The Erasmus Student Mobility Program and Its Contribution to Multicultural Education : The Case of Tecnological Education Institute of Thessaly

Patsikas Stilianos, Aspridis Georgios, Kazantzi Vasilik, Sdrolias Labros

Abstract


Erasmus is an EU action plan in education that enables both students and academics to be "moved" between European universities, in the twenty-eight EU member countries, including the countries of the European Economic Area and Turkey. It took its name after the philosopher, theologian and humanist of the 15th century, Erasmus, also known as the "spiritual father of the reform". The Erasmus program was first established in 1987, providing the possibility for 3,000 students to move within the EU domain in the same year. Currently 90% of the European Higher Education Institutions participate in the program. It has after all evolved into a social and cultural phenomenon that goes beyond its conventional establishment providing a multi-perspective and holistic learning experience, and creating a space where young people can meet and share ideas, knowledge and experiences within a convenient and relaxed context. The Erasmus can be studied in two dimensions. The first dimension is dictated by the opportunities provided to students to come into contact not only with the culture of the country they stay during the Erasmus program, but also with many other different cultures. This is attributed to the fact that students from around the world live together for several months, but also organize trips to neighboring European countries. Through this program, students have the opportunity to learn a completely different educational system and compare it to their own countries’ one, become familiar with other cultures, broaden their horizons, meet people who would otherwise never get to know, become witnesses of different cultures and create new opportunities. The Erasmus program helps students become familiar with other learning processes and gain additional work experience within a different context. At the end of the program, there might be a number of students earning an academic and/or work position either at the graduate level or in their professional field.One of the main educational activities of the TEI of Thessaly is the Erasmus action, which offers the opportunity to students, who have completed at least the first year of their study, to attend part of their course work at an Institution in another country of the European inter-university cooperation. The experience of the Erasmus program is particularly important for intercultural and employment, leading to new perspectives for better and more stable jobs. An attempt to explore the views and concerns of students of the TEI of Thessaly, who benefited either by being moved to another country within the Erasmus program activities or interacted with students from other EU countries, is the focus of the present study.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2013.v4n3p181


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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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