Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, youth and sport and is one of the largest funding instruments for periods to be spent abroad and institutional collaboration worldwide. What began in 1987 as a mobility programme for students has, to date, enriched the lives of more than five million participants and indirectly influenced the lives of numerous other people. Exchange, mobility and cooperation make formative experiences possible. Erasmus+ gives the participants the skills they need for independent and fulfilled lives, and supports them in finding their place in our societies and in developing a sense of European identity that completes our national, regional and local identity. But the international experiences of the participants and the institutional collaboration also have advantages for Switzerland as a seat of learning and for its competitiveness.
Since 2014, Switzerland has no longer been a programme country of Erasmus+, but a partner country. To enable Swiss institutions to continue taking part in cooperation and mobility activities with the Erasmus+ programme countries, the Federal Council adopted an interim solution financed with Swiss funds. This Swiss programme for Erasmus+ funds the participation of people and institutions from Switzerland (outgoing). In order to offer reciprocity, financial support is also provided for people and institutions from Europe to spend a period of time in Switzerland (incoming).
In its early days, ERASMUS, which is often described as an “Exchange programme for students”, was in fact limited exclusively to students at universities (higher-education institutions). Today that has changed: since 2014, the new Erasmus+ generation of programmes encompasses opportunities for the educational levels of compulsory schooling, professional or vocational education and training, tertiary-level and adult education, as well as for the extra-curricular sphere.
The Erasmus+ programme includes mobility and cooperation projects for all levels of education and for extra-curricular youth work.
Learning mobility funding supports study visits, teaching, traineeships and work experience opportunities, voluntary work or group exchange for young people in European countries and sometimes in neighbouring regions.
The cooperation projects focus on strategic partnerships and support international collaboration between and among educational institutions, authorities, social partners or youth organisations in Europe.
Detailed information on the conditions of participation can be downloaded via the list of links
Thirty-three programme countries are, at present, taking part in Erasmus+: all 28 EU member States, the EFTA States Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and both official accession candidates Turkey and the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia.
Switzerland has not been a programme country since 2014 but is classified as a partner country.