NEWS

EU portal opens for Europeans seeking education abroad

Enthusiastic Europeans seeking new experiences in other countries will be able to boost the background research for their ventures from next Tuesday when the European Commission’s new Internet portal on education and training opportunities across Europe is launched in Brussels by EU Commissioner Viviane Reding. The Portal on Learning Opportunities Throughout the European Space (Ploteus) offers information on education and training programs in 30 countries on a website (www.ploteus.net) which is easy and relatively fast to navigate – Ploteus invokes the ancient Greek word for navigator – and which is currently accessible in English and French (a Greek version is currently under construction, along with Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish and Finnish sites). «The purpose of Ploteus, just like that of EURES (the EC’s database on job opportunities, which is linked to Ploteus) is to put into effect the right to freedom of movement for European citizens by providing the necessary information,» the introduction to the website notes. And indeed, site visitors can conduct detailed searches – for specific courses, in particular regions of one’s target destination – by clicking on the first of five links on the website titled «Learning Opportunities.» This link leads to a collection of almost 4,000 sub-links to national or regional databases and to the websites of educational or training institutions in 30 European countries, according to an EC press release which highlights the particular link as the most important feature of Ploteus. The site’s second link, «Education Systems,» provides descriptions about the structure of educational systems in different countries and explains the significance of foreign diplomas and the situation with tuition fees and grants. The descriptions will be available in 11 different languages from next week, the press release said. Information about all types of exchange opportunities – from specific educational courses such as Erasmus programs, traineeships in companies, and participation in European voluntary programs – can be gained by accessing Ploteus’s third link. The site’s fourth link provides the details of national guidance centers in 30 countries for those seeking further information and vocational counseling. The fifth and final link is perhaps the most practical, offering hints for moving to a different country, including information on the cost of living as well as on tax and social security issues.