Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), the wheels were set in motion for numerous changes, especially in the education sector.
Among the questions asked in the early days post-Brexit was: how will the Erasmus program be affected?
Established in 1987, the Erasmus program is a popular student exchange program that allows students from EU countries to study in other countries within the EU.
Since its inception, more than two million students have benefited from the EU-funded grants to study across 27 countries.
However, speaking to The Guardian, the program’s UK director, Ruth Sinclair-Jones revealed that UK students’ participation in the program was “uncertain” after 2017.
“We face a sad moment of uncertainty, after 30 years of this enrichment of so many lives,” she said, adding that 98 percent of participating students reported having “hugely benefited” from their time in Europe.
British students are at risk of being excluded from Erasmus. https://t.co/qSY9CMgHfG
— The Daily Touch (@TheDailyTouch) July 25, 2016
While those who are currently in the scheme or applying for next year should not be affected, Sinclair-Jones said that “in the long term, it’s an unknown situation. We will continue with our plans until 2017, but after that we have to wait.”
The British founder of the Erasmus program, Dr. Hywel Ceri Jones, shared his distress over the news: “I feel bereaved by Brexit and if it leads to the end of freedom of movement and exclusion of the UK from Erasmus, this would be devastating.”
Fearing the loss of opportunities through the Erasmus program, a petition has been set up asking for the UK government to “make the Erasmus scheme a vital part of the renegotiations with the EU“.
On Twitter, many had the same reaction … Here are some of the tweets we’ve come across:
— Joel Benjamin (@Gian_TCatt) July 25, 2016
Just as we said. This would be a huge loss. British students could be excluded from Erasmus scheme after Brexit https://t.co/hI0sb6xjfZ
— Terry Lamb (@DrTerryLamb) July 25, 2016
Erasmus likely to be cut for British students. The very lifeblood of Europe for many young students. https://t.co/73iyFbzLAE
— Jessica Reed (@GuardianJessica) July 23, 2016
— Tom Parry (@ParryTom) July 25, 2016
— LeanneWood (@LeanneWood) July 24, 2016
— Phil W. Bayles (@philwbayles) July 23, 2016
As a scholar based in modern languages & having personally benefitted from Erasmus, this is really concerning https://t.co/2iuAqp1OQ6
— Dr F Noble (@FionaFNoble) July 23, 2016
If ERASMUS is killed by Brexit I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’ve had so many wonderful students on this scheme I can’t imagine life without it
— Prof. Lee Cronin (@leecronin) July 23, 2016
My daughter is benefiting from the Erasmus scheme right now but my two younger children may never get the chance. https://t.co/D3IBQqwzo7
— Stephanie Burgess (@StephFBurgess) July 25, 2016
ERASMUS made my uni experience. We need to keep the European university exchange system alive https://t.co/tKLfLKFOau
— Jasmine Andersson (@the__chez) July 25, 2016
Image via Flickr