Nine things you didn’t know about Erasmus!

European Commission
3 min readJun 14, 2019


So you think, you know Erasmus very well? It is one of our most popular and loved initiatives, but here are nine things you might not know about it.

Erasmus+: Changing lives, Opening minds. 📷Photo sent to us by an Erasmus+ participant in the framework of our #MyErasmusPlus 2018 competition.

1. Started with only 3,244 students

The Erasmus programme was established in 1987 and is among the most popular EU programmes in education and training. During its first year, only 3,244 students went abroad and the programme involved only 11 countries — Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.

2. Now: ten million and counting

What started as a student exchange programme in 1987, has grown into something bigger and enriched the lives of more than 10 million direct participants. Each year, more than 300,000 students now study or train under the Erasmus+ umbrella.

3. What’s in a name? You might say so, but apparently a lot!

4. Erasmus impact

Recent studies have shown Erasmus+ enhances students’ quality of life and career prospects — both during their course abroad, and long after it finishes. The programme has been shown to drive innovation and social inclusion in higher education. Furthermore, it helps students discover what they want to do after their studies — making for a happier career!

There’s more — 80 per cent of Erasmus+ graduates are employed within three months of graduation, with 72 per cent stating their Erasmus+ experience helped them land their first job. Nearly half of Erasmus+ trainees were offered a job in the company where they trained.

5. Erasmus for your parents?

Erasmus is for all ages and for lifelong learning as well.

6. From Erasmus to Erasmus+

Earlier, Erasmus was focused only on student mobility. But Erasmus+ brings opportunities to all — students, staff, trainees, teachers, volunteers and more. It’s not just about Europe or Europeans either — with Erasmus+, people from all over the world can access opportunities.

7. What do these people have in common?

Samantha Cristoforetti ©European Union 2016 Source: EP
  • Samantha Cristoforetti, Astronaut at ESA, she holds quite a few spaceflight records and is the first person to brew coffee in space.
  • Salvador Sobral, Singer and the winner of the 2017 Eurovision contest
  • Tom Bird, Executive Producer, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London
  • Carlos Moedas, former EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

They are all Erasmus alumni.

8. A million (or more) Erasmus babies?

Former Erasmus students are more likely to have transnational relationships: 33% of former Erasmus students have a partner of a different nationality, compared with 13% of those who stay home during their studies; 27% of Erasmus students meet their long-term partner while on Erasmus. On this basis, the Commission estimated in 2014 that around one million babies are likely to have been born to Erasmus couples since 1987.

9. Erasmus for your pets?

We tried to get your pets🐶😸🐟 on board for Erasmus on a very special date this year. It didn’t go according to the plan but the results were too cute not to be shared.

Images © European Union

See more:



European Commission

Official Medium account of @EU_Commission | Stories, posts & articles about our work. Our social media policy:!dyJq74