In what must surely be an unintended consequence, the UK is set to enjoy the company of several thousand additional 'Erasmus' students from a forthcoming rule change. The EU is now requiring language proficiency at level B2 - upper intermediate - for all the 10,000 annual places on the well-funded Scholarship stream. But given that the most popular EU language course is English, this will largely restrict Erasmus scholars to spending their time in the UK and Ireland.
This has not found favour with Eurostudents, who have come to see the Erasmus programme as a free travelling experience, and many of whom pick cheaper Euro nations such as Poland to eke out their Erasmus money. Very few actually study Polish, or Estonian, or Slovenian to B2 level.
Erasmus pays €375 a month to students visiting the UK, plus one-off sums of €250 and €300 respectively for finding accommodation and travel costs in addition to any higher education loans or grants the students already receive. Sites such as Erasmate allow them to swap cheap accommodation.
This is actually a good thing; the more Eurostudents who get to understand the British character, culture and way of life, the more friends we will have in Europe in the future. For once (and by accident) the EU has got something right.