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Island nations most popular hosts for Erasmus+

Four of the five island nations in Europe are the top four hosts for the Erasmus+ programme, according to an analysis by Explained based on the latest data from Eurostat. The data from the academic year 2019/2020 shows that Malta, Iceland, Cyprus and Ireland hosted the most students and staff per capita through the European Union’s programme.

Tree chart showing participants per 100000 that were received by 40 European countries for the Erasmus+ programme during the academic year 2019/2020. Highlighted are the island nations of Malta, Iceland, Cyprus, Ireland and United Kingdom

Erasmus+, a flagship education and training initiative, is set up to support education, training, youth, and sport in Europe. The mobility program allows students, trainees, teachers and youth workers to spend a period of time studying, training, or volunteering abroad.

Malta, a small island nation in the Mediterranean with a population of just over half a million inhabitants, hosted over 16 000 students and staff, representing 3 118 participants per 100 000 population.

Iceland, the next most popular country, hosted 3 210 participants — more than three times fewer participants per capita compared to Malta. Cyprus and Ireland hosted more than five times fewer participants per capita, respectively. The UK — the fifth island nation — hosts fewer participants per capita following Brexit.

With more than 100 thousand participants, Spain hosted the highest number of people, followed by Italy and Germany.

Host countryTotal participantsParticipants per 100 000
Spain108 832230
Italy72 208121
Germany66 44880
United Kingdom60 13990
France49 49673
Poland38 866103
Portugal36 777357
Ireland27 942560
Netherlands25 435146
Czechia23 456219
Belgium21 662188
Finland19 904360
Austria19 346217
Greece18 184170
Sweden17 835172
Romania17 75292
Malta16 0703 118
Hungary15 642160
Denmark12 541215
Norway11 892221
Lithuania9 389336
Slovenia8 488404
Bulgaria8 261119
Croatia7 839194
Cyprus7 514622
Latvia6 275330
Estonia6 266471
Iceland3 210876
Georgia2 91878
Luxembourg2 776440
Serbia2 09330
North Macedonia1 97395
Ukraine1 7794
Armenia1 52752

Method and data

The data about the Erasmus+ programme can be found at The population data comes from The World Bank.

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