Interested in going on Erasmus?

If you are an NUI Galway student considering studying abroad with the Erasmus+ Programme, this page should give you  a basic understanding of the University's  involvement in the student mobility element of the programme and the opportunities available for studying in Europe.  Of course the information provided here may not answer all the questions that you might have, but it will provide a good starting point, and we hope that our website will help to clarify the procedures involved in participating in Erasmus.

 

Berlin gate panorama

 

The Erasmus Programme

NUI Galway  has participated in the Erasmus Programme since its inception in 1987 and several thousand of our students have taken part.  Almost all of them have found it to be a most rewarding experience.

Erasmus gives students the possibility to study or work in another European country and in doing so, to gain credit towards their degree.  It's a great way to gain international experience, expand your academic horizons, meet people from all over the world, improve your language skills, learn about other cultures, develop independence and self-confidence, boost your CV ... need we say more?

On this page, we will concentrate quite a bit on the study visit aspect of Erasmus - that's when you go to one of our partner universities abroad and are enrolled there as an exchange student.  You might not have known that Erasmus also allows students to gain work experience abroad, and you can read more about that in the section on Erasmus Traineeships.  But for now, read on a little further ...

The following are the basic guidelines set out by the European Union to govern the Erasmus exchange programme:

  • The programme is open to students in the Member States of the European Union, the three countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), as well as Switzerland and Turkey.
  • Students will not be required to pay tuition fees at the host institution abroad; they will, however, need to register with and pay the normal fee to their home institution (NUI Galway) during their period of study or work abroad.
  • The period of study abroad may not last less than three months (90 days), and it cannot be more than 12 months in total during any one study cycle (i.e. at undergrad, Master or PhD level) .  For Erasmus Traineeships (work placements), the minimum duration is 60 days, the maximum 12 months in any one study cycle.
  • Students may apply to their home university for an Erasmus grant to help with the costs of living abroad.
  • Students must get approval from both their home and host institutions for their course of study or programme of work abroad: this is all set out clearly in advance, in an important document called the Learning Agreement.  Students must get formal recognition from their home university if they complete satisfactorily all the courses or activities described in the Learning Agreement.
  • Students in the first year of third-level study are not eligible to participate.
  • Non-Irish students will not normally be nominated to study abroad in the country where they grew up.

All third-level students are eligible to participate in the programme, up to and including doctoral level. However, please keep in mind that an Erasmus experience is, unfortunately, not available to all NUI Galway students. Our Erasmus study places abroad are based on bilateral agreements with specific universities in (mostly) specific subject areas. Your programme of study here may not provide a "window" for you to study or work abroad, you may not have the necessary language skills to undertake studies in a particular country that attracts you, or your particular Discipline may not have signed exchange agreements of its own, so the opportunities in your area may be limited.   Having said that, the number and range of Erasmus exchanges is expanding each year.  There are currently about 500 study abroad places available for NUI Galway students. 

If you want to explore the possibilities further please talk to the relevant Erasmus academic coordinator, or visit the International Affairs Office.  If you click on the "Latest News" link on the left-hand menu, you will find, among the documents available to download, the Outgoing Student Information Brochure. Towards the back of the brochure is a full list of all our Erasmus links in the various Disciplines and Schools, and contact details for all the Erasmus academic coordinators.

Prague panorama

Can I go on Erasmus? Do I need to be studying a language?

If you are an Arts or Commerce student studying a continental language, you will generally be expected to spend a year attending a university abroad (or doing a teaching assistantship, which is also now recognised as satisfying the BA International language requirements).  Your language department coordinator will talk to you in Second Year about possible host universities, and, in the case of Arts students, the destination to which you are assigned may depend on your second degree subject and the availability of suitable modules in that subject at any given host institution.

If you are an Arts or Commerce student who isn't taking a continental language, it is also possible to take part in Erasmus. We have a number of partner universities that offer courses through the medium of English.  In the case of Arts, participating students will spend a full year studying their two degree subjects abroad, and will be expected to secure 20 ECTS in approved courses in each of those subjects (that's 40 ECTS in total) in order to pass the year and be eligible for a BA International.  Arts students should take note that an information evening takes place each year in January, following which application forms are made available; the application deadline is in February, with offers made by early March. It is very important to note that Second Year Semester 1 results will play a crucial part in selection of candidates, along with a motivational statement and possibly a short interview in the case of some academic departments.  Your particular subject combination and the availability of suitable courses will also determine which host universities you can be considered for.  The current year's Information Brochure for Outgoing Erasmus students will give you an idea of what is involved in the programme, as well as showing a list of Erasmus links by Discipline or School: click on Latest News on the left-hand menu, and you will find it available there to download.

Commerce students who aren't taking a language will be informed about study abroad opportunities (BComm International Experience/BComm Global) by the School of Business.

If you are studying Corporate Law with a language, you will have the opportunity to study abroad for a year; again, your language department coordinator will be able to advise you. There will also be some opportunities for non-language students, and the Law School will advise Second Years on these.

If you are a Science student taking Biochemistry or related biosciences, ideally with a good knowledge of languages, there is the possibility of spending one or two semesters attending courses at a partner university during third year. In addition, Biotechnology students have an opportunity to apply for an Erasmus traineeship for a three-month placement involving project work in a laboratory abroad.

If you are studying Medicine, you will have the possibility of carrying out a clinical placement at a partner university abroad for three months in Semester 2 of Third Year. As with Science above, there are some opportunities to do this through the medium of English, although most of our available study places in this particular subject area do require a knowledge of either French or German.

If you are an Engineering student, you will not be able to avail of an Erasmus study visit, but you may be able to take part in an Erasmus placement for your Professional Experience Programme in Third Year. You should look at the Placement Office website.

More about the study abroad opportunities for Non-Language BA students

There are study abroad opportunities for Second Year students on the BA (Omnibus), the BA in Public & Social Policy and the BA in History who are not taking a continental language. Interested students are invited to apply for a full academic year of study at a university in Europe (via the Erasmus Programme), North America (Boston College, Richmond University, University of Ottawa) or Shantou University, China. Please be aware that the number of available exchange places is limited, and success of applications will depend, to a considerable extent, on students’ academic record, but also on the availability of suitable exchange places that match particular subject combinations.

The various study abroad opportunities were outlined at an information session on Monday, 22nd January, 2018.  The deadline for applications was 5th February, 2018.  Candidates have been selected based on academic performance (results from First Year and Second Year Semester 1) and a statement of motivation, as well as, in some cases, an interview.  Another important factor in the selection process is the suitability of the student's preferred destination(s) in terms of what subjects are on offer there and whether the credit requirements of the BA International Year Abroad can be fulfilled there.  Handy web links to all the relevant Erasmus partner universities can be found in the Appendix to the Erasmus application form.