In 1990 Suffolk College from Ipswich UK made the first contact with the University Hospital in Leiden, The Netherlands, to investigate the possibility of creating an exchange network for student radiographers. Contact was made with the ERASMUS office in Brussels and after several years of planning and preparation the first 21 students exchanged in ’94, between the UK (Suffolk College, Ipswich), Norway (Hogskole I Bergen) and The Netherlands (Hogeschool Haarlem)..
This number rapidly increased and now in 2019 over 2000 students have studied for a period of three months in another European country. At the moment 16 institutes in 14 countries participate.
Organization and management
In the first years the EU Erasmus programme gave financial support for the creation of `networks’. This implicated joined bids and reports to Brussels from the participating schools with regard to preparative meetings, student mobility and teacher exchanges.
A few years ago this policy from Brussels was changed and now partners sign bilateral contracts between their educational institutes. The representatives in the management team however decided to maintain the network structure to safeguard the progress made and the knowledge obtained over the years. Because Socrates/Erasmus introduced `thematic networks’ , which have a different purpose and structure than ours it was decided in 2002 to change our name from Erasmus radiography `network’ into Erasmus radiography `group’.
Every participating school has chosen a specific subject to highlight during the exchange period of three months. The exchange also includes clinical placements in radiology or radiotherapy departments. Alongside the academic and clinical education programme, cultural activities and events are organized to enable the students to learn as much as possible about their host country. Long before the exchange students have to study the language of the host country and on arrival an intensive language course is offered. After that students should be able to communicate on a basic level in the language of the host country. Short teacher exchanges between the partners are organized on a regular basis.
The management team consists of representatives from each partner institution and meets at least once a year to evaluate the last exchange, to prepare the next and to work on the further development and the strategic aims of the group.