this is not the case with companies. Traineeships are scattered across the continent in vastly different businesses. Destinations include your conventional organisations such as embassies, trade unions and business confederations; but also Jane Austen festivals, ship-owners’ associations or clinics for small animals.

A world of opportunities with an Erasmus traineeship

Malou Solfjeld during her stay in Mallorca

Malou Solfjeld is doing her Master’s degree in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Humanities at UCPH. In the autumn semester of 2016, she did an Erasmus traineeship at CCA Andratx - the largest centre of contemporary art on Mallorca, Spain. After ending her traineeship, Malou had the opportunity to stay and write her master’s thesis. She also did many academic projects such as initiating cooperation with the University of the Balearic Islands about how the physical framework affects the spectators. For the moment, Malou is focusing on her thesis, but she has talked to the owners of the centre about permanent employment once she has handed it in: “All this through my Erasmus traineeship – I’m very happy and thankful.”

Traineeships at UCPH

The University of Copenhagen as a place for Erasmus+ trainees has also seen a growing interest during recent academic years. The number of trainees coming to UCPH has increased from 47 in 2013/2014 and 66 in 2014/2015 to 96 in 2015/2016 and 113 in 2016/2017. Erasmus trainees are mainly applying to the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the Faculty of Science. 96 percent of all Erasmus trainees enrolled at UCPH do their training at one of these two faculties.

Tom Vosch is a lecturer at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen where he is head of a group studying Nanospectroscopy. During the last few academic years Tom has received a number of Erasmus traineeships in his lab and has had good experiences with them. “Since they come for a limited time, they are very motivated and focused. They integrate well with the other people in the research groupMost likely since they are motivated and are interested to learn new things and to experience a new environment”, Tom says.

A gateway to new possibilities

Tom experiences that several of the Erasmus+ Trainees continue their education and research at UCPH after their stay. The traineeship allows for trying out some first experiments of ideas that could be developed for a longer project like a master thesis or a PhD project. “Some of the results obtained by the Erasmus students also lead to publications which is both beneficial for the students and my research group. Overall I had a good experience with the Erasmus Trainee program,” Tom ends.