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Erasmus – Picking Your College Is Only Half The Battle

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When the fall semester began in 2018, many Erasmus students found it difficult to find suitable modules.

The students had already picked out a set of modules when they applied for Erasmus the previous term, and so thought that the process was done when arriving, but many of the modules had limited spaces or were canceled.

For many students, it is vital to find modules that include topics they would have studied at their home universities, as it can affect their Erasmus Grant and academic credits.

“It is stressful because if I would´ve failed to find suitable classes, I might not have been able to pick up my studies back in Sweden as my credits would´ve been too low,” said Swedish Erasmus student Linnéa Modig-Blåder.

Ms Modig-Blåder feels that she has been well met by lecturers and received help from the Exchange Office but she said there were also times when she had to defend her level of English and where the modules didn´t run or only had limited spaces for Erasmus students, she was forced to switch upon her arrival to UL.

“I had chosen my modules so they would be available for Erasmus students and even though our Exchange Office back in Sweden mentioned that modules could get canceled, nobody told us about the rest happening,” said Ms. Modig-Blåder.

UL student Leighann Mulrennan also stresses the importance of being prepared and informed before your exchange.

“For my course, Erasmus is compulsory so we were introduced to it a year before we would be going on Erasmus. We were given details on different Universities like names etc. but not given an idea of the modules we could do until after we´d applied for the University,” said Ms. Mulrennan.

She added; “One of my friends is in Prague and she loves it there. She finds the city lovely, but her modules are not what she was expecting.”

Lecturer and a former Erasmus Coordinator, Dr. Carmen Kuhling also sees the problem Erasmus students face and actively tries to outline her modules to include them.

“There are different national and regional institutional cultures regarding how they work, and here it is so much more face to face, unlike Canada where I´m from, you´re told what modules supposed to be available, and then they should be available,” said Dr. Kuhling.

Dr. Kuhling added that there is a range of reasons for modules not running even though they’re in the books and students should be told so early on so that they can prepare to have a “plan B, and even C or D.”

For students thinking of Erasmus Dr. Khuling said; “Be prepared to be flexible and have the faith that people want to help, show up by their door, and my experience here is that when they meet you, they will bend over backwards to help you.”

Incoming Erasmus Administrator Danielle McNamara thinks that a significant problem Erasmus students face is some must match modules from their home Universities and some don’t.

“All our UL degree courses are structured, and the modules are part of our degree programs, so they will be scheduled not to clash for program students,” said Ms. McNamara.

“But for Erasmus students who must build their own time table, it becomes more difficult, and that is why we have the two weeks of introduction to give time to change,” added Ms. McNamara.

According to Ms. McNamara, students are sometimes unaware about the possibility to change the standard learning agreement, which is the form Erasmus students often need to sign before the exchange to show which classes they plan to take.

“The agreement is divided into three sections; Before-, During- and After the Mobility. It is a provisional list and if changes must be made that is what the other sections are for”

According to Ms. McNamara the number of incoming Erasmus students to UL has gone up, and they are trying their best to help, and in her experience, any problem has always been sorted.

“Make sure to read through all the information that is being given and tend the different meetings that are being held before and during each Erasmus exchange,” said Ms. McNamara.

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