Investment of a lifetime

Gaining international experience is an excellent investment for one’s own future. The Erasmus-programme is a prime example of the work done in Europe to make people more mobile. Erasmus celebrates its’ 30th birthday throughout this year. In June we were proud to participate in the opening of these celebrations in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

According to European Commission, over 60% of employers value international experience in recruiting. Studying or training abroad not only enhances language and social skills but also strengthens the cultural and international skills, essential for today´s professional life. These abilities are seen as crucial by 90% of the employers.

In addition the unemployment rate of young people who have studied or trained abroad is 23% lower five years after graduation, compared to their non-mobile peers. One in three Erasmus+ trainees receive a job offer by their traineeship organisations. Internationally experienced people also tend to earn better and receive more responsibilities at work.

Erasmus has already mobilised over 9 million people. With decades of experience and vast networks the programme surely has something to offer for everyone. To indicate its progress the programme name is now followed by a plus.

Erasmus+ now involves multiple levels – higher education students, youth exchanges, vocational training learners, education staff and youth workers, European volunteers, Erasmus Mundus students and staff. The + programme also introduced new funding for actions in the field of sport. Running from 2014 to 2020, the funding has been increased with 40% which translates to 14,7 billion in grants and new opportunities for over four million people.

In Europe, around seven million people will be retiring by 2020. In theory there is a vast amount of jobs available in the job market, but the challenge is how the demand meets the supply of skilled workers. Thus there is a growing demand for broader and more flexible education and trainee programmes answering to the needs of the world of science and business.

So far only 3% of Europeans have moved abroad for work, whereas in the United States the number is ten times higher. This has a clear effect on economic growth. Free movement and mobilisation of people will be even more important in the near future. In the past decades one in ten European students has included study exchange or training abroad in their degree. The EU wants to double this amount with the Erasmus+.

Therefore I sincerely hope that everyone capable of conducting part of their studies or traineeships abroad would do so. If you are looking for a great place to go I warmly recommend my home country Finland, which is a versatile modern Nordic country. Finland scores high in many rankings, for example in education, digitalisation, transparency, stability and gender equality.

I also warmly recommend joining the ever growing Erasmus Community in my hometown, the City of Jyväskylä. It is the Capital of Central Finland, right in the heart of the most beautiful Finnish Lake District. The city is a lively combination of vibrant student life, skilled professionals, quality education, culture, well-being and pure unspoilt nature.

All in all, experiencing Erasmus+ is a great investment for your future.

Best wishes,


A kind thank you to Henna´s Erasmus-campaign´s collaboration & photos: The City of Jyväskylä, University of Jyväskylä and the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.


Henna Virkkunen - Kokoomus