35 years of Erasmus+: Mainz University records consistently high levels of student, teacher, and staff mobility

New record: Mainz University can spend EUR 3 million in the Erasmus+ student mobility program in the 2022/2023 academic year / Bilateral agreements with more than 400 partner universities throughout Europe

24 June 2022

The European Erasmus+ program is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has been involved with the European Union's best-known education program and its unique success story from the very beginning in 1987: Erasmus+ has supported around 12 million European citizens in experiencing Erasmus mobility so far, including almost one million Germans in the field of higher education. Mainz University is deeply committed to the Erasmus+ program. In 2019, JGU was among the first universities to succeed in the European Universities Initiative established by Erasmus. Together with its partners in now eight European countries, Mainz University is building the European University FORTHEM Alliance. Measured in terms of the total number of placements, JGU is also one of the most active German universities in the field of Erasmus+ mobility. In fact, Mainz University has even received a number of awards for its outstanding involvement, including the Erasmus E-Quality seal of approval.

"Internationality is a hallmark of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. About 12 percent of our students come from around the world and many of our German students take advantage of the opportunity to go abroad – quite often through the EU's Erasmus+ program," emphasized JGU President Professor Georg Krausch. "On top of that, we have been involved in Erasmus Teaching Staff Mobility ever since the program started. And we have continuously participated in the Staff Mobility program, which started in 2007. This is also well received," added Krausch.

Mainz University maintains bilateral departmental agreements with more than 400 European universities

'Erasmus' is short for European Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. It is the European Union's oldest education program and started out primarily as an exchange program for students. Erasmus+ is now also supporting numerous cross-border projects in a variety of educational sectors. Not only students in higher education, but also school children, teachers, and university staff can benefit from the program. All 27 EU member states as well as UK, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Turkey, and Northern Macedonia are participating in the Erasmus+ program. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, for its part, maintains bilateral departmental agreements with more than 400 universities in all over Europe.

Currently more than 720 JGU students are planning an Erasmus+ stay abroad in the 2022/2023 academic year, while another around 150 students have applied for Erasmus+ internships through JGU's EU ServicePoint. In this period, Mainz University will have more than EUR 3 million available to expend on Erasmus+ student mobility alone. JGU students' most popular destination countries at present are France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Italy.

"Whether it's going to university abroad or doing an internship, Erasmus+ exchanges promote student language skills and self-reliance. Young people get the chance to experience other countries and cultures, including other teaching and learning systems. Here they learn many skills that are important later in professional life," emphasized Dr. Markus Häfner, head of JGU's International Office, describing a main benefit of the program. "And within the framework of the FORTHEM Alliance, completely new opportunities are generated for our teaching staff and university employees, such as joint research in the FORTHEM Labs on future-relevant issues, joint teaching in transnational courses, or on-site, personal exchange with colleagues from the administration of our eight partner universities."

Erasmus+ with new topical foci und higher funding rates

The new Erasmus+ program, which runs from 2021 to 2027 and has a total budget of around EUR 26 billion, also offers new options for stays abroad in the higher education sector. It places a strong focus on digitalization, inclusion and diversity, 'Green Erasmus', and young people's participation in democratic life. There are now significantly higher funding rates and there is a large number of new special grants, for instance for students with chronic illnesses, working students, and first-generation academics.

The Erasmus+ application period for students interested in studying abroad for the 2023/2024 academic year will begin in autumn 2022. Initial advisory consultations are already taking place in the various subjects.