AN Irish Government intervention that will keep the Erasmus programme available on an island-wide basis has been welcomed by a young Lifford student.
The UK’s departure from the European Union signals the end of Erasmus for UK students, including those living in Northern Ireland. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Christmas Eve that the UK had rejected an offer to remain part of the EU programme and will instead develop its own alternative version.
But the South’s Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, has revealed that students from the North will still be able to avail of the programme by temporarily registering with Irish higher education institutions. will allow them to travel freely to other EU member states for study and work experience. The estimated cost to the Irish Government will be around €2.1 million per year.
Erasmus has been offering student exchanges, school links, work experience and apprenticeships across Europe since 1987.
Dionne McLaughlin from Lifford spent two weeks in Barcelona last January through Erasmus. Now a cinematic art student at Magee University, she said the programme was a massive help to her.
“It was a really great learning experience,” she said.
“The friends I made in Barcelona, I still talk to them every day and I still follow the mentors I met over there. At the time I was studying business development and creative media and we were there to document and to make short films. But we were also working with clients and that is where Erasmus has really helped me because I learned so much about deadlines, about how to talk to people professionally and about how to address business meetings.
“The programme really gave me the push I needed to do more freelance work and I don’t think I would be where I am now if I hadn’t done it.”