When people talk about Brexit, not everyone shares the same optimism about what the future will bring.
The Erasmus exchange programme is something many students feared will come to an end following Britain’s departure from the EU.
On Friday October 20, Mark Rusklell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, and other Green politicians met in Pathfoot to talk about the future of Erasmus and the importance of studying abroad.
The presentation began with Per Bolund, Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs from the Green Party in Sweden, reflecting on his time as a student. Before Sweden had joined the EU, Bolund studied in Stirling as part of a study abroad programme, and has many fond memories here.
He said: “Being able to study abroad is a great experience and coming here allowed me to learn more about the culture of Scotland and the UK. Stirling is somewhere many different cultures come to study and that’s always been the case here.”
With 32 institutions across 15 countries in Europe, the Erasmus programme is something Stirling is keen to continue regardless of the uncertainties of Brexit. International Exchanges Manager, Jo Hagerty explained: “There will always be an oppertunity to study in Europe.” If any problems do arise in the future, then “we’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it.”
After the presentation, Mark Ruskell was “delighted with the optimism”. He explains that “the biggest problem with Brexit is the uncertainty. I know many EU nationals who originally came to Stirling to study and now live here. They aren’t sure if they’ll have to leave so we need to put pressure on the government to make sure that doesn’t happen”.
Ross Greer, Green MSP for West of Scotland added: “It’s not likely that this will happen, but Article 50 can be revoked. Scotland has more top universities per head of population than any other country so Europe doesn’t want to cut ties with us.”
To ensure that Erasmus continues, Greer informed Brig: “We will need to put pressure on the UK government with regards to the immigration system after Brexit and put pressure on the Scottish government for strategy.”