Spain is not just one of the most popular Erasmus hosts for students. At least in absolute terms, it is also the country with the largest number of students who decide to go abroad.
This is evidenced by the preliminary results of Interregional Relations Research Project in Europe. This IRiE project is being implemented under the auspices of the ESPON Programme, which specializes in regional policy analysis.
In addition to Spain, the top three countries of the European Union, namely France, Germany and Italy, occupy the first places. This also applies in part to Great Britain, which was already a major in relation to the Erasmus program before Brexit, as only a few British students participated in the programme, but many Europeans decided to study in the UK. Part of the IRiE study examined incoming and outgoing Erasmus student flows in the 2009/10 and 2013/2014 academic years.
Erasmus host: fluctuations in the middle ranks
During this period, the most pronounced changes in student flows would have occurred in countries in the middle or bottom of the ranking. The number of students who went abroad from Croatia, Turkey, Malta or Cyprus to stay at Erasmus increased by more than 50 percent in just four years.
As the researchers explain, this is a sign of the “increasing integration of these peripheral regions into the Erasmus network.” These peripheral areas will also enjoy increasing popularity among students. This is especially true for the Balkan countries, Central and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and Turkey. Here, the number of guest students – mainly from countries of origin Spain, France, Germany and Italy – increased by more than 50 percent.
Sort list by size
However, if you analyze the same numbers in relation to population size, a completely different picture emerges. Luxembourg, the Baltic states, Finland and Iceland will put themselves at the top of the list of countries of origin. At the other end of the list are the United Kingdom, Turkey, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. This is despite the significant increases that would have occurred for the latter countries in the period under review. Similarly, one encounters Nordic countries among the most popular host countries with this approach. In southern Europe, Malta and Portugal will stand out.
Turkey and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will fall to the bottom of the ranking. This can be explained in part by the fact that these countries are relatively new to their role as the host of Erasmus, but it certainly has to do with the fact that their national languages are less common abroad, and even countries like Greece and Bulgaria use a different alphabet.
Some specialize in the role of Erasmus hosts
It was noted that some countries “specialize” in receiving people from abroad. In other words: the number of guest students from abroad is much higher in these countries than the number of those who pack their bags and travel abroad on their side. This is the case in the Nordic countries. These will be some of the most popular Erasmus hosts due to the quality of their higher education institutions. The United Kingdom and Ireland are also identified because of their national language.
In other countries, such as Greece, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania, the relationship was completely opposite.
A similar trend can be observed in Italy, France and Germany. On the other hand, this may be a sign of a growing trend to study abroad. On the other hand, it can refer to increased brain drain, and creeping brain drain.