by Mario Villani
The experience of learning a European language in the country where its spoken often soundsvery tempting. If it is supported by the EU, then it is already turning into a tangible possibility. However, benefits don’t just stop here.
There is financial support also at your disposal. So, once you get any Erasmus-LLP (Erasmus, Socrates, Erasmus Placement) scholarship, you are eligible for applying to any EILC course within the country you have chosen. But first of all, let’s start with some short explanation of EILC.
EILC means Erasmus intensive language course; these are courses that usually last from 2-3 up to 6 weeks (according to your level of knowledge of the language) and are intended to give a basic preparation with the language as well as the culture you are going to deal with during your stay. For each student attending an EILC course, the LLP Agency will provide in addition to your Erasmus scholarship 500 Euros just to cover the expenses you are going to deal with.
Why should you do an Erasmus language course?
First of all, the institutions organising the EILCs are really meticulously selected by the LLP-Agency. Their experience usually provides you with:
- An easier way to adjust to the language and culture of the country you are going to visit and arrive a couple of weeks, before most of the other students (not all the Erasmus students attend the EILC) arrive
- Trips and other really crazy cultural events are organised and there you will get to know many people that you are going to stay with for the rest of your Erasmus period
- The 500 Euro grant covers some of your expenses, while it gives you the opportunity to invest in other objects, hobbies or even souvenirs
- You will get a certificate stating the level of the language you have achieved after the final test. The better you perform, the higher will be the grade of the certificate. Mind that this certificate is released from an official institution; therefore it is very useful for your CV!
Eligible countries for EILC
Countries within the European community where you can apply for an EILC are those whose languages are less known and less spread in the world as:
Belgium (Dutch), Bulgaria (Bulgarian), Croatia (Croatian), Cyprus (Greek), Czech Republic (Czech), Denmark (Danish), Estonia (Estonian), Finland (Finnish and Swedish), Greece (Greek), Hungary (Hungarian), Iceland (Icelandic), Italy (Italian), Latvia (Latvian), Lithuania (Lithuanian), Malta (Maltese), the Netherlands (Dutch), Norway (Norwegian), Poland (Polish), Portugal (Portuguese), Romania (Romanian), Slovakia (Slovak), Slovenia (Slovenian), Spain (Catalan , Valencian, Basque and Galician), Sweden (Swedish), Switzerland (Italian) and Turkey (Turkish).
So unfortunately, forget about an EILC course in a country like Spain, France or Germany! Just to be clear.
Another common mistake is confusing the EILC courses with all the others -free or not- courses that universities arrange for the new incoming students. These are not connected to the EILC programme and you won’t receive any grant for them!
How to apply for an Erasmus language course
Applying for an EILC is a little complicated but not impossible. First of all, you have to know in time, as early as possible if you have been selected for your destination, and this country is one of the countries appearing on the list I have written above.
If yes, then you're in luck! Students who apply first will be given priority for the desired destination. Therefore, better be quick with your application!
This is how it works:
- Check out on the internet using Google with the key word “EILC XYZ” where XYZ is the name of the country you applied for
- Mind that the previous step is meant for a reason: Not all the universities are eligible for arranging EILC courses and you can choose a university even if it is not the one you are going to have your ERASMUS in!
- Once you have a choice of 1-2 institutions you write them in this form.
- Check out carefully the deadlines of the institutions you have selected, because if they are passed already, your form might be rejected
- Send this form to your Erasmus office’s delegate who has to forward it to the institutions you have chosen and written in the form.
Once you accomplished all the previous steps, you wait and see what happens. If you are selected you will surely be contacted by email from the institutions you have chosen and receive further instructions.