Brexit causing chaos for this years? UK expat Erasmus students

Brexit causing chaos for this years? UK expat Erasmus students

Brexit causing chaos for this years? UK expat Erasmus students

Whatever happens now as regards Brexit, this year’s crop of Erasmus students are facing uncertainty.

British Erasmus students already studying at European universities have been let off the hook by the EU’s guarantee of funding in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It’s also prepared to support European students studying in British universities via the Erasmus-student exchange programme. However, for UK students planning to leave for their chosen European unis late this August, the education dream is fast turning into a nightmare.

Alice Watkins, a student at Manchester University, is planning to arrive in Paris to continue her language studies for a year before moving to Madrid for a further year. She’s been told she must take at least £1,200 with her to cover finding accommodation and living for six weeks, but she’s rightly concerned about arriving in the city without pre-arranged accommodation. Some 17,000 British students should be enrolling at foreign universities this September, but the British government hasn’t as yet promised financial support. Over the past several weeks, Norway and Spain have advised their Erasmus students planning to come to the UK to find other placings within the EU.

Watkins’s degree is in French and Spanish and, like many others on language courses, she believes two years’ studying whilst living in Europe is a crucial part of her degree course. She told reporters she and her age-group are those who’ll live and work overseas in the future, pointing out she was too young to vote in the 2016 referendum and adding it’s her future and that of her generation which is at stake.

Another problem for expat Erasmus students is healthcare, as British students already in Europe may well be left without insurance when the EU health card is de-activated post Brexit. Should May’s pleas for a three-month Brexit extension be granted some time next week, the threat of a no-deal Brexit will have been kicked down the road for three months, but it won’t help UK Erasmus students desperate to become expats and get on with their studies as planned.

Erasmus graduates tend to outperform their contemporaries both in the classroom and, more importantly, in the jobs market as they’ve already had experience of living overseas as an expat. Research has shown the skill sets obtained by this form of degree education will be needed in the future as the world gets smaller due to communication and ease of travel. Denying this chance to talented young people who had no chance to vote for their own futures would be one of the real disasters of a no-deal exit from Europe.

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