Should I stay or should I go? debate report by Francesca Buonpane and Prisca Ciaramella

This time our class debate focused on Erasmus, a European Union student exchange programme which has so many reasonable pros and cons that it always constitutes a lively topic of discussion.

Carmen and Federico spoke in favour of  it. They defended the fact that being fully immersed in a different culture gives you the opportunity to improve foreign language skills and experiment with traditions and habits. Carmen, who is a current Erasmus student from Spain, told us about the Erasmus Project Association, which organizes parties, events and meetings for Erasmus students from all over the world so that you can not only get involved in the singular universe of the country you are currently living in, but also learn everything about the traditions of the people you meet there.

Federico claimed that such an experience gives you the possibility to enjoy a new life, with new rhythms, food, architecture and the individual story behind every single person you meet abroad. It has also the considerable perk of making you more independent and stronger. Their presentations were brief and concise but also very interesting and dynamic thanks to Roberto, a member of the audience, who shared his own Erasmus experience in support of them.

Claudia, Leda and Luciana spoke against the motion. According to them, the Erasmus Programme may not be good for students and they listed some of its possible problems. First of all, it costs a lot. Students who want to go to study abroad have to pay tuition fees, two airline tickets, text books and the rent of their flats every month while they are there. This means students may have economic problems during their stay abroad, so the Erasmus Programme seems too expensive.

Another disadvantage is that Erasmus students have to study in a university which may have a very different study method and organisation. Some students may therefore have trouble adapting, although this is a subjective matter. Erasmus students can usually only take a few exams (two or three) during their stay abroad, and there is a risk they could lag behind with their exams once back home. Another problem is that Erasmus students are often unsure whether the exams they take abroad will be recognised by their home university; if not, this would create a slowdown in their academic progress, with repercussions on their graduation schedule.

We personally think their opinions were well structured and absolutely reasonable since the possibility of having your graduation delayed for months is a real waste of money, energy and time.

Both groups were so clear and detailed in their argumentation that only two questions were asked during question time. The first for the against group was about the difficulties of gathering all the documents needed for the Erasmus application form, while the second for the group in favour was about the possibility of cultural shock once a student arrives in a new country. Both the teams answered easily, and once the speakers had finished, the audience voted. The group supporting the Erasmus project, with Carmen and Federico, won the debate, but also the against group, with Claudia, Luciana and Leda, got a conspicuous number of votes.

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