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Brexit and Semesters Abroad

Three Questions to Silke Viol on the Impact of Brexit on the Erasmus+ Program

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Portrait photo of a blonde woman. © Aliona Kardash​/​TU Dort­mund
Silke Viol is Deputy Director of the International Office and Erasmus+ Institutional Coordinator at TU Dort­mund University.

On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom left the European Union. Silke Viol, Deputy Director of the International Office and Erasmus+ Institutional Coordinator at TU Dort­mund University, explains what con­se­quences Brexit will have for the Erasmus+ Mobility Program.

Ms. Viol, the United Kingdom is a very popular destination for students of TU Dort­mund University who want to complete a semester or an internship abroad. And students from the United Kingdom come to Dort­mund too. What impact will Brexit have on the exchange of students between the EU and the United Kingdom?

For students currently undertaking a semester abroad or an internship in the United Kingdom nothing will change: Their Erasmus+ Mobility Grant will continue to be paid after 31 January too. Furthermore, at the end of December 2019 the British House of Commons voted in favor of the agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Among others, it’s set down in this agreement that the Erasmus+ pro­gram will continue without restriction until the end of the current program period on 31.12.2020. The Brexit agreement was ratified in this form by the European Parliament and the European Council, so nothing will change for those people completing an Erasmus semester in the United Kingdom up until the end of the year.

If there should be no possibility from 2021 onwards for the United Kingdom to continue to take part in the program, for example as an associated partner, the number of students, lecturers, and trainees undertaking an exchange between the United Kingdom and EU will drastically decline.

Will there be any possibility in future to complete an exchange semester in the United Kingdom?

There could be a special agreement with the United Kingdom beyond 31.12.2020 that would enable its further participation in EU programs. However, at present a possible membership as what is known as an associated third country is also under discussion. Third countries can either participate in the entire Erasmus+ program or only parts of it. There is therefore hope, but unfortunately no official decision with the exact details has been announced so far.

TU Dort­mund University has already entered into several cooperation agreements with British partner universities at faculty level outside the Erasmus+ program. This means that students of some faculties at TU Dort­mund University can apply for a place at a partner uni­ver­si­ty in the United Kingdom in future too without having to pay tuition fees. This naturally also applies in reverse for British students who would like to complete an exchange semester at TU Dort­mund University. However, other advantages offered by the Erasmus+ program, such as the Mobility Grant, are then no longer available.

With regard to Erasmus+ internships, the United Kingdom ranks top among the most popular destinations. Here it will be far more difficult in future for students to obtain funding.

What do you advise students of TU Dort­mund University who would like to speak English during their semester abroad?

There’s a huge range of possibilities for exchanges. For example, TU Dort­mund University has excellent contacts to universities in the USA – our high number of exchange students who go there or come from there is unique in NRW. Our membership in the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) opens up inexpensive opportunities worldwide for Dort­mund students to undertake a visit abroad. In addition, the faculties have Erasmus+ partnerships with Scandinavian countries or the Netherlands, which often offer English-taught courses. My advice: Enquire in good time and stay flexible!

Further in­for­mation can be found on the website of the International Office of TU Dort­mund University.


About Silke Viol

Silke Viol completed her First State Examination at TU Dort­mund University and then worked for a year in the USA as adjunct professor for German as a Foreign Language. She has coordinated the Erasmus+ program as Institutional Coordinator at TU Dort­mund University since 2002 and is also an Erasmus+ expert of the German Academic Exchange Service. Ms. Viol is Deputy Director of the International Office and responsible, among others, for exchange students who come to TU Dort­mund University in the framework of the overseas programs.

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

Dort­mund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dort­mund Airport to TU Dort­mund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dort­mund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more in­for­mation). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dort­mund Airport.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.