30 years of Erasmus+

From Erasmus to Erasmus + a story of 30 years logo

A story of 30 years: from Erasmus to Erasmus+

The original Erasmus began in 1987 as an exchange programme that gave higher education students a taste of life and learning abroad. In 30 years an estimated 9 million people will have taken part, 600,000 of them from the UK. Today, Erasmus+ offers opportunities across Europe and beyond to individuals and organisations in education, training, youth and sport.

The UK National Agency is celebrating this special year in 2017 and you will find all the information and resources you need below to be a part of this 30 year anniversary!

Join the celebration 

We are inviting all UK participants, past and present, to get involved in celebrating what the programmes have meant for them, and the impact on their life. There are a number of ways to join in:

Your stories

The story of the programme is all about the organisations and individuals who have taken part in Erasmus+ and its predecessor programmes - Comenius, Erasmus, Grundtvig, Leonardo, and Youth in Action - over the last 30 years. To learn more about how Erasmus started read our interview with Dr Hywel Ceri Jones, on the origins of the programme.

If you have an inspiring story to tell about your project experience, you can get in touch with us here at the UK National Agency for the opportunity to be featured on this page.

Read a selection of UK participants who have already shared their Erasmus+ experience and the impact it has had: 

Tania Habimana's story
Tania shares the impact Erasmus has had on her career
Ollie Clarke's story
Follow Ollie's journey with Cornwall Council
Andrea Sapundjija's story
Andrea tells of her Erasmus+ experience in Granada

#ErasmusPlus30 facts

Did you know?... 

From 1987 to 2017, an estimated 600,000 people from the UK studied, trained or volunteered abroad through Erasmus+.

The scheme started in 1987, when fewer than 1000 pioneering UK university students studied abroad in ten countries.

Over 30 years UK participation* has involved:

  • 307,700 higher education students
  • 129,000 education staff and youth workers
  • 101,900 youth exchanges and volunteers
  • 58,800 vocational training learners
  • 5,500 Erasmus Mundus students and staff

Since the launch of Erasmus+ in 2014, 2,910 projects in the UK have received funding of 363 million euros**.

Between 2014 and 2020, Erasmus+ will provide opportunities for more than 4 million people from Europe and around the world.

You can find more detailed statistics about UK Erasmus+ applications, projects and participants on our statistics page

One-in-four Erasmus students meet their long-term partner whilst abroad, according to an EU study. Our blog post tells how Ellen’s semester in Denmark led her to Georgia, and why Raquel recommends volunteering.

*According to European Commission estimates and UK National Agency statistics

**Figures correct at February 2017