Erasmus Mundus

Erasmus Mundus Forum is now open!

emf logo short

It has been three years since there was a new post on this blog for a number of factors, including a lack of contributors and the rise of Facebook as a messaging platform. But in the last three years, I’ve still been receiving email and people have continued posting comments on the FAQs page, often having conversations in the comments. This made me realise that there is a need for a place where applicants, incoming students and alumni can discuss. So I have teamed up with my friend Rhem to start this forum site.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Erasmus Mundus Forum.

It will take time to gain traction, and certainly my timing (at the tail end of the results period for the next intake) doesn’t help. I will need your support in the form of new topics and replies to existing threads. Can I count on you to get the ball rolling? One little post. It’s easy. Just connect using your Facebook or Twitter account if you don’t want to create a new username and password.

Whether you’re a prospective Erasmus Mundus applicant, current scholar or graduate, you can leave a message and connect with others like you. Come on over and be one of the founding posters on the forum! See you there!

Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Erasmus Mundus, Students | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Things to Prepare Before Leaving for Italy for an EMJD (and what you’ll need once you get there)

By Kate Dy, Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate on Globalisation, Europe & Multiculturalism

Kate Dy in Rome

The author (middle) with friends in Rome

I’ve been a scholar of some shape or form my entire life and I would like to think that I handle paperwork, bureaucracy, and ensuing stress quite well, but nothing quite prepared me for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program in Italy. If I sound weary, please don’t chalk it up to years of research, it’s actually only my first month here in Rome. But I have learned a lot through the on-going process, and this may be of help for anyone who’s in the same spot.

I would just want to put it out there that you shouldn’t be discouraged from applying to the EMJD GEM program because of the tons and tons of work you’ll have to do even before being able to do your research. Rather, take a deep breath and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel— or so I heard. No one has actually finished their EMJD GEM program as of writing this, so that may be just hearsay. That said, never allow anyone to tell you to be grateful for a scholarship and just shut up. The Erasmus Mundus programs choose their students because of merit and not because of poverty or pity or charity. We are allowed to have the same expectation of excellence from our hosts.

Unlike the Erasmus Mundus MOVER or EMMA programs, EMJDs are handled very differently. The main points of variance are that we are under employment contracts and that we’re pretty much thrown into the deep end of bureaucracy to fend for ourselves. While it’s true that PhD students are supposedly older and more mature, this doesn’t mean we automatically imbibe the knowledge of the ins and outs of Italian bureaucracy from the air!

If you suddenly find yourself as an EMJD scholar in Italy, or if you’re looking to be one, be sure to be prepared mentally, financially, and emotionally.

Before leaving your home country:

  1. Sign all the documents! No, seriously, double check all your contracts and sign everything required otherwise you may find yourself being penalized for technicality. In particular, for the EMJD program there will be four things to affix your signature to:
    1. A letter of acceptance, which you type, scan, and send yourself
    2. The EMJD GEM contract
    3. The Travel and Installation Fund (T&I Fund) contract. EMJD students are given 7500€ and the contract states that this is all our travel funding for the next three years and that we waive any further monetary requests
    4. Your university employment contract (which may be signed when you arrive)
  2. Find a place to stay in your host country. Often, such as in my case, universities don’t consider PhD students as “real” students and as such dormitories are unavailable. Sometimes universities have dedicated housing services that you make take advantage of, such as CasaLUISS in my case, but if not, ask around! Senior Erasmus Mundus people both Filipino and foreign are very friendly and you may even score a roomie.
  3. Book a plane ticket. You need this for your visa application. There is a dedicated Erasmus Mundus travel agency, but don’t rely on them too much— first of all, they rarely reply, and second, they don’t care about the best price and may take a larger chunk out of your T&I Fund than you would have wanted to spend.
  4. Get that visa.
  5. Make sure the embassy that issued your visa stamps everything. You will need it later on for your permesso di soggiorno (if in Italy) or the equivalent permit to say anywhere else. The embassy should give you the documents without you asking, but if they don’t, insist. I was not aware of this, and left Manila with nothing from the embassy then arrived in Rome to find all my fellow scholars with their respective stamped documents.
  6. If required, have the DFA authenticate all relevant documents (mainly school transcripts). Have all these documents translated into the language of your host country. Have these authenticated by the embassy. In the case of the Italian embassy, all of these are necessary and these processes are quite expensive and time-consuming. Be sure to allocate enough time and money, and bring good books–you’re in for a long wait.
  7. Pack everything but keep within the luggage limit! All Europe-bound carriers are rather strict. Come to think of it, all airlines are now rather strict.
  8. Photocopy everything you have. I mean everything. Have 1×1, 2×2, and passport size photos made. At least eight of each. Print out photos of family and friends as well, for your new home.
  9. Make sure you have enough money to survive for two months in your home country. If there’s space in your luggage, bring food as well. Instant noodles will tide you over the worst days.
  10. Say goodbye to Jollibee.

Upon arriving at your host country, in this case, Italy:

  1. Find your way to your home and avoid getting cheated by the cab driver. If you don’t have a home yet, find a place ASAP. Remember that September is the influx month for new students from all over the country and the world, so competition will be fierce.
  2. Inform your local contact point and your supervisor and the Central Executive Committee of your program and your course representatives and your embassy that you have arrived safely. Oh, and your family of course!
  3. Buy a SIM card and bus card. WIND is a good provider, for 10€ a month you can have 400 minutes of calls, 400 SMS, and unlimited internet. This is pre-paid, so don’t forget to load up. Also find your closest groceries, bus stop, police station, emergency room, wet market, garbage bin, and so on.
  4. Open a bank account immediately, so as to receive your salary as soon as possible. But don’t expect anything before two months. Seriously. Don’t. For EMJD GEM students, UniCredit is your best bet as it’s the bank the school uses so there are fewer delays with your stipend.
  5. Apply for your Permesso di Soggiorno. Ask your university for help, but if they are unable to help due to bureaucratic matters, suck it up and fend for yourself.
  6. Apply for your Tessera Sanitaria. As employees who are taxed more than 50% of our income, EMJD students have the right to the national health service. EMJD GEM students have a declared income of 2800€, but what we end up receiving monthly is around 1500€, and even less during December. Be prepared to devote two weeks to this process, more if you have specific medical concerns like diabetes or if you have your family in Italy with you.
  7. Apply for a Carta d’Identita. This is basically a redundant identification document. Despair at the sheer amount of paperwork!
  8. And when this is all over, or whenever you need a break, be a tourist. Bureaucracy can sap the life out of the best of us, and believe me when I say the Italian system is one of the worst I’ve ever experienced in the world. You really don’t have much leeway either, as if you don’t put on a brave face and handle all the official things you may end up facing worse complications. That said, Rome is beautiful and travel around Europe is cheap so once you’re all settled and legal, go for it.
When in Rome...don't be ashamed to be a tourist!

When in Rome…don’t be ashamed to be a tourist!

[Admin’s note: While the views expressed in this post are the author’s own, I agree with the two-month rule on money when dealing with the Italians, having experienced it first-hand. Always have a contingency plan!]

Categories: Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe, Students | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Erasmus Mundus Philippines Statistics 2004-2013

Bar graph of EM Philippines stats compiled from EACEA data.

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Master’s Students 2 12 31 16 38 27 24 17 27 31
Doctorate Candidates  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA 0 2 1 4
Scholars (Academics) 0 1 0 2 3 1 2 NA  NA  NA
Categories: Erasmus Mundus | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

European Higher Education Fair 2012 Manila


Filipino Erasmus Mundus alumni participated in the recent European Higher Education Fair at the Peninsula Manila. At the European Union booth, they answered questions of prospective applicants and provided useful information to fair attendees.

Read EMA SEA VP Shiella Balbutin’s recap of the event on the EMA website.

Categories: Alumni, Erasmus Mundus, Other events | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prague plays host to EMA’s 6th General Assembly

By: Shiella C. Balbutin, EMA Southeast Asia Chapter VP


The beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic was the host of the Erasmus Mundus Association’s 6th General Assembly last June 22-23, 2012. The event was held at the Faculty of Education, Charles University.

Close to 160 participants from all over the world, who are members of the EMA Steering Committee, boards of EMA regional chapters, representatives of Erasmus Mundus courses, officers of the European Commission and other members of the association, gathered together for the annual event. As in the past, formal presentations and discussions are usual features at the GA. It opened with the welcome greetings from Radka Wilddova, Dean of the Faculty of Education of Charles University; Martine Dere from the Directorate General of Education and Culture of the European Commission; as well as from Jean Carlos Pelicano and Hady Abi-Nader, President and Vice-president of EMA.

Other presentations were from Jordi Curell, Director of Lifelong Learning: Higher Education and International Affairs of the European Commission; Katarina Nevedalova, member of the European Parliament and VP of the European Youth Forum; Jana Fiorito and Edith Genser, representatives from the Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission; and Tahia Devisscher, Erasmus Mundus Quality Advisory Board. Moreover, there was a discussion on the “Erasmus for All” proposal; voting session of the EMA statute; and the meetings of the service teams, professional networks and regional chapters.

Despite the packed two-day schedule, the GA also organized interesting social and cultural activities which delighted the participants. One of which was the “City Hunt”, conducted the day before the GA. During the game, participants were divided into groups and were given tasks to accomplish within a given period of time. It was a great way to establish camaraderie and to see the sights of Prague, albeit hurriedly.

The EMA-South East Asia Chapter Members from Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam

Other highlights of the event included the fellowship dinner on the boat while cruising along Vltava River and passing through Charles Bridge. The beautiful sunset and skyline of the city served as backdrop of the cruise.

The EMA-SEA VP presented the chapter’s accomplishments and plans during the “World Map Session”.

Moreover, it was a time of firsts. For the first time, the GA put the spotlight on the EMA Regional Chapters via the “World Map Session”. It featured the presentations of all chapter representatives wearing their traditional costumes. This certainly reinforced EMA’s rich cultural diversity. As VP of the South East Asia Chapter, I was tasked to introduce and present our chapter’s accomplishments and activities.

During “World Coffee Break”, the chapters showcased flags and delicacies from home (Shiella brought the famed Philippine dried mangoes)

Another first-time feature was the “World Coffee Break”. Prior to the event, we were requested to bring sweets from home and these were showcased and put on display at the chapter booths. It was a very interesting experience as the participants enjoyed sharing and eating the variety of food from different parts of the world. I brought the Philippines’ famous sweet dried mangoes and they were such big hits!

It was another productive and successful GA. It certainly proves that for all the members, finishing our EM courses is not the end but the beginning of a happy journey with EMA.


Read more about EMA alumna Shiella Balbutin’s Prague trip on her blog

Categories: Alumni, Erasmus Mundus, Meetings | 4 Comments

Results jitters

Hello, EM applicants!

I’ve noticed a lot of tension and excitement in the comments section lately pertaining to the results of the 2012-2013 intake. Because there is a lack of a proper forum for the topic, it’s inevitable that this blog is flooded with your updates, which we welcome.

One thing I would like to request for you is to be very patient. I know you’ve been waiting for a long time. I’ve been there and I know how it feels like. Don’t get stressed about things that are beyond your control and add to other applicants’ nervousness. Just state your update (or the lack thereof), but please don’t vent here. The results will greatly impact on your life for the next few years, for sure, but it’s not reasonable to expect an inter-country committee poring through hundreds of application to fit their timelines into yours. Some consortia have finished their processes ahead but don’t let that be your standard. Each consortium has its own timings, though they all have the same deadlines at the Commission.

If it’s any consolation, I only heard about the scholarship decision in late June. I believe a lot has improved since then (six years ago).

Good luck and keep us posted. We’d be happy to hear from you.



Your Admin

Categories: Announcements, Erasmus Mundus, Students | 1 Comment

Valentine’s in Sibiu

by Mari-An Santos

Valentine’s day is a big, commercial holiday in the Philippines. It is the day that causes traffic jams all over the metro. Sweets, flowers, hearts and pink and red abound in true commercialized style. It is an “imported” holiday, mostly propagated by the West. Here in Romania, it is slowly inching its way into the consciousness of locals, but there is a movement, if you will, that would rather propagate the celebration of Dragobete, a similar holiday held on the 24th of February (more on that later).

I learned from a few Erasmus friends that in Belgium, for example, majority of Belgians perceive Valentine’s Day as a commercial and marketing ploy; and that not all couples celebrate it. Those who do often go out to a restaurant and exchange gifts. Men often give women jewelry and red roses. It is also celebrated in Slovakia, where my friend reassures, the men are educated and you can find interesting conversation, as well as charming and fun—and with a wink, generally like Asian women.

In Pakistan, having a girlfriend or a boyfriend is not so common, so those who are in relationships usually have to covertly buy gifts and hide them from family members before giving them to their love interest. In the university, a single guy will hold out a rose to a girl that he likes.

A few days before the holiday, since some Erasmus students were already finished with their exams and were looking for something to do, our Facebook group page was abuzz with ideas on how to celebrate the occasion—mostly just an excuse to hold a party, but this time, with a specific theme. Ideas from the usual food and drinks to couples paired up to dance were thrown around. The international relations department got wind of the plans and before we knew it, we had a venue at the university canteen and the rector and vice-rector were set to attend the occasion! So from an informal gathering to hang out, we had to get at least a little dressed up, though thankfully, not necessarily in red and pink.

Each student pitched in some money for a few decorations and snacks. More than 50 of us were in attendance, with some Romanian students who were our friends as guests. We had a “paper roses” presentation, where each girl had a number and each guy picked a number from a bowl—and whoever picked the girl’s number would give her a paper rose. The guys thought of different styles, from getting down on one knee, to delivering a romantic soliloquy to one even playing the “My Heart Will Go On” on his harmonica.

There was also the apple-eating game where four couples raced to finish off an apple suspended on a string. Another, was a simplified dating game, where one girl chose from three guys and won…a rose and presented the guy a bar of chocolate. Some of the guys sang for the head of the international department and presented her with flowers. Then, we enjoyed some cakes from the international department and spent a few minutes dancing before heading back to the dormitory. The event seemed interesting enough that it was even featured in a local paper and website.

But the more interesting holiday is the local Valentine’s day that also celebrates the beginning of spring—even in these times of climate change. Dating back to the Dacian era (1st century-1st century CE), the practice is being heavily promoted, encouraging couples to resist the foreign, imported holiday in favor of the local one. Traditionally, in the countryside, girls and boys pick flowers and dance and sing together. Also, it is the time when a boy can express his love for a girl. A boy will run after a girl and if he catches up with her and kisses her, it is believed that their love will be strong for a year. I asked about the next year, and apparently, they do the process again. 🙂 Women also supposedly gather some remaining snow and use water from them to make potions. I have yet to find out a recipe. When I do, I’ll let you know. 😉

Meantime, I am told that more interesting celebrations are coming in the next few weeks, like Martisoare on 1 March and Women’s Day on 8 March. I will surely update you on those events.

Mari-An Santos is pursuing her Masters in Advertising and Brand at Universitatea “Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu in Romania under EMMA East.

Categories: Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe, Students | 4 Comments

Contributors wanted!

Are you an Erasmus Mundus student or alumnus with something to show or tell about your EM experience? We would be happy to hear from you. Share your stories, tips and photos with the Pinoy Erasmus Mundus blog. Citizenship is not an issue; non-Filipinos are welcome. Feel free to email your suggestions, proposals or drafts to

Categories: Alumni, Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe, Students | 1 Comment

Experiencing the World of Erasmus

by Sheryl Lozel Bico-Arreola

Students and staff in Gent

My year-and-a-half Erasmus Mundus experience was like living a dream adventure–pursuing higher education while traveling around the world!

Four years ago, I was surfing the internet when I came across the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus website and learned of the European Masters Courses being offered with scholarship grants. Scholarship coverage includes tuition fees, travel expenses, stipend, insurance and accommodation. So I said to myself, “Why not?”

I applied for one of the programs, EM Food Science, Technology and Nutrition ( and two months later, I was accepted. What a great way to realize a dream – pursuing a higher quality of education, European standards at that, and traveling at the same time to some of the most beautiful places in Europe!

The SEFOTECH.NUT program was participated in by students from the EU, US, and Third-Countries like the Philippines [ed’s note: Third-Country means outside of EU and EEA). Although English was our medium of instruction, an English language course was still offered to us to facilitate interaction among students of different cultures and languages. More importantly, a Dutch language course was offered for everyday situations.

The program was organized in a modular format. These modules were offered in specific partner institutions where the topics are most suited. I took the six compulsory modules at Catholic University of Applied Science Sint-Lieven (Belgium) and the four optional in three consortium partners: Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland), Hochschule Anhalt (Germany), and Universidade Catolica Portuguesa (Portugal). The modules enriched our skills and knowledge for us to understand the complex and important issues of the food industry. Learnings also integrate
the application of other technologies to food such as biotechnology, packaging, engineering and agriculture.

My scientific project, which is a requirement of the program, was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Alcina Morais of Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Portugal. With her perseverance and determination, we were able to publish two refereed journal articles!

To relieve ourselves from the rigors of studying, we were privileged to have endless possibilities in exploring the grandeur and wealth of cultures in the European Community. We could go on a weekend trip to some of the most beautiful cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Venice! A train ride across many cities, along the tranquil rivers, with majestic castles and mountains as the backdrop, offers a relaxing yet learning experience like no other. The architectural masterpieces we see only in school textbooks abound in every European town or city. And with one currency, the Euro, we could always take the trains, buses, or taxis and buy souvenirs from almost any part of Europe.

What an experience! European standards of higher education. Intercultural interaction. Magical mystery tours. True enough, Erasmus Mundus was well worth the trip!

Categories: Erasmus Mundus, Life in Europe | 5 Comments

European Union Higher Education Fair, February 16, 2011, RCBC PLAZA

Do you want to pursue your Master’s and Ph D Degrees in any of the European Union countries?

Get more information about your dream destination to study in the EU. Join us at the EU Higher Education Fair on 16 February 2011 at the La Salle Hall of the De La Salle University, at the 4th floor of the RCBC Plaza/Tower II!



A presentation of the European Union and the RCBC Plaza

British Council

Embassy of France

Embassy of Germany and Goethe Institut

Embassy of  Italy and Philippine-Italian Association

Embassy of Spain and Instituto Cervantes

Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines

With support from the EU Cultural Group in Manila

Oh my, Official Online Media Partner


11:00 a.m.  to 12:00 noon    STUDYING  IN SPAIN

Speakers:  Mr Javier Menendez, Spanish Embassy

Ms Isabel Fernández, Instituto Cervantes

12:00 noon to 1:00 pm STUDYING IN FRANCE: Programs, Scholarships and

Being a Foreign Student in France

Speaker: Ms Kyla Monique Alas, Embassy of France


Speakers: Mr Philip Arejola, Erasmus Mundus Scholar, Master in Global Studies

Atty. Dashell Yancha, Erasmus Mundus Scholar, MA in Human Rights Practice

Ms Rita Bustamante, EU Delegation to the Philippines

2:00 to 3:00 pm STUDYING IN GERMANY

Speakers:  Ms Davina Dy , German Embassy

Mr  Helmut Frielinghaus , Goethe-  Institut and DAAD

Mr Jed Tabamo , DAAD Scholar, Masters Degree in Spatial Planning for regions in Growing Economics

3:00 to 4:00 pm STUDYING  IN ITALY

Speakers: Ms Emanuela Adesini, Italian Embassy

Ms Cristina Moricca, Philippine-Italian Association


Speakers:  Mr Alec Ladanga, British Council

Mr Mike Cabigon, British Council

Attendance is free on a first-come, first-served basis!
RSVP by 11 February 2011:

Thelma Gecolea, Public Affairs Officer, EU Delegation to the Philippines

Phone 8595124. Mobile 09209441371. Email

Categories: Announcements, Erasmus Mundus, Other events | 2 Comments

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