Klaus Vedfelt

Flemish students gutted at UK withdrawal from Erasmus

VRT News has been inundated with responses to an appeal for reactions to Britain’s departure from the EU’s Erasmus exchange programme for European students. Former and current Flemish Erasmus exchange students are disappointed Flemish students will no longer be able to study in the UK with an Erasmus grant.  UK students won’t be able to apply for the grant to study in Flanders either.  It’s the end of an era.

Louise Verschueren is studying a Queen Mary University in London.  “It’s dreadful that European students won’t be able to repeat my experience of living and studying in a fantastic city like London.  It’s particularly galling for UK students.  They now can’t benefit from exchanges in any other European countries.”

Tijs Mampaey studied in Scotland, one of the UK nations that voted to stay in the EU.  “I studied applied linguistics but also met so many interesting people and have tremendous experiences. This is a lost opportunity for the UK.  You can study in the UK without an Erasmus grant, but it’s virtually unaffordable.”

Cindy Callens had a tremendous Erasmus experience: “I’ve always been in love with the UK.  When I got the opportunity to study there, I grasped it with both hands”.

Cindy’s Erasmus was such a success she had an opportunity to remain in England for a further four years.

Filip Batselé chose the UK because of the different, more interactive form of teaching in smaller groups: “Glasgow University is one of the oldest and finest in the world.  Scotland is a great country.  I recommend studying in the UK to all.  It’s a superb experience.  I hope there will be an alternative for Erasmus.”

It’s not only students or former students who responded. Katrien Verbruggen is a Fleming working at the University of East Anglia.  She’s responsible for the exchange programme there.

“The news is a shock.  We’ll have to renegotiate all our exchange agreements with European universities, one by one.  There’s a lot of concern about high UK tuition fees, but these are usually dropped for students taking part in exchange programmes.  I believe this will remain the case.”

Katrien is more concerned about the disappearance of Erasmus grants for students: “A proper alternative is needed.  Otherwise European students will be reluctant to choose a student exchange in the UK.  All UK universities are determined to continue to receive European students. We are worried.”

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