Since 1987, the ERASMUS programme supports the exchange of students between parter universities across Europe, so-called student mobilities for studies (SMS). Since 2007, ERASMUS also supports student mobilities for placements (SMP) abroad in those countries that participate in the ERASMUS programme. With the new Erasmus+ programme started in 2014, the opportunities for doing a student mobility for traineeships (SMT) abroad have been greatly expanded: Multiple mobilities are possible, during all study cycles and even as a recent graduate. Applications for scholarships are managed by the home universities of students (or a consortium acting on behalf of the home university).
Whether they are called placements or traineeships, the main goals of Erasmus+ in supporting such internships are:
- to provide students with a real work experience in an international environment;
- to enhance students' employability and improve their career prospects;
- to increase students' sense of initiative and entrepreneurship;
- to advance students' intercultural awareness and prepare them for the European labour market.
Therefore, traineeships should primarily be carried out in a company or enterprise, research institutes or other public institutions. While it is not possible to carry out traineeships in EU institutions or institutions that manage EU programmes, it is also possible to carry out Erasmus+ traineeships at universities.
However, it is important to keep in mind that different conditions apply to students who study at a partner university in the framework of an Erasmus exchange agreement (SMS) and to students who do a traineeship (SMT) at a university (outside an Erasmus exchange agreement).