Who has approached the Erasmus+ Programme once in life time has probably heard about sending, receiving/hosting and intermediary organisations, getting confused about it. In this article we’ll try to explain you the difference among these organisations and the role of each one of them.
Talking about Key Action 1 – Mobility of Individuals (including students, teachers and staff), the Erasmus+ Programme Guide refers to:
- Sending organisation: in charge of selecting students/teachers/staff and sending them abroad. This also includes grant payments, preparation, monitoring and recognition related to the mobility period.
- Receiving/Hosting organisation: in charge of receiving students/teachers/staff from abroad and offering them a study/traineeship programme or a programme of training activities, or benefiting from a teaching activity.
- Intermediary organisation: this is an organisation active in the labour market or in the fields of education, training and youth in the hosting Country, whose expertise allows it to assist the sending organisations or individual participants with administrative procedures, practical arrangements, matching apprentice/learner profiles with the needs of companies in case of traineeships, and preparing the participants.
To better understand how those organisations work when students (meant as individual participants) are concerned, let’s make an example.
Peter is an Engineering student from the University of Paris, who wants to have a traineeship abroad before graduating. Peter goes to the International Office of his University and he applies for an Erasmus+ Scholarship. Once his application has been accepted, the University (sending organisation) informs Peter that, in order to receive the scholarship and to move abroad, he has to find an hosting company in the foreign Country where to carry out his traineeship (receiving organisation).
From now on, Peter has at disposal two paths that can bring him to the same destination but in very different ways.
1) To arrange the Traineeship by himself
In this first case, even he doesn’t speak the language of the hosting Country, Peter has to search on the Internet for suitable companies working in his field of studies; once he finds a couple of interesting options, he begins to contact each company by phone or email trying to explain them his situation (he gained a grant from the University that allows him to have a training period abroad, they have to provide him some formal document, fill in and sign agreements, etc…). Many companies say they have to discuss it with the HR department, some others never reply, someone fastly replies that “they will let him know”. Peter hopes to receive a positive reply as soon as possible, otherwise he will loose the scholarship. Finally, after some long weeks of wait, a good new: an engineering company accepted Peter as a trainee!
It’s time to start preparing all the needed administrative documents: within the following 15 days Peter has to present to the University the Learning Agreement, a Letter of Acceptance, the training programme and some other official document signed by the hosting company, to proof that there is a traineeship waiting for him in the foreign Country (and to obtain the money grant). Peter stays positive: “No panic! Let’s press them to produce all the needed forms on time”. The process requires lots of efforts, due to delays and linguistic difficulties, but Peter succeeds! Two days before the deadline, Peter submits all the papers to the International Office.
Now it’s time to arrange the travel: booking the flight, looking for the accommodation, arranging the transfer from the airport, searching for practical info about the hosting city, sign up for some language course… “Actually, it’s more complicated than I was thinking!”. To find accommodation seems to be even more difficult than to find a traineeship: Peter doesn’t know neither the city or in which neigbourhood is better to live, he has no idea about cheaper quarters or property websites where to search a bedroom, he has difficulties to talk with owners and roommates because of the language… Once in the airport, how can he reach the accommodation? Who will be there to wait for him? Where can he attend some language lesson before to start the training? As always, Peter doesn’t discourage and despite of all obstacles, he is able to arrange everything (and not getting insane!).
He arrives in the hosting Country, starts the traineeship and after a while his University contacts him asking for the mid-term evaluation and the monitoring plan at the receiving company: “What is it?! Who is responsible for doing it? How to do it?”. Peter has to face new complications and to run after the person in charge at the receiving company to accomplish with his fulfillments. It’s hard, but he wins his battle against time! The last step to pass, when finishing the training period, it’s to obtain a final evaluation and the certification of the acquired competences: at this point, nothing scares him. Now Peter knows how it works and he is able to go further alone.
Well, Peter is back home and takes stock of his experience: the traineeship was very usefull, he has learnt a lot and gained new skills; the stay in a foreign Country was amazing, he has met many people and known new places; the only negative point was the logistic aspect: organising a training period abroad at distance, from home, thorough a computer, without knowing the foreign Country or the spoken language, it’s very very difficult!! Next time Peter will consider the possibility to engage an intermediary organisation…
2) To ask for the support of an Intermediary Organisation
In this case, Peter makes a fast research on the web looking for intermediary organisations that operate in the hosting country and deal with the arranging of traineeships for foreign students with an Erasmus+ scholarship. Peter finds some interesting agencies and he sends an email to each of them, asking for the services they offer and relative costs. Communication is always easy and fast: everyone speaks English! In a couple of days Peter has several budget proposals to choose among.
He decides for the intermediary organisation that offers more services: it will deal with the research of the hosting company, prepare all the documents, arrange the transfer from the airport, looking for accommodation, plan monitoring and evaluation sessions, mantain contacts with the receiving organisation and provide the final certifications. Can it be easier than that? Peter has to worry about nothing: the intermediary organisation is in charge for the whole process. Peter has only to book the flight, arrive at destination and enjoy his stay!
Everything clear now?
With this simple example, we hope to have clarified the differences among sending, receiving/hosting and intermediary organisations and the role of each one. Above all, we hope to have made you aware about what does it mean to do everything alone and the luck to have intermediary organisations that can help you in arranging a traineeship abroad, from the beginning to the end of your experience.
If you are wondering what INTERMOBEX can offer you as an Intermerdiary Organisation, please visit our section ABOUT US to discover all our services and don’t hesitate to contact us by email to ask more details.