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Erasmus Student Prize

Erasmus Student Prizewinner 2009
2009 winner Nuala McKay (left) with Dr Maeve McCusker, French Studies, Queen's, and David Hibler, Erasmus Programme Manager, British Council

Erasmus Prize Competition

The British Council holds an annual Erasmus Essay and Photography Competition for Erasmus participants from the previous academic year.  The closing date for the competition is usually the end of September each year.

This is an opportunity for Erasmus participants (students and staff) to receive recognition for their time abroad from their institution and the British Council. Institutions select their top entries from which the British Council then select the overall winners. The top three overall winners from all categories are invited to attend a special prize event at the British Council headquarters in London to accept their awards and prizes.

Click here for more information at the British Council website


Queen's Student wins UK Erasmus Student Prize 2013

Ellen Cameron won the national British Council "Your Story" Essay prize 2013. In her essay, Ellen wrote:

"Through Erasmus and my time away I feel that I have experienced life outside of the bubble in which I lived; my horizons are continually expanding. When you go on an Erasmus adventure, you don't just discover the country you move to, but that of each of the rest of your Erasmus group. It is the fushion of culture. It is celebrating Pancake Tuesday with your Mexican housemates. It is being taught Brazilian recipes in your Romanian friends' flat. It is joining the Spanish side to support an Australian friend at a basketball league match. One of the best quotations I have heard this last year is that 'the limits of your language are the limits of your world'. The borders of my country are no longer the limits of my world either."

Where a student is considering undertaking an Erasmus programme in the future, Ellen also adds a few words of advice:

"...for any student, and especially language students,..take an active role in deciding where you want to go and what you want to do. Do a bit of research on the area and make sure it meets all your requirements - good transport links if you want to travel, organisations that you can get involved in, etc. because you have the potential to go any place you want. Don't waste that opportunity."


Queen's Student wins UK Erasmus Student Prize 2009

A Queen’s University student has won a national award from the British Council for her account of seven months living and working in France.

Nuala McKay, from Randalstown, was named the overall UK Erasmus student essay prize winner for 2009 at the award ceremony in London, after submitting a piece on her time abroad. Her success has made it two in a row for Queen’s. Last year Law and French student Patrick Cassidy, from south Belfast, won the national award.

A final year French and English student, Nuala lived and worked in a small town called Pont-à-Mousson, in the Nancy-Metz region in the northeast of France, during the 2008-09 academic year. 

Having been nominated as the winning Erasmus essay entrant from Queen’s, she scooped the national award and  Erasmus ‘Stars’ trophy by delivering a presentation at the award ceremony on her experience of living and studying in France.

She said: "I had the time of my life and benefited tremendously from my placement. I had the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills and visit new places, and my confidence has increased immensely in many ways.”

Congratulating Nuala, Cathy McEachern, Erasmus co-ordinator at Queen’s, said: “Nuala’s winning entry highlights what a wonderful experience living in another country can be. We hope that her success will inspire many more students to participate in the Erasmus programme.”

Dr Janice Carruthers, Head of French Studies, said: “We are delighted that Nuala has won this prestigious award. The year abroad is one of the most rewarding aspects of a languages degree, both linguistically and personally, and Nuala certainly made the most of the experience”.

Erasmus, administered in the United Kingdom by the British Council, is the European Union’s flagship exchange programme, enabling students and staff in higher education to study or work in another European country.

Each year up to 80 Queen’s students take part in the Erasmus scheme, studying at universities all over Europe. Another 120 Queen's students undertake Erasmus work placements in enterprises and industry across Europe.

Click here to read Nuala's winning entry.

To find out more about Erasmus opportunities for Queen’s students, contact the International Office at, or visit

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