Erasmus isn’t just about studying. If you really want to boost your CV and immerse yourself in another culture, you might want to think about working abroad during your Erasmus year.
Working abroad can give you a real confidence boost, develop your transferable skills and help you hone your language skills to a level of fluency that you didn’t think was achievable. What’s more, it’ll be a top notch opportunity to experience living and working in another country.
How do I get the ball rolling?
Unfortunately, you can’t just swan off willy-nilly with the vague promise that you’ll get a job abroad. Your work placement will need to be approved by your home institution (that’s your university or college) and you’ll need to formulate an agreement between you, your institution and your employer.
You’ll have to do your work placement in a country which is part of the Erasmus programme, and you might find that your ability to do a work placement abroad will be limited by your specific course and university.
An alternative is combining a placement with study. Again, you’ll have to work this out with your university and the host institution.
Who can I do my placement with?
According to the British Council, you can do your placement with any “organisation that is involved in economic activities in the private or public sector” in an Erasmus participating country.
However, you can’t do a placement with a European administrative organisation, such as the European Commission. Furthermore, you cannot work for your home country’s diplomatic representative (e.g. the British Embassy). Furthermore, you can’t work for any other organisations that manage EU programmes.
Where can I find an Erasmus work placement?
It’s all very well harping on about work placements, but how can you actually find one? Well, you can do a lot of the leg work yourself by contacting potential employers directly.
Alternatively, you could try and find one through your university. Talk to the person who deals with Erasmus-related matters, as they will usually have contacts with a range of employers that offer placements to Erasmus students.
Other alternatives include: going through an established placement agency (but they might put you out of pocket), contacting previous Erasmus students and finding out where they worked, or hunting around on international job boards for placement opportunities.
How long will the placement be?
Your placement could be as sort as three months, or you could end up working for the maximum period of twelve months. If you’re doing a shorter higher education course, such as an HND or HNC, your placement must last a minimum of two weeks.
Will I be paid?
You’ll receive the Erasmus grant to help you with living costs and you might even be able to get a cheeky wage from your employer. Unfortunately though, they are under no legal obligation to pay you. On the bright side, you will receive a tuition fee waiver from your university at home.
A work placement abroad is a unique chance to boost your employability and get a flavour of doing business the European way. It’s so important to gain work experience whilst you’re at university, and the Erasmus work placement scheme proffers the perfect opportunity.