LMU: Erasmus and Brexit: in search of solutions – India Education | Latest Education News India | Global education news
Being an Erasmus student is a real challenge: you have to navigate a new study environment and a new lifestyle, and you have to organize your studies and daily life in a foreign language. But above all, Erasmus is about exchange, experience and bonding. It is shaped by a certain ease of interaction, allowing people to study together and party together – at least under normal circumstances. Covid-19 has meant that much of what was still fairly natural in 2019 is only possible in greatly reduced and virtual forms or is not possible at all at the moment. âI find it difficult to get in touch with people through my lectures or seminars because there is little opportunity to talk to other students and get to know them. Yet I have met people from several different EU countries in online meetings. Travis Simpson of the University of Leeds is studying German and Mathematics at LMU. He chose Munich because of LMU’s good reputation; he also likes city life and the proximity of the mountains.
Elena Habelt also studies from home. âHere in London,â she said, âit’s all online. Only the libraries are open and you can use the study spaces. Habelt studies educational psychology, English and philosophy at King’s College and enjoys her studies despite the restrictions. Because even though Simpson and Habelt are not living a “normal” Erasmus program and had to cut back on their student life, they are still able to study abroad through the Erasmus program.
By the end of the winter semester 2022/23, the Erasmus project will have ended. After that, it will no longer be possible to extend Erasmus exchange agreements.
From now on, the possibility or not of a student exchange will depend on bilateral agreements between universities. âEven despite Brexit, we have always advised people to apply for a UK student exchange, especially in the hope that there will continue to be cooperation agreements with UK universities after they withdraw. Erasmus, âemphasizes Claudia Wernthaler, who advises graduating students from LMU’s international office.
British universities are very interested in continuing student exchanges.
TEACHER. DR. FRANCESCA BIAGINI
Professor Francesca Biagini, Vice President of International Affairs and Diversity at LMU, also sees a good chance of this happening: âUK universities are very interested in continuing student exchanges,â she said. It is quite conceivable, for example, that existing research collaborations at LMU could be extended to include exchange modules. Discussions are ongoing, says Biagini.
And Jean Schleiss, deputy director of the international office, talks about the university’s LMUexchange program, which currently encourages studies in LMU partner universities mainly beyond European borders. There is every chance that this exchange program could be extended to include collaborations with UK universities.
âHowever, UK universities are still waiting to see what happens with Turing’s program in UK. Funding for the new program has been secured for one year at this stage. Where it will go from there remains to be determined. âThe program, set up by the UK government to replace Erasmus and named after renowned mathematician Alan Turing, is designed to enable young UK students to study abroad. The UK government will not fund not German students who wish to study abroad in the UK So this is exclusively a program to support UK students. Travis Simpson from Leeds is quite critical of the program: “The replacement program doesn It’s not supposed to be as “expensive” as Erasmus, because it was the financial cost that was the reason we gave up. ” What that means, he says, is that many of the grants won’t be as much as people actually need.
The question of the cost of studying abroad
And what about German students who want to go to UK – what do they do? The country is, after all, one of the most popular study destinations, alongside Spain. Intensive efforts are underway to enable interested students to study in the British Isles. Students of English, for example, must in fact be able to prove that they have spent time in an exchange.
The sticking point will be the cost. Under the Erasmus agreement, participants are exempt from paying tuition fees. This is a major advantage in the case of the UK, as tuition fees are generally very high there. In addition to the fee waiver, the scheme pays a subsidy of 450 euros per month. It’s not a lot, but it will certainly be scrapped in the future – at a time when the cost of living in the UK is rising. âI couldn’t afford to study in London without the scholarship,â explains Elena Habelt, who shares a small apartment in the British capital with her boyfriend, which they rent for 2,000 euros a month.
âEven if you get a place to study in an exchange program, you don’t have to pay tuition fees but you still have your living expenses,â confirms Jean Schleiss. âIn addition, you need a visa if you want to stay for a full academic year. It costs around 400 euros. In addition, says Jean Schleiss, herself from Scotland, you have to pay the NHS surcharge for health insurance, as well as the cost of language lessons. “You have to plan an additional budget of around 1000 euros for everything.” For students who are not so well off, this can be quite difficult.
But here, too, people are trying to find solutions – and quickly. LMU has its own scholarship called PROSALMU, funded by the German Academic Exchange Program (DAAD) and the Bavarian State Government. LMU students can apply if they organize their stay abroad themselves or go abroad via LMUexchange. “But whether or not you get a scholarship depends on the number of applicants,” as Claudia Wernthaler points out. So, you may have a place to study, in other words, you don’t have to pay the tuition fees, but you have to cover the remaining fees yourself.
The Erasmus program provides a very good help to study abroad – I benefit a lot from it. For many, it will be just too expensive now.
Sidney Garratt-Stanley, a history student at the University of Leeds, is convinced that far fewer German or European students will find their way into UK universities in the future. âThe Erasmus program provides a very good help to study abroad – I benefit a lot. For many, it will be just too expensive now, âhe says. “Brexit will make so many things more difficult – just look at the opportunity to travel across Europe, for example.”
Francesca Biagini also suspects that other countries will become more and more attractive to Erasmus students in the future – perhaps in Scandinavia, where LMU has good relations with many institutions. Nonetheless, it is clear to her that if UK universities are successful, European student exchanges will no longer be a thing of the past. “We just need to find good solutions, and I’m sure we’ll get there.”
The absence of students from other EU countries could have a significant impact on the higher education landscape in the UK. Indeed, British universities attach particular importance to their international character and are positioned accordingly. Almost a third of people working at UK universities come from abroad, many of them from Europe. In addition, UK universities benefit from significant EU funding for research and teaching through programs such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.
Consequently, the academic community does not have a very positive opinion of Brexit. âKing’s College is a very free-thinking university, and I haven’t met anyone there who supports Brexit,â says Elena Habelt. Travis Simpson is optimistic âthat UK universities can maintain their solid reputation. Brexit was not their choice and it would be unfair to lose their excellent global reputation because of it. I think UK and European universities will find a solution to be able to work effectively with each other. But the solution will never be better than the deal they had before. Isa Bojaj believes the pandemic has helped fuel nationalism – as evidenced by the vaccination situation – not only in the UK, but across Europe. He is particularly interested in the conflict surrounding this issue, as he studies political science and international relations at the University of Exeter. “I think the so-called vaccinationalism was partly behind each country thinking only of its own borders.” But he suspects that Brexit could be one of the reasons for the successful rollout of vaccination in his home country. Bojaj is very surprised at the fluidity of the EU split despite the circumstances. Still, his family being of Albanian descent and also having parents in Stuttgart and Frankfurt, he is also a bit disappointed. “I appreciate the cultural and economic platform offered by the EU.” He says he is all the more happy to have been “one of the last” to have the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus program.