Former Aberystwyth University student to fund EU study trips

A generous graduate has donated more than £500,000 to his alma mater to support young people in funding their overseas study opportunities.

In 1981, William Parker graduated in History from Aberystwyth University, where he also studied French and Dutch during his time in France.

Mr. Parker shared his perspective, stating, “In my personal experience, these opportunities enrich one’s repertoire for life beyond university.”

As part of the Brexit deal, the UK government discontinued its participation in the EU Erasmus Scheme.

After choosing to withdraw from the Erasmus Scheme, the UK government introduced its own Turing programme.

The Welsh government has established its own international study programme, slated to commence in the coming year.

The funding provided by Mr. Parker, known as the European Opportunities Fund, is distinct from the Welsh scheme and is administered by Aberystwyth University.

On Thursday, the European Opportunities Fund was officially launched, offering grants ranging from £500 to £3,000 to students for studying, working, or attending conferences in Europe. Initially, the funding will be accessible for durations of up to four weeks in the first year.

Mr. Parker envisions the month-long visits as a “stimulus like espresso coffee” for the students, offering them the opportunity to explore new destinations, meet new individuals, and establish valuable networks for academic, professional, and social purposes.

According to Vice Chancellor Prof Elizabeth Treasure, the funding would greatly enhance their ability to assist students and would “bring marvelous new opportunities for many of our students”.

Mr. Parker emphasized that learning other languages expanded the scope of job opportunities available to him, providing a much broader range of options.

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Presently, Mr. Parker has a thriving career in engineering-based industries and utilizes the skills he acquired while working internationally.

He emphasized, “In a world that is constantly changing, it is vital for the university and its students to maintain their interconnectedness with the EU and the European Economic Area.”

He expressed his hope that the new fund would simplify the process for Aberystwyth students from diverse backgrounds to travel and immerse themselves in new languages and cultures.

He expressed his hope that the newly established fund would serve as an inspiration for students to explore new destinations, connect with diverse individuals, and build valuable networks for academic, professional, and social purposes.

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