Since Myanmar has started its journey towards democracy in 2015, students and young professionals have seized the opportunity to study abroad – with Europe as one of the most coveted destinations. This year, with the help of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Programme, four Myanmar students are heading to prestigious European universities to make this dream a reality.
An experienced hospitality professional, Yin May Thu is going to study for a Master's in Tourism Management to learn how to make Myanmar an even more attractive travel destination. Architecture student Htet Shar Aung will deepen his knowledge on Urban Studies and plans to apply his skills in the rapidly developing urban spaces of Myanmar. Scientist Soe Yu Naing will join the International MSc in Infectious Diseases and One Health programme, which he chose for its rigorous and interdisciplinary curriculum. Susan Mai Ra – who has already left for Europe - is joining a Master Degree Programme in International Humanitarian Action.
Before their departure, the students met EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt to share their hopes and expectations for their time studying and living in Europe. An alumnus of the Erasmus programme himself, Ambassador Schmidt encouraged them to make friends, soak up the culture, and become 'ambassadors of Myanmar' among their classmates. He emphasized: "For a country like Myanmar, opening up after decades of isolation, Erasmus Mundus is the perfect way to invest in future generations and better mutual understanding. It is very encouraging to see students respond with such enthusiasm, and we will continue to advertise the programme as much as possible."
While the Erasmus+ programme has only been launched in Myanmar recently, it has already made a great impact. Since 2014, 16 students have been awarded scholarships to join the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Programme. The number of Myanmar students and staff who participated in international credit mobility with European universities has grown from 16 in 2015 to 95 in 2018. Since 2015, 18 Myanmar universities have gained international partners through 14 Capacity Building in Higher Education projects.