Going on Erasmus may involve quite a bit of bureaucracy. There’s the Learning Agreement, grant contract and other documents to complete, not to mention moving to another country and getting your life together there. What’s more, I often have a habit of making things difficult for myself when it comes to bureaucracy. For the purpose of education and amusement, here’s the steps I went through to get my Erasmus grant contract signed for my exchange from the University of Edinburgh to Sciences Po Paris.
- To get monthly financial support from the EU for my Erasmus exchange, I filled in my details on the University of Edinburgh service. I gave my name, bank account details, address of the bank, start and end date of the exchange, and the destination university.
- The University of Edinburgh informed me that for a student studying at a UK university, the grant can only be paid to a British bank account. Because I plan to mainly use my Finnish card in France, I had entered my Finnish account details. I replaced the details and re-uploaded the document.
- Because my parents’ income is below the national average, I also applied for the supplementary grant, which means extra support. The University of Edinburgh requested me for additional documentation to prove this. I had to prove my parents’ relationship to me, and send documentation of their income.
- Additionally, I was requested to fill in a separate supplementary grant application form. I filled in the form and sent it to the university.
- For proof of my parents’ relationship to me, a birth certificate was requested. However, to my knowledge, Finnish birth certificates don’t display the kind of information requested. I asked the University of Edinburgh if an excerpt from the population register (“Official Certificate”) would be acceptable instead. The university said that this would be acceptable ‘if for any reason I’m unable to send a birth certificate’.
- I requested an English-language Official Certificate from my church in Finland as a proof of my relationship to my parents. This was accepted, but unfortunately the document failed to state that my parents were divorced, which was my justification for not accounting for my father’s income in my original statement of my parents’ income, or listing him as a parent in my supplementary grant application.
- My mother got me an English translation of the court decision confirming her divorce from my father. This was accepted.
- I attempted to provide a scanned copy of my mother’s taxation certification, and a self-made translation of the relevant bits, as proof of my mother’s income. However, the University of Edinburgh requested an official translation of the document.
- With the help of my mother, I got a scanned copy of the official English translation of the document, provided by the Finnish tax administration. This was accepted.
- Finally, I was requested to update the original grant application PDF document by manually ticking the box indicating eligibility for the supplementary grant, and resend. I followed the instructions, and this was accepted.
Of the two main documents that you need to complete, the Erasmus grant application was the easier one. The process of completing the Learning Agreement is still underway, and that’s the more difficult one. If I get it accepted, I’ll count the number of steps needed to complete that, too!