This exchange allows University and college students to travel to other European Universities. Whilst studying abroad you are expected to assist lectures in the course which you are taking at your home university. At the end you may have to sit the exams but this is not always a pre-requisit.
You will be given a grant whilst abroad to help you financially. Each university has their own rules about when you can travel abroad, however they all stress that before leaving you must have a basic knowledge of the language spoken in the country you are travelling to.
Whether your wanting to learn a language from scratch or consolidate your language this is an ideal way of doing so. As you will be forced to use the little knowledge you have of the language. At first it might be hard to communicate with the natives but in just a few weeks you will be chatting away as if you've spoken the language all your life.
In UK universities you will rarely get to go on these exchanges unless you are studying a language or various languages as part of your degree. When studying a language in the UK as a major part of your degree, ie: when it appears in your degree title, it is a must to travel to a country where the target language is spoken. You will more often than not find that students usually spend the third year of their 4 year degree abroad.
In other European countries such as Holland,Portugal, Belgium,Germany,Italy and Spain they are more open to people doing Erasmus with students being allowed to travel at any point throughout their degrees.
What do you do if you want to take part in an Erasmus exchange? The first thing you should do is contact the Erasmus department at you university these normally work in conjunction with the language departments. They will have a list of the universities they have links with. Your university will have a series of short courses normally lasting a semester in which you will learn the basics of the target language. Giving your self plenty of time to learn the language and having the patience to learn it you will be able to travel abroad without disrupting your degree.