Under the EMJMD scheme, students get an opportunity to pursue Master degree in leading European universities in at least two different European countries. The fully funded scholarship covers tuition fee, travel costs and living allowance of the recipient.
Each scholarship holder will study in different European countries, being France, Italy and Belgium the most repeated destinations.
Following the long-established and highly regarded practice, the Delegation of the European Union to Russia organised a pre-departure orientation event on 11 August for the Russian students. It was held on-line due to the current epidemiological situation. Addressing the students, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation, Markus Ederer, said, “Being an Erasmus+ student is not only being an excellent scholar in your field, it is also an opportunity to explore Europe. All people are different, but they are easy to make friends with, and you need to use this opportunity". The Ambassador expressed hope that the students would become goodwill ambassadors and would contribute to the development of EU-Russia cooperation.
Bringing together the Russian students, Erasmus alumni and EU Member States, the event provided an interactive platform to share information on studying in Europe and other practical aspects. Sharing their experiences, Erasmus alumni provided useful tips on how students can optimise the opportunity offered by the programme.
Addressing the audience, Head of the Erasmus+ National Office in Russia Olga Oleynikova stressed "the relevance and importance of such programmes as Erasmus+ for enhancing cooperation and mutual trust in the interests of sustainability in our fragile and vulnerable world." She also emphasised that "the pandemic has not dampened but enhanced interest in cooperation and learning together.”
Given the current global challenges and uncertainties, the Erasmus+ programme, EU Member States and the universities are putting all their efforts to ensure that support and information is available to the students, while ensuring flexibility in the programme. Reassuring the students given the unprecedented situation, Bruno Castro, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission, Brussels said, “Our first priority is health and safety of the students. Erasmus+ has offered flexibility to the universities for them to continue operating in these circumstances. While some programmes have built in a delayed start to the academic programme, others may start with online lessons and will switch to face-to-face teaching when this becomes more feasible. Each programme will have a slightly different approach depending on the regional and local situation.” He also advised the students to be in close contact with their respective programme coordinator who would be the point of contact for advising on travel and the programme.
Zhanna Fatalova, Erasmus Mundus Alumni (EMA) Country Representative for Russia, presented the EMA activities relevant for Russia and shared her personal experience with the participants. She said, “I believe that every single Erasmus Mundus programme presents the students with a unique opportunity to work with the best specialists in the field and make friends from all over the globe, combining the academic part with cultural exploration. Erasmus Mundus is about hard work and adaptation, learning new languages and acquiring new skills, it is about balance and personal challenges, as well as about becoming the better version of yourself.”
During the event, EU Member States representatives shared information with the students on what their country had specifically to offer, the opportunities on education and research and innovation and the impact of COVID-19 in their respective countries and regions and responded to queries of the students.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Erasmus+ mobility programme
The EU has put in place several supporting measures in order to provide a coordinated and consistent framework that Erasmus Mundus consortia can operate with the aim of minimising disruptions and allowing a flexible approach for programme management under these exceptional circumstances.