A total of 1,708 Irish third-level students spent periods of study ranging from three to 12 months in other EU and associated countries as part of a European student exchange scheme in 2001-2002 – the highest number since the programme’s introduction.
In addition, 151 teachers from Ireland spent periods abroad in 2001-2002 as part of the Socrates-Erasmus Student Mobility Programme. This represents an increase of 14.4pc over 2000-2001.
The number of Irish students and teachers travelling to other countries was above the average of the EU member states and the European Free Trade Association countries, which are covered by the scheme. A total of 3,231 students came to Ireland under the programme, mainly from France, Germany and Spain.
More than half (53.6pc) of Irish students travel to France and Germany with Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands the next most popular locations. Business studies and management science are the most popular subject areas for outgoing Erasmus Irish students (37pc) and a further 19pc are students of languages and philological sciences.
The figures are contained in the Report on European Programmes 2002 published by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which is the Irish national agency for the programme.
By Brian Skelly