Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Post Brexit: Erasmus



It's only normal that people ask themselves and others, loads of questions at this moment. Especially when you are from the UK and you have no idea what the future will bring following the Brexit-vote. Talking to many of UK men and women, it did really touch me. The anxiety, uncertainty and darker prospect of life for the youth.

It's not my intention to push you more down that road, but I think education is such a vital thing in society and the fact that more young people are interested in the decision making of their respective countries. It's the education part that really got me interested and to be more precise: Erasmus.

So most of the young people will know this by now, but just to explain what Erasmus is. This is the official explanation on their website:

"The Erasmus+ Programme is a European funding programme established in 1987 offering university students a possibility of studying or doing an internship abroad in another country for a period of at least 2 months and maximum 12 months per cycle of studies. Erasmus+ now offers the possibility to go way beyond the European borders as well."

Well it's pretty obvious for everyone that lives within the EU, that's very helpful to get these fundings. A few might have had the benefit of these and some hope to get these benefits in the near future. It's very saddening to hear that many people have to give up their dreams of studying or doing an internship abroad, because of the Brexit. This was the signal for me to try do something about, I didn't know if I was going to succeed or even get in touch with the right people. But you are never winning the lotery if you don'y buy a ticket.

I'm quite fortunate to got in touch with the education departement and they were so kind to let me ask a couple of questions about it and give my idea about the matter. I naturally had the question; What will this mean for British students wanting to come to the EU? And what does this mean for EU students wanting to come to the UK?
Well as you can expect from decent politicians, I got a very diplomatic answer.

'I do understand your concern and let me state that it's very noble of you to do, but at the moment everything is unclear. After the negotiations starts the clouds will vanish and we all have more clarity'


I was not happy at all with this response, but I also knew this was their way of saying; "Lot of bollocks, but we don't know shit either mate."
I did start my little plan or design of making a new organisation where you either include British universities or make British universities partnerschools of EU Universities, so that the students still would benefit from the Erasmus funding.

They did stop me halfway, explaining to me that it's not even certain that the UK will not benefit anymore from Erasmus. Erasmus could be a funding that would go beyond the borders of the EU. That's positive for those wanting to study in the UK, but what for the people from the UK wanting to go abroad? To be honest, no answer was satisfying and I was left with an rather void feeling. As if my concern not really mattered.

Now a few days later I saw that there was a formal question asked to the European Parliament due to many inquiries and personal contacts. I would be very wild to assume that my approach had anything to do with it, but I'm quite proud of myself for doing that and being part of the collective that pushed people to ask the questions in the right places. This is the question asked:

"The Erasmus exchange programme is one of the EU's most celebrated achievements, giving millions of young people the chance to study, work or train abroad. But young people in the UK now face the prospect of this opportunity being cut off from them, despite the fact that a large majority of them voted to remain in the EU in the recent referendum.
What steps would be necessary for young people in the UK to continue to be able to take part in the Erasmus+ study abroad and vocational training schemes if and when the UK leaves the European Union?
Will the Commission aim to preserve opportunities for young people in the UK to take part in the Erasmus+ scheme in the coming negotiations?"

Well, at the moment there has been no answer. But I think it's great that this has been asked for the sake of our generation and the generations to come. Remember people, our generation is not always doom and gloom.

Marc
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