VILNIUS - Since Lithuania joined the European Union last May, the number of foreign students coming on exchange programs has doubled, while the number of Lithuanian students going abroad to study has risen threefold.
Almost 500 students have traveled to Lithuania to study this year 's twice as many as last year, and the country also saw rapid growth in the number of foreign students participating in the Erasmus program.
According to reports from the national Socrates and Erasmus program agencies, which were presented to the European Commission, the number of Erasmus exchange students studying in Lithuania was increasing at the most rapid pace among EU member states.
The Lithuanian Science and Education Ministry announced that, based on preliminary data, 1,500 Lithuanian students had gone abroad within the framework of the Erasmus program this academic year 's 300 more than last year. About 600 professors have left for internships over the same period of time.
In addition to Erasmus, the European Commission funds another two exchange programs 's the student program Comenius and the adult education program Grundtvig.
Future teachers, participating in an education training projects, have shown more interest in the Baltic state as well. Comenius language assistants come to Lithuania from Germany, Italy, Great Britain and other countries.
Around 200 academic groups left as part of the Comenius school exchange program last year, while in 2003 the number was under 100.
Upon Lithuania's accession to the EU, the budget of all three exchange programs has increased. A total of 4.3 million euros were received from the European Commission for these programs this year, which is almost four times more than in 2003.