in our university career all of us think about participating in the Erasmus Program at least once, or maybe some of us had already taken part in it. Students who join the project study or do an internship for a period of at least 3 months to an academic year in another European country. The Erasmus Program guarantees that the period spent abroad is recognized by their university when they come back, as long as they abide by terms previously agreed. This experience is thought like an opportunity to enrich our curriculum, learn other languages and face up with other cultures. But where does the initiative come from? Who gave us this opportunity?
The answer gives a lot to think about: what led to this project was the awareness of the need to overstep national boundaries and to create a European Citizenship to build Europe on strong ideologies.
It was in 1987 and until that year the Erasmus project was only a big dream shared by lots of students, but unknown by the politicians of the time.
Frank Bianchieri, the founder of the students association AEGEE, tried and overtired to apply this daft: from 1985 he has been involving media and young people, he took conferences about that topic but there weren't funds available to launch that program. On the 25th of March 1987, something changed: AEGEE met the president of France, Francois Mitterand to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome and to write a page about the future of Europe. During the meeting, Bianchieri finally convinced Mitterand that giving support to Erasmus meant to open a new era in terms of access of citizens to the European dimension. He was absolutely right.
A few weeks later, the European Council of Education Ministers adopted the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) Program. There are currently more than 4,000 higher institutions participating in Erasmus across the 33 countries involved in the Erasmus Program and by 2007 over 5 million students had taken part.
The most important achievement about this historical step, how Bianchieri underlined in an interview, is that a group of around 20 persons without any political influence and just with their interest of opening the gates of Europe reached such an important issue: they overpassed the bureaucratic machine and they involved youth in the European dimension and they improved their own education by putting themselves in foreign educational systems.
It was a matter of awareness. Our university Bocconi also gives this amazing opportunity to enrich our skills and minds and makes us realize that nowadays there isn't the imperative to have borders, but to create a big Union.
There is also a website I suggest that gives you the chance to increase European opportunities of mobility.
Build your future, share ideas, be aware.