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On paper, the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) is an alliance of ten universities and two non-academic partners (see image) that aim to positively shape the future of Europe through a regional cooperation program. This European education strategy consists of four focus areas that shape all the activities and courses offered: European Identity, Citizens‘ Well-Being, Digital Societies, and Sustainability. The alliance also has four fundamental values: Flexibility, diversity, inclusivity and self-directed learning paths.

The YUFE Alliance partners. Source: yufe.eu, 2024.

What does this mean in practice?

All of this was perfectly explained at the OPEN DAY LIVE SESSION. In case you couldn’t make it but are also curious about it, this is what you can expect from such an event:

The YUFE Education Coordinator and meeting host, Veronique Eurlings, explained in about an hour that the student journey is an opportunity to enrich or top up your academic curriculum. Through physical or online mobility facilities, you are encouraged to create your own personalized learning path, which honestly is really amazing!

You get to browse the Virtual Campus catalog and select courses or activities that you are really interested in for your career development. Nothing is imposed. You can even go beyond your discipline if that’s what you want. For example, you can attend an International Business course in Spain while also attending a Marine Biology seminar in Cyprus, and a language course in The Netherlands. The offer is astounding: 595 academic and 68 language courses (over 25% online) in academic year 23/24. The offer is open to all Bachelor, Master, and PhD students, even if you’re in your first year! And it is not (or not only) a program to go abroad, the difference between any other exchange program (like Erasmus) and YUFE is that for YUFE the physical mobility aspect is only one aspect. Even if you are not physically moving, you can still benefit through international classrooms, extracurricular activities, virtual courses, and civic engagement. But of course, if what you want is to spend some time abroad, you can also do it through the initiative and ask for the Erasmus scholarship as well, because they are both compatible. To me this sounds great.

There are just a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • The recognition of the courses as in acceptance of ECTS in the home program has to be discussed personally with the directors/board of examiners. It’s not really clear which courses may count as part of your studies. But it might still be worth it even if you can only participate without credits.
  • To be able to take part in all the courses and activities you first have to take 2,5 hours of YUFE induction courses.
  • There’s a maximum duration of four full consecutive semesters, so you kind of have to hurry up if you’re looking to get the YUFE Certificate or to achieve a specific goal inside of the program. What I mean by this is that there’s, for example, a YUFE Star System. This rewards specific learning goals that involve many tasks and hours of effort, which in the end give the participant four badges showing special efforts. It might be really bright on the curriculum.
  • English is the working language, at least for most of the academic courses, but language broadening is also one of the main areas of interest. There are many online courses and language cafés for that.

Now, the presentation was a perfect example of the kind of cooperation this program aims for, in the sense that it was divided into different parts or topics, each presented by a coordinator from a different university and country. Then, by the end of the presentation all participants could jump between 14 breakout rooms to interact with the coordinators of each university. I counted a total of 37 participants from Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, and the UK.

Testimonies of the experience

The question that was running through my head when I heard this ambitious initiative was: is this really feasible? To be honest, it sounds like a lot of work on top of your regular in-house courses. So I read the testimony of Yagoda Frost, a former YUFE student who managed to finish seven academic courses, multiple lectures, one language course, and challenge teams, gathering over 200 ECTS within only 5 months. She said the student journey was challenging for her, but also very rewarding.

An alumni perspective on YUFE. Source: yufe.eu, 2024.

I also talked to Manisha Bieber, an amazing young student in her final semester, and meeting co-host. She’s very enthusiastic about the program, and on top of her student journey she’s also part of the Student Forum. This instance consists of three invited or elected members of each participant university, so a total of 30 students, who divide into smaller groups to attend matters of the 2030 agenda, sustainability, among others. Manisha told me that being part of the YUFE Student Forum is a great opportunity for anyone looking to get some professional experience in a highly diverse environment while also having the chance to see the evolution of a young project where students are co-creators. She made it sound really fun.

Want to apply

So, if you can’t wait to study what you want all over Europe and connect with other international fellow students like them, you should definitely apply.

Applications are now open, and will be until May 24th, 2024 on the YUFE Virtual Campus. You just have to create an account and fill in the application form attaching the required documents. Important is that you’re currently enrolled in one of the partner universities and that you can prove a B2 level of English proficiency. No motivation letter needed, no max. number of students per university.

If you have any questions about the process or want to get more information about the program, please contact the support team at our Uni: yufe-admission@uni-bremen.de

You’re also invited to join their future free informative events.

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