RCSI is developing a number of Erasmus partnerships to give our undergraduate and postgraduate students the opportunity to avail of elective or research opportunities under the programme, building their research, transferable, teamwork and transversal skills and enhancing their international experience.
Here, Professor Marc Devocelle, Associate Professor in RCSI's Department of Chemistry and academic lead for RCSI's Erasmus programme, explores RCSI's involvement in the programme and the benefits for our students.
Erasmus+ is a European Union programme which supports, among various initiatives, the mobility of students in the areas of education and training. Between 2014 and 2020, 29 students from RCSI's Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy took part in Erasmus exchanges across five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK*).
Typically involving two-month traineeships in research laboratories in universities or hospitals, our medicine students have been hosted by Bristol, Cambridge, Manchester and Southampton Universities, and Imperial and University College London, while our Pharmacy students have been hosted at the University of Lorraine in France.
Our students report that their research, transferable, teamwork and transversal skills benefited significantly from their Erasmus mobility. Transversal skills are widely and increasingly recognised as essential contributors of the students' employability.
The students also widely acknowledge the benefits of discovering a new culture brought by the Erasmus programme. They enthusiastically report on the ability to meet other European citizens and on the limitless opportunities encompassing the discovery of new countries, other social, professional and health systems, as well as food experience. One student wrote that she ate her weight in croissants over the three months of her mobility!
Erasmus participants communicated their enthusiasm for their research/traineeship, in a field or context they would usually have no exposure to otherwise. The students also reported that their professional skills, including problem-solving and decision-making, their capacity to innovate, adapt and meet new challenges, as well as openness to new experiences and other cultures, improved through their participation in an Erasmus mobility.
RCSI entered the 2021–2027 Erasmus cycle by establishing an inter-institutional agreement with the Sorbonne University in Paris. Under this agreement, two French students complete one year in RCSI, while up to five RCSI students have the opportunity to undertake two electives of one month each in one of the hospitals affiliated to the Sorbonne University.
When 30 years of Erasmus was celebrated in 2017, research conducted on the programme indicated that "it is a good way to find a job – and a partner". According to the Erasmus Impact Study, "one in four Erasmus students found their life partner during their mobility abroad and around 1,000,000 babies are likely to have been born to Erasmus couples since 1997". To the knowledge of the RCSI Erasmus Office, there is no Erasmus baby at RCSI, yet!
* From 2021 the UK is not a programme country of the Erasmus programme. The programme countries are: member states of the European Union, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Turkey.
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