The Belgian city of Ghent has been named 'Erasmus Destination of the Year 2023', beating popular student destinations in Spain, Italy and France.
Ghent was awarded the title 'Erasmus Destination of the Year 2023' at the Erasmus Generation Meeting earlier in April. It was recognised as the city where international students have the best experience.
"We came out ahead of Vienna (Austria), Valencia (Spain), Toulouse (France) and Padua (Italy) in the final. We were chosen as the top destination by the European Commission and representatives of various international student associations," explained Frederik De Decker of the University of Ghent (UGent).
Representatives of the city's student body made a short presentation to highlight the benefits of studying there. "We take care of students really well and offer support for the most pressing challenges, such as housing. It is not easy for international students to find a room in Ghent."
The award will ensure that Ghent is on the radar for European students considering an exchange, with De Decker expecting the result to increase interest in studying there. "We expect this to have an impact. Certainly, there is still room to receive more international students at UGent. There are 1,500 Erasmus students in Ghent every year, that could be a little more."
Ghent is especially popular for Erasmus students from Spain and Poland. "Germans and French students are well-represented as well. We also have collaborations with smaller countries such as Estonia and Sweden and see now also larger groups coming from there."
The Erasmus programme was created 35 years ago and a year later (1989) the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) was founded in Ghent – an international student association to help welcome new students in the various host countries.
The association now has almost 14,000 members. 12 million people have already taken part in Erasmus across Europe. While this was initially only an option for students, it is now also possible for teachers, professors or lecturers to also do Erasmus.