Studying abroad is something that is nowadays completely normal for European students. Thanks to the Erasmus Programme it has never been so easy for students on the European continent to study several semesters at a foreign university. A few days ago the Erasmus Programme celebrated its 30th anniversary. It is not only the worldwide biggest development programme for study visits abroad, but also one of the promising projects of the European Union. But what makes the Erasmus Programme so attractive for European students? The advantage of Erasmus lies in its straightforwardness. The programme is cut on the needs by students. It is reasonable, it is unbureaucratic, the expenditure before and after the stay abroad is limited to a minimum and what is vital, achievements at the guest university can be recognized at the home university.
In times of the crisis of the EU, whether by the Brexit or the disagreement of the European states, many hope for the “Generation Erasmus“ which provides the advantages of a European community of states. However, is it not exactly that what we also need for the transatlantic relation which is to be changed also just in the concept because American and European interests break up? What we need, is a young generation which becomes clear the meaning and the importance of the transatlantic relation. However, for this it is indispensable that we get to know the way of thinking, the culture and the relations, and that in a life phase in one is open for new. A stay abroad during the study can make moreover an important contribution. Nevertheless, on this occasion, the stay abroad should limit itself not only to the study. Rather the economic, political and cultural peculiarities of the host country and the relations of both countries should also be given to each other. A study abroad helps not only to get to know another language or culture, but also, to stand out by additional qualifications. For a strong transatlantic relation it needs certified citizens who have gained their own experience with the in each case other country and know where the strengths and weaknesses in a cooperation lie. The future in a new transatlantic society lies in the hand of young Americans and Europeans who, inspired by their own experiences with the other country, are determined to develop the transatlantic relation at political, economic and cultural level.
However, a study in the USA is still unattractive for many young Germans. The high tuition fees at American colleges are not portable for many. Hence, it is worthwhile mostly only one complete study in the USA to finish, just because single study achievements are not recognized. And then there comes the high bureaucratic expenditure: one must look himself after registration, visa applications, aid programmes etc. This is why most European students choose the substantially easier way of a stay abroad at a European university. However, how can one make the USA for young Europeans and Europe for young Americans in the study attractive? The solution lies in an aid programme, that allowes study trips between the USA and Europe according to the model of the Erasmus Programme. The quintessential points, how one can make a study abroad attractively are the following:
1. The recognition of achievements at the home university
Many students decide with awareness to study only 1-2 semesters at a foreign university. However, the expenditure must stand in proportion to its use. The recognition of qualifications makes a stay abroad substantially more attractive.
2. Study in English
If one studies only few semesters it is hardly possible to learn a foreign language. Nowadays almost every student speaks English. Therefore the offer of lectures held in English must be developed, so that the linguistic barrier is not too big. This should not keep students from learning the language oft he guest country by support of linguistic courses.
3. Low financial expenditure
For many students the expense factor is a determining point. Tuition fees and other contributions must keep in a frame which is portable for every student.
4. Low bureaucratic expenditure
The bureaucratic expenditure should keep itself low like in the Erasmus Programme. On this occasion, above all the participating universities should be supporting the students with the registration, visas, application for scholarships etc.
The financing of such an aid programme can function like the Erasmus Programme. The participating countries make a financial contribution measured in the number of their participating universities and students. Another possibility would be, to expand the Erasmus Programme on the USA.
A study programme which allows that American and European students study at a guest university and get to know the other country is able to do a huge contribution that the transatlantic relation is improved by a better understanding of the other country, by friendship and by sensitization of young people.