The 2014/15 Erasmus+ time is approaching. Only fewer than 4 weeks are left. Excitement is growing, stress levels may be rising but we need to focus and figure out how to organize our remaining weeks: informing our bank that we are going abroad for 1, 2 semesters, freezing our phone contract, renting out our room, making sure we’ll have access to the account on which we’ll receive the mobility aid etc.
As with all things EU, the Erasmus+ program is both amazing and frustrating. It allows us to travel and study without any tuition but in order for the exchange to be a success, we need to work our way through a bureaucratic monster pile of documents, contracts & agreements. Or so I’ve heard. I have been living in Germany for the past 4 years and maybe that’s why the Erasmus procedure doesn’t frighten me. I’ve seen way worse. Just try applying for the federal aid ”Bafög” and then, if you still want to complain about Erasmus, …okay, then I’ll buy you a beer.
I hope the following checklist will be of some help to future Erasmus+ students.
Erasmus+ checklist #1
August (1 month before the exchange)
- (preliminary) Learning Agreement – signed by your home university & by the one you will be visiting (write them an email and see if just scanning the doc will do the job. It worked with the NUIG and I received my stamp and signature within 10 minutes of sending the file.) After all parties have signed the agreement, you will need to send it to the Erasmus+ coordinator of your home uni. This task you will have, ideally, done already in May.
- Application Form – the uni you’ll be attending will send you an email with this form/ or a link to it /. Print it, fill it out + sign (or whatever they require, e.g. signature of home uni Erasmus coordinator) and send it back to them. Keep an eye on the deadline they’ve mentioned. In my case the deadline was the end of May. I suppose September is the deadline for those going abroad during the summer semester but every uni may vary a bit in their procedures. Always read their mails thoroughly.
- Erasmus+ Acceptance Mail – if you’ve sent your application in May (in my case they requested I send it via post and I suppose many colleges still require such applications to be sent the old fashioned way) then expect the confirmation mail about a month later. I received mine on June 23rd. “Your application has been approved, and you will be admitted as a Full Year Erasmus student in the 2014/15 academic session.” – great stuff, thank you international office of my new temporary university, you rock! Again, read their mail thoroughly. They may request some additional information regarding your home address, for example. They’ll probably give you a link to the news page for incoming exchange students. My advice: bookmark it and check occasionally, so that you do not miss out on any important information. ( On that note, I am still waiting for their course schedule. Dresden’s University of Technology, which is my home university, already has that information on their website, while my Erasmus+ uni, NUIG, does not. I find it a bit odd, since the NUIG’s academic year begins a whole month before that of the TUD. Oh well, I might have to deal with the fact that the expediency of (some) German institutions has spoiled me. )
- Student Accommodation – if you want to live in dorms, apply as soon as you receive the confirmation mail. In some cases it is possible to apply even before you’ve been officially accepted & if you get rejected, they’ll pay you back the deposit. It is, however, of great importance that you send your application as early as possible. Places get filled fast! The really good ones go first. But you can always find a flat share online. Join Facebook groups, for instance, ”house/flat sharing + *name of city*” or look for sites which offer a platform for those kind of things. For Ireland I’d suggest daft.ie & for Germany, wg-gesucht.de
- Mobility aid contract – depending on the pace with which your home university deals with bureaucracy, you could get the Erasmus+ mobility aid contract anytime between the beginning of July and mid-August (Is the end of August also possible? I hope not. That would be too late since you might already be abroad. ) I received my contract on July 15. You might also get an email informing you that the contract has been sent your way and that you’ll have to sign it and send it back asap. I would recommend making a copy of the contract after you’ve signed it and taking it with you.
- other relevant docs – if you don’t study in an English speaking country it might be best to bring translated copies of some documents, e.g. bachelor diploma if you’re already doing your master’s. Some universities offer free translation services for their students. Try to find if that’s the case with your home uni before looking for outside translation companies.
This is all I have managed to assemble so far. I expect that there is more. And yes, once you have arrived in your new country and visited the international office of your new uni, you will be confronted with more documents! Expect another checklist from me when that time arrives – so, in about a month. Enjoy your last weeks at home & stay awesome!
Have I forgotten something? Please, write me a comment and I will look into it.