Study opportunities across Europe with YUFE

We are part of the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) Alliance.

Essex is one of ten young universities helping to create one of the first true European Universities through the Young University for the Future of Europe (YUFE) Alliance. We’re working with partners from higher education, and the non-governmental and private sector to shape the future of European higher education by establishing a European University that's open to all.

How it works

If you're an undergraduate student in your second year or above, or a postgraduate student, the YUFE Student journey offers you the opportunity to engage with the expertise of ten leading, research-driven institutions and to connect with a wider student community across Europe.

You compile your own curriculum of academic and language courses, professional development training, and civic engagement opportunities offered across the ten YUFE universities. The YUFE Student Journey also offers you opportunities to volunteer or follow internships. The courses and activities available cover a wide range of subject areas and are hosted either online via the YUFE Virtual Campus or in-person at the hosting institution.

You can tailor your YUFE Student Journey to develop the skills that will help you achieve your long-term goals. YUFE study can be taken alongside your degree, be integrated and become a recognised part of your degree, or you can include a mix of these two options.

It’s up to you how many opportunities you take advantage of and at what pace you complete your chosen studies, taking up to two years. YUFE recognises and rewards each activity you participate in by awarding certificates and Stars upon completion.

Studying with YUFE is free, however travel and accommodation costs may be incurred if you select courses that are delivered in-person at a partner institution.

View the catalogue of YUFE courses and training opportunities

"I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the YUFE programme. It has offered me the chance to transmit knowledge about something I am really passionate about. I would encourage all students to be adventurous and give it a go!"
Professor Maria Cristina Fumagalli Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies

Applying to take part in the YUFE Student Journey

The next YUFE Student Journey application round is open from 12 September – 30 October 2022.

If you’re an undergraduate student at the University of Essex, you must have completed your first year of study (achieving a minimum mark of 50). All students studying at a YUFE university must have an English language level of B2 or higher.

As the YUFE Student Journey is still in its pilot phase, each university in the YUFE partnership is restricted to submitting 60 applications, from which 40 students will be selected to participate based on their motivation. We recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

To apply, complete the application form on the YUFE Student Portal of the YUFE Virtual Campus. You will need to create an account to access the form. Candidates will have to upload their details, along with motivation letter and sign a co-creation agreement.


Apply for the YUFE Student Journey

Funding opportunity

For the second year running, we have been awarded Turing Scheme funding allowing us to support more students to gain an international experience during 2022-2023. Applications to YUFE made by 7 October will be eligible for consideration for this funding. If you meet the criteria, the Essex Abroad team will contact you directly.

My YUFE student experience

Phoenix Chilvers

Phoenix Chilvers participated in the YUFE Student Journey during the second year of their International Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at the University of Essex. During this time, they were also the LGBTQ+ Officer for the Essex Students' Union and student representative for the YUFE Alliance.

Tell us about your involvement with the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) Alliance

I’m one of three YUFE student representatives from the University of Essex, and I’m involved in the Student Journey work package. This involves putting across students’ views and feedback, to give the group student insight, for example, if a new course or initiative is introduced. I was supposed to be on a placement in Nepal, but it was cancelled due to COVID, so I wanted to use that time to keep busy and stay sane and applied to take up the YUFE Introduction Offer. This involves taking up to three courses from October 2020 to January 2021 at a YUFE alliance university, including a language option, that you study alongside your main degree course at Essex.

Which YUFE Introduction Offer courses have you chosen, and why?

For my language option I’m studying German at the University of Bremen. I’m also studying International Humanitarian Law at the University of Nicholas Copernicus in Poland, and an Introduction to Gender Studies at the University of Madrid. It’s an interesting mixture, and it’s good to have the opportunity to do extra studies, and learn a new language as a beginner as I like to do a lot of different things at once.

What’s it like being in the very first cohort of 100 other students from across the YUFE Alliance?

Being able to study and have classes online does actually make it kind of easier, it's more direct and there’s less running around for me in my other roles on campus, so I can sit on my desk and focus and get more work done! We’ve had some YUFE welcome and introduction talks, they were really good; we had the chance to go into little breakout rooms on Zoom with others on our course, and we’ve all become friends, which is really cool. Just to be part of that bigger European community feels really good; talking to people and making friends, even if we're online, in different countries.

How is YUFE offering you new or different opportunities?

I started a degree course at another university a few years ago but wasn’t enjoying it – then came to Essex and it felt like home. I always like to learn and do new things, and any sort of connection to Europe, the better. Being able to study politics at Essex, at a time when there’s so much change in the world is amazing, and being able to explore more issues and subjects from a different angle that are law-related through my YUFE introduction is going to be really useful for me in future. Essex feels to me like a very European university. In my first year I lived with one other British student, and everyone else was from Latvia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and American. I love that we had more people from Europe than England! So it's cool just to have that sort of international feel about things, and I also see taking part in YUFE as a way of strengthening our links in the UK with Europe.

Beatrice Carniato

Beatrice Carniato participated in the YUFE Student Journey during the second year of her Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree at the University of Essex, choosing two modules from two different YUFE Alliance universities.

What modules have you chosen to study alongside your Essex degree?

The first is called Debating Development, which I’m taking at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. I didn't understand what it was about until I started it; it’s a debate series, open to not just students but also public citizens, and each year it takes a different theme to debate. This year it is all about decolonization, and different subjects within that, such as decolonizing ecological relations, decolonizing the curriculum, and decolonizing state intervention. It’s really interesting. The second is a module in International Humanitarian Law, which I’m taking at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland and sounded really interesting to complement my PPE degree subjects.

How did you hear about the opportunity to study with YUFE?

My degree at Essex means I get emails from three departments, and I hear a lot about what’s going on! So, when the Department of Economics emailed me about the Introduction Offer, I looked online to find out what YUFE was all about, and how I might get involved. It sounded to me a really interesting initiative. Once the application window was open, I applied straightaway!

How do you think these extra modules will benefit your other studies?

The International Humanitarian Law module, while it's not necessarily linked to my studies, was something that I was really interested in. And I've always wanted to study more Law-related topics. Colonialism and decolonizing is a topic I'm really passionate about, and it's actually really having a positive impact on my studies, because this year I'm taking ‘Capitalism and its Critics’ for Philosophy and ‘Principles of Social Justice’ for Government. It goes together really well with these subject areas.

What has it been like studying virtually?

I think it's really cool. I'm already benefiting from studying abroad, because I'm Italian, and I also studied for two years in the United States during high school. So I've always been happy to meet people with different ideas, with different mindsets, and with different values. I think that the more we know people who are different from us, the more accepting and tolerant we become. Having classes with people from Poland, for example, having never met anyone from Poland before, it's just really interesting to see how they talk about humanitarian law related to their own country from a perspective I wouldn’t have otherwise heard. Because the debate series is open to everyone, I also get the chance to talk with people from countries like India and South Africa too, some of whom are studying for Master’s degrees, and some work for NGOs. So it’s been interesting and helpful to meet people you’d never be in touch with otherwise.

How do you balance your time with extra studies?

I like to have a lot of things going on at the same time, but I try to maintain a good work balance. This term I have five modules, next term, I have four. The Debating Development module takes place in the evening, so it doesn’t take up too much time during the day. The International Humanitarian Law module involves just one class per week, so it’s not a huge commitment either.

Have you any other YUFE study plans on the horizon?

I have just been accepted onto the YUFE Diploma Supplement Track, which is great news. I have also this term attended two lectures as part of the YUFE Academy. It would be really nice to think that perhaps in the not too distant future, I could actually go and visit Nicholas Copernicus and Antwerp Universities.

What would you say to anyone who might be thinking of exploring opportunities with YUFE?

If you’re thinking you’re not sure you’re going to have time, or you can’t see how it’s going to benefit you, I’d say look into it because it's a good way to complement your studies. And a good way to push your learning into areas that you might not otherwise explore. It's a good opportunity, and it's all free!

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