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Unique graduation celebrates strength of Scottish-Euro ties

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As the new academic year got under way this week (5 to 9 September), 31 students from 16 countries graduated from the University of St Andrews as part of the Erasmus EU student exchange programme.

Supported by European funding via Erasmus Plus the graduates completed a two-year programme delivered by a consortium of 10 international universities, seven of which are from European countries, including Italy, Portugal, Spain, Poland and France, and three from the Americas. The Masters programme at St Andrews specialises in traditional humanities with a modern languages background, focusing on the areas of cultural identities and comparative literature.

Graduates of the Erasmus Mundus MLitt in Crossways in Cultural Narratives studied three languages at three different institutions.

Spanish Lecturer and St Andrews co-ordinator of the programme, Professor Gustavo San Román, told the students in his graduation address: “In the last two years you travelled more, and in more depth, than most people in world history.” He went on to tell the graduates that the Crossways postgraduate degree provided one of the best platforms available to make them “literally, citizens of the world”.

St Andrews is one of four founding member universities of this collaborative degree, which was established at the University of Perpignan in 2003. The universities were St Andrews, Sheffield, New Lisbon and Bergamo. The project was chosen for funding by the EU in 2004 and began in 2005. Professor San Román said thatwithout European funding at its origin the project would not have come about.

The Erasmus exchange programme, established in 1987, combines all the EU’s current student mobility schemes for education, training, youth and sport. A new programme, Erasmus Plus, was started in January 2014.

There is concern that the future of the Erasmus exchange programme may be under threat due to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

In a statement about Brexit the university consortium reassured students that there would be no increase in fees before 2018 and that students with Erasmus Mundus scholarships would continue receiving their scholarships for the duration of their studies. The consortium also confirmed that there would be no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus programme, despite the UK’s intention to leave the EU, and reassured students that continuing membership of Erasmus is possible beyond Brexit.

Professor San Román was optimistic about the future of the programme: “We hope and believe that the UK will continue to be a member of the Erasmus programme, but this is of course to be negotiated. It would certainly be a pity not to be able to be part of a programme such as this one, which St Andrews contributed to creating and which has gone from strength to strength in its 11-year long history,” he said.


Notes to news editors

More information is available on the Erasmus Mundus programme, the Erasmus Mundus Masters Crossways in Cultural Narratives and the MLitt in Crossways in Cultural Narratives offered at the University of St Andrews; the programme can also be followed on Facebook.

Image caption: MLitt in Crossways in Cultural Narratives graduates celebrate at the Byre Theatre

The 31 graduating students were from: Germany, Brazil, Mauritius, Serbia, Portugal, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, France, Macedonia, Spain, Kazakhstan, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 46 2530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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