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 celebrate what the programmes have meant to them, and the impact on their life. Here 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.

Do you have a story to tell about your Erasmus+ experience? Get in touch with us here at the UK National Agency for the opportunity to be featured here alongside Tania, Ollie and Andrea:

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


Click on the slideshow below for more inspiring Erasmus+ stories. Matthew wants to travel the world, while Alison’s arts organisation works across five countries and Marcus’ social enterprise helps disadvantaged young people. Nicola’s decade of adult education projects encompasses work with refugees and Zumba classes, and Callum coached football in Sweden at only 17.

#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, the UK National Agency has funded 3,757 projects and awarded a total of 501 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 as of September 2017