ERASMUS is the EU's flagship education and training programme enabling 200,000 students to study and work abroad each year.
In addition, it funds co-operation between higher education institutions across Europe. The programme not only supports students, but also professors and business staff who want to teach abroad, as well as helping university staff to receive training.
Ireland has participated in the programme from its establishment in 1987 and up to 28,000 students from this country have undertaken mobility periods to date. Many studies show that a period spent abroad not only enriches students' lives in the academic and professional fields, but can also improve language learning, intercultural skills, self-reliance and self-awareness.
Their experiences give students a better sense of what it means to be a European citizen. In addition, many employers highly value such a period abroad, which increases the students' employability and job prospects.
Staff exchanges have similar beneficial effects, both for the people participating and for the home and host institutions.