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02 October 2009
A Cardiff student has been chosen to represent the UK at a European conference that will celebrate the popular exchange programme Erasmus and address ways for the scheme to develop in the future.
Kate Samways, a fourth-year undergraduate at the School of European Studies was selected by the European Commission as the UK’s representative for ‘the two-millionth student’ in recognition of the Erasmus programme achieving two million participating students.
Run by the British Council, the Erasmus programme allows students a study period and/or a work placement in one of 30 European countries as part of their degree.
In order to mark the two million milestone, each of the countries participating in the programme selected one student to become their two-millionth representative and take part in the upcoming conference, "Erasmus – the way forward", which will take place in Lund, Sweden, from 5 to 6 October 2009.
Commenting on Kate’s selection, Rose Matthews, Study Abroad Coordinator at the University’s International Relations Division said: "We were delighted to hear that Kate Samways has been chosen to represent the UK for the two millionth Erasmus student. Kate represents all that is positive about the Erasmus programme, having undertaken a study period and a work placement as part of her degree.
"Cardiff University has a long tradition of sending students abroad through the Erasmus programme and we believe that attendance on an Erasmus placement benefits both the student and the institution. The transferable skills that students develop through studying abroad greatly enhance their CV, helping them become more attractive to employers - particularly important in today's increasingly competitive graduate employment market. We congratulate Kate on this wonderful achievement."
As part of the Erasmus programme Kate went on a work placement as an IT English Language Assistant in Millau, South France, teaching disabled adults for six months and then to study in Venice for four months.
Kate said of her Erasmus experience: "I got such a sense of achievement and independence from making a real life for myself in a place which is so different to my life at home. I relished the challenge, knowing that the whole idea of Erasmus is to expand your horizons."
Simon Williams, Head of EU Programmes at the British Council, said: "It is clear through Kate’s experience that Erasmus students really do gain so much more than academic recognition. By integrating themselves into their new surroundings and getting involved, they become a real asset to their host community, broadening their own life experience as well as those of the people whose lives they touch along the way. Kate’s story is representative of the growing number of UK students who take part in this excellent programme. Not only does it offer academic, professional and personal development, but it helps young people to better understand and work with people from other cultures and all walks of life. It is great to see this being understood by an increasing number of students in the UK and across Europe."
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