The prospect of studying in London is very attractive to residents of many European Union countries. Even many people already enrolled at universities outside the UK can get valuable opportunities to study in the UK capital due to Erasmus, an EU scheme which has been running since 1987.
What is Erasmus?
Erasmus is a student exchange scheme which allows EU students to spend a period – from three to twelve months – of their study time at another EU university. The opportunity for an Erasmus placement will only open up starting from the second year of study on a university course.
Across the EU, more than 1,000 higher education institutions have joined the Erasmus programme, giving eligible students a stunningly broad choice of placement options. If you are eligible for Erasmus, time spent abroad can form an integral – or even necessary – part of your course.
Why choose London?
London is already the world’s most popular city among international students. Every year, the city attracts over 100,000 students from across the planet. London’s student body has undoubtedly helped to give the modern city its strongly cosmopolitan flavour.
All of this means that, as a student in London, you would have plenty of opportunities to meet up with people endeavouring to get to grips with a new culture and even learn a new language, English. The Erasmus institutions in London include some of the UK’s most prestigious universities.
London higher education institutions which attract especially high numbers of Erasmus students include University College London, Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and the School of Oriental and African Studies. All four organisations are in high academic favour.
How should you prepare for an Erasmus placement?
If the idea of starting an Erasmus placement piques your interest, get in touch with your academic advisor or your current university’s Erasmus department. The university will have a deadline by which you must apply to start studying via Erasmus in the academic year that follows. Typically, this deadline is during the winter term, so you should act quickly.
However, be wary that London is an expensive city in which to live. You can save costs by choosing your university and accommodation carefully. For example, renting campus accommodation at University College London (UCL) can be prohibitively expensive due to the central London location.
Furthermore, remaining intent on a UCL placing while looking for off-site accommodation might not prove a financially palatable alternative. This is because, the longer the distance you have to regularly travel to attend lectures and seminars, the more this could eat into an already tight budget.
This could tempt you to switch your attention to Queen Mary University of London – which, due to its East London setting, could let you source accommodation at a lower price. However, this still leaves open the question of which environment could best help you to improve your English.
Tips for honing your English language skills
The importance of knowing sufficiently good English to land an Erasmus place should not be underestimated. You could put thought to joining a London-based English Academy to improve your mastery of the language. There is also the possibility of learning through more casual means…
This possibility can arise if, through HFS London, you book a stay in London-located homestay accommodation. This is a great way to enjoy a “home away from home” feel to help in keeping pangs of homesickness at bay – all with a trusted homestay host, vetted by us, offering a reassuring presence.
You can expect your host family to happily help you to pick up more know-how about the English language. Along the way, you could even learn relatively colloquial aspects of the language – a side of English to which you might never have been introduced in a more formal education setting.
The social opportunities with a London stay
London is a fascinating melting pot of different cultures, allowing you to broaden your mind and make friends with people who, like you, are trying to get used to living in London. These new friends could help you to adjust if you are struggling to adapt yourself to an unfamiliar culture.
Of course, you will get to meet people at your London university, too. Though you won’t be with these new study colleagues for too long before you need to head back home, you could still form valuable – and, potentially, cross-border – friendships. Furthermore, as you take your return flight, you would also be taking some credits to go towards your degree.
Time that you have spent on overseas study with Erasmus can be impressive to impart to potential employers later down the line. However, while you are still preparing to begin study via Erasmus in London in the first place, we invite you to consider homestay accommodation that we offer.