young woman waiting for a train at night
© Eldar Nurkovic

European Erasmus Exchange for international students

Not only Europeans can make use of the famous European exchange program „Erasmus“. Any international student enrolled at a university can participate.

Foreign students in Baden-Württemberg from Non-EU countries might think that the European Erasmus Exchange Program is only for Europeans. However, it’s open to any student enrolled at a university in Baden-Württemberg. International students at universities in the German Southwest make actual use of the exchange opportunity. This is also the case at Heidelberg University:

“In the coming academic year, 781 Heidelberg students will go abroad in Europe within the framework of the Erasmus program. 34 of them have a citizenship other than German. In addition to the Erasmus program, all Heidelberg students can apply for study places available in ‘exchange programs worldwide’, which are based on agreements between Heidelberg University and partner universities outside Europe. In these programs citizenship is also irrelevant, what matters is enrolment at our university”, explains Nicole Dorn from the International Relations Division.

Benefits of doing an Erasmus Exchange Semester

But what makes an exchange semester so attractive? Studying at another European university expands the social and cultural skills of the students and improves their career prospects. Moreover, the Eramus Exchange Semester is funded. The monthly funding rate depends thereby on the chosen country. As part of the Erasmus+ program, students and graduates can also do internships at companies or organizations in other European countries and gain valuable work experience.

Planning made easy thanks to the international relations offices

Of course, an exchange semester requires planning and effort, but the international relations departments at the Baden-Württemberg universities have all the information available and support interested students from application to finishing their exchange successfully. Depending on the size of the university, students can apply to do the exchange semester at the European partner university directly through the international relations department (sometimes also called office of international affairs) or through the Erasmus Coordinator of their study course’s faculty. Of course, bigger universities have more partnerships than smaller ones. The University of Stuttgart for example, which is part of the TU9 Alliance of leading Universities of Technology in Germany, maintains partnership agreements within the Erasmus+ program with about 250 universities in 29 European countries.

One who took full advantage of the Erasmus exchange opportunity at the University of Stuttgart is Ghayathri Suriyamoorthy from India. As an international student of the Master Program in Electrical Engineering, she spent one Erasmus semester at Linköping University in Sweden. Her motivation? „I believe I am a citizen of the world and I find great comfort in travelling to other countries and experiencing their culture. It is essential for me to expand my horizon and gain a balanced view of the world. I wanted to make the most of it during my stay in Europe. Therefore, I leapt at the opportunity to do a semester abroad“, she says. To read about her full experience and how she managed to do the exchange semester despite of the Corona pandemic, go here.

Author: Leonie Rörich