We start the series of informational e-mails with the first topic – the mobility process.
Here you will find everything you need to know about your stay abroad from the administrative point of view – documents and important steps throughout the various stages of your mobility.
You’ll see – going abroad is not so complicated as long as you know what to expect!
If you are reading this, it means you have successfully passed the selection, congratulations!
Once you are selected to study abroad, your home University’s outgoing student coordinator nominates you to your soon-to-be host (or Receiving) institution. After it’s done, you are informed about the further application steps by the Receiving institution. We suggest you wait for the email (unless instructed otherwise) and not complete any documentation and applications before you receive further instructions.
– Application and Learning Agreement (LA)
LA is an essential document for your mobility. It contains your study plan – courses that you will study abroad together with courses that will be recognised or replaced at your home university. Make sure that you complete this stage very carefully, and as early as possible, leaving time for corrections, if necessary.
IMPORTANT! By 2023, the Erasmus+ mobility process will be entirely (or as much as possible) digital, meaning that you will no longer need to print documents – neither applications nor the Learning Agreement.
– Letter of Acceptance
Once your application at the Receiving institution is done, you‘ll receive a letter of Acceptance. Do not forget to forward it to your coordinators at home! This document proves that you are officially accepted as an exchange student at the host University and indicates the period of your studies – which is necessary for us to calculate your scholarship.
– Financial agreement
The financial agreement is signed at the very end of the preparatory stage and confirms the final sum of your Erasmus+ scholarship. In most institutions, the scholarship is transferred in two payments: 80% of the whole sum is paid before your mobility and the remaining 20% – after your mobility. The details are specified in the financial agreement, so make sure you read it carefully and sign it before you go abroad!
– OLS test
Taking OLS language assessment in the language of mobility is required for all Erasmus+ students. The test checks whether a student has the required language level, but don‘t worry – test results will not prevent you from taking part in mobility. On the contrary – it provides students with an opportunity to improve their language skills.
– Confirmation of arrival
(Optional, depends on an institution) – a paper or digital document signed the first days after your arrival. Ask your home university whether they require this document!.
– Changes to LA
If anything changes during your mobility, you need to receive permission from both the home and host universities to update the LA. The reasons for updating LA can be:
Once permission is given, you need to fill out the LA “During the mobility” form, collect the necessary signatures and provide it to the host institution to implement the updates. Please note that most universities give no more than 5 weeks to update your study plan!
– Mobility extension (optional)
If you’d like to stay at the host university one more semester, you should ask for permission from your home university first. Please keep in mind that Erasmus+ study period should not exceed the total duration of 12 months within one study cycle. The decision is made for each case individually, depending on the granted budget, mobility quotas specified in the Inter-Institutional agreement with the Host institution, etc. And if permission is granted, do not forget to contact the host institution for more information about their requirements, deadlines, etc.
– Confirmation/certificate of stay
Confirmation of stay or certificate of attendance is one of the most important mobility documents as it confirms the actual mobility period and is necessary to calculate the final sum of your Erasmus+ scholarship. Do not forget to visit the responsible persons at the host institution and ask for this document before your departure!
– Transcript of Records (ToR)
ToR is the document that contains all grades you received during your mobility. This document is usually required by both International Office and the academic coordinator at your home university, so remember to forward it to them as soon as you receive it! Remember – your ToR should be in line with your LA!
– 2nd OLS Test (If applicable)
If the language proficiency level is C2 before the mobility, the 2nd test is not necessary.
– EU Survey
EU survey is automatically sent before the end of mobility. Survey results provide valuable information to Erasmus+ Programme and evaluate how mobility participants experienced their studies abroad.
It is very important to deliver all documents! Some universities keep the right not to transfer the remaining part of the scholarship until all required documents are presented to the International Office.
It was the summary of the Erasmus+ mobility process and required documents. Some universities might have additional requirements or tasks to take care of, so follow their information and most importantly – do not postpone everything to the last minute!
Most likely, you’ll receive reminders from both the home and host institutions, so no need to worry if you don’t remember it all right away.
TIP! A summary of the mobility process is now available as a pdf file – turn it into a checklist!
Erasmus+ App https://erasmusapp.eu/
Finding accommodation can be one of the most challenging aspects of preparing for an exchange program. Here is what you should check and keep in mind when planning your stay abroad:
Living in a student dormitory often is the most convenient and budget-friendly option, however, some universities have a limited number of places. Check with your host university!
Research your options: look into the different types of accommodation available in your host city and compare the costs, locations, and amenities. Consider your budget, location, and personal preferences when deciding on a place to live.
Students often have to make a difficult decision – to live in the student campus or another part of the city, e.g., the city centre. If the price and living conditions are similar, both options are great. It is up to you to decide what you prefer more – living together with all students or having easy and quick access to entertainment in the city.
Important! Double-check the location of your classes. Some universities have several campuses in different locations, so you should find out whether housing is offered on all campuses.
We’re all different, and we all have different approaches to privacy. Some students prefer to live alone, while others don’t mind sharing a room or flat with people they’ve never met before.
When studying abroad, living with someone from another country is often the highlight of the whole experience, so we strongly recommend it! Especially for students who have a hard time making friends in other circumstances or who start their studies later than everyone else – it is a quick way to integrate and meet new people! If living with others is not your cup of tea, you might consider finding a place with single rooms but open common areas.
If living in a student dormitory is not an option, finding another place could be a real challenge. But everything’s possible, and here are some tips for you:
When it comes to planning your budget, the cheapest option is usually to live in a student dormitory. However, that’s not always possible – not all universities have student dormitories or enough rooms. If that’s the case, you’ll need to check other housing options and find the most affordable one, e.g., to share an apartment with other students.
Take your time to think about your preferences and thoroughly check all the housing options your host city has to offer.
To help you out, we have also collected useful tips from students who were studying abroad before:
Check ESN partners for housing discounts: https://www.esn.org/partners
Erasmus housing in the Czech Republic: http://erasmus-databaze.naep.cz/modules/erasmus/
Going abroad for an exchange program can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to make sure you have taken care of all the necessary formalities before you leave. Here are some things to consider:
Make sure your passport or national ID card (for EU/EEA nationals) is up to date. The document should be valid 6 months past your travel date. Don’t forget to check whether you need a visa to enter the country. If you are an EU citizen, you can move to other EU countries, as well as to Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway without a visa.
If you are going abroad for more than 3 months, you may be required to register your residence in the receiving country.
As a student, make sure you have with you:
Further registration steps and pricing depend on the host country.
After you register your residence, you will receive a registration certificate. In many countries, you are required to have the document with you at all times, although you would not be expelled just for this.
If you are a non-EU/EEA national, have a valid temporary residence permit of your home country and proof that you are going abroad under an agreement between two universities (e.g., Erasmus+ agreement), you are allowed to enter and stay in an EU/EEA country for a period up to 360 days.
However, if your temporary residence permit has expired or will expire when you’re abroad, you are required to follow specific immigration requirements set by the host country. We advise you to contact the International Office of your host institution for up-to-date information.
Check if your health insurance will cover you while you are abroad. If not, consider purchasing an international health insurance policy. If you are an EU/EEA resident, you are entitled to necessary, state-provided healthcare in all EU/EEA countries. Make sure you order the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your national health insurance provider before going abroad. Keep in mind that EHIC does not guarantee free services and is not an alternative to travel insurance.
TIP! Make copies of important documents, such as your passport, visa, and health insurance information, and leave them with a trusted family member or friend.
By taking care of these formalities before you leave, you can ensure a stress-free start to your experience abroad.
As a student or young adult you probably already have the basics of managing your finances. Despite your experience, going abroad might cause financial anxiety to some. Having a plan to manage financial challenges can help reduce stress.
Once you identify the possible issues in advance, it becomes less likely they will catch you off guard. What could happen? Losing a credit or debit card? Late scholarship transfer? Losing cash while on the trip? Overspending? Unexpected expenses? Keep the list short but come back to it several times, both before and after your departure.
Before you go on exchange, make a budget to help you manage your money. Start by collecting all of your financial information, including your income, expenses, and any debts you have. Make a list of your fixed expenses, such as rent, and your variable expenses, such as groceries and entertainment. Calculate your income, including your Erasmus+ scholarship or any other sources of financial aid. Subtract your total monthly expenses from your total income to see how much money you have left over each month. If your expenses exceed your income, you will need to make adjustments to your budget.
Budgeting apps can help you track your spending and stay on budget. Look for an app that allows you to set financial goals, track your expenses, and create a budget. Check the resources of your bank – sometimes they have budgeting tools already integrated into a bank application.
Students often naturally become experts in saving. You can choose from many student discounts (make sure you have an internationally recognised student card, e.g., ISIC), cook food together with your roommates, organise flat parties instead of going out, etc. Setting a saving goal will motivate you, or you can simply use a piggy bank. A saving plan often comes down to setting your priorities. Whether it‘s food over a party one week or a trip over a dinner out the next one, you‘ll be facing these decisions quite often.
Keep in mind that the Erasmus+ scholarship is meant to support you, not to cover all your expenses. Making a financial plan is, therefore, very important.
TIP. For most students, the major cost is accommodation. While planning your budget, focus on this cost first.
Knowing how to manage your finances is a very valuable skill and we hope you‘ll become an expert in it. However, if you are having trouble managing your finances, don’t be afraid to seek help. Your host university may have financial resources available or you can talk to a financial advisor or counsellor for guidance.
Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Konnichiwa!
When planning your studies abroad, getting down to the basics of the foreign language(-s) is a must.
You will likely use more than one foreign language – one for studying (for most of you – English) and one to connect with locals (the official language of your host country). Both are equally important but require different preparation.
Most institutions require an English (or another language) proficiency level of B1/B2 for academic purposes. If that’s not your mother tongue, it might take some time to get used to speaking, listening or writing in this language.
Here’s what you can do to feel more comfortable when using a foreign language in your daily life.
In some institutions, they are free of charge for students, and in some particular cases, you might even get extra credits for completing the course(-es).
This is an informal way of learning which is perfect when you are not learning a language from the scratch and especially – when you want to develop your speaking skills. If you’re lucky, you may also meet people from the country you’re going to. If you do, make sure to ask for practical tips – not only for language development but also for living in the country, connecting with locals, cultural advice, etc. Having connections often comes in handy!
They can help you sharpen language skills at your own pace and most importantly – they are very efficient. There are many apps to choose from, so do your research first. Keep in mind – most apps are not free but they might offer a free trial. The list of the most popular ones you’ll find under “useful resources” below.
Get involved in student clubs which have foreign students as their target group such as ESN. Not only can you practice your language skills while organizing activities for them but you can also actively participate in language classes taught by exchange students if your local ESN offers this service.
All Erasmus+ participants must take OLS (Online Language Support) language assessment before the beginning of mobility. OLS is now available on a new platform – EU Academy. The OLS platform is composed of 29 online language-learning communities (one per language of the Erasmus+ Programme’s countries) with access to free language courses. For access to OLS, please contact the International Office of your Home university.
And finally – our last piece of advice: fully and actively immerse in the language by speaking or texting with foreigners, watching movies, listening to songs and podcasts, reading books, and even speaking with your friends or family members, and you’ll be fluent in no time!
Rosetta Stone https://www.rosettastone.com/
A new academic year, new friends and challenges can result in joy, curiosity and other pleasant feelings. But it’s not a secret that new experiences can also cause stress, uncertainty and raise questions.
Cultural adaptation is a process that takes time for a person to integrate into a new culture and feel comfortable within it. Sometimes students expect that after moving to a new country they will immediately make new friends, enjoy everything about the new culture and feel at home. These expectations might come true, but it could also take some time, effort and patience.
Adaptation happens in different stages:
It does not necessarily mean that everyone goes through every phase in the exact order. Some people experience a few phases, some experience all of them and some might be going back and forth. Let’s take a look at how these phases are usually experienced by other students.
When students come to a new country, first impressions are usually quite positive. Students enjoy the new city and feel excited to learn new languages or try new food. They start planning to travel the country and make new friends. At this time students are motivated to learn and experience new things, visit new places.
While the honeymoon phase makes everyone see things in brighter colours, later the colours might get even darker than they are. This is the time when disappointment and cultural shock hits. During this phase, everything might seem not as kind and fun as expected, and it becomes more difficult to make new friends. You might start missing your food, hometown, friends, family, home, and the differences become annoying. If you start feeling homesick, tired or unhappy, do not hesitate and reach for help – talk with your friends or family, talk with your classmates or ask for psychological counselling.
After the cultural shock phase, people tend to reach the Adjustment phase. This is when you might start accepting the new culture and change the negative attitudes to more open and positive ones. During this phase, students often share that this new country or university is not that different, unpleasant or scary. Students learn to enjoy the new climate, food, places, culture and company of others.
When the acceptance phase comes, you might start feeling almost at home. During this phase, students get more involved in university activities, make new friends, travel more and even start making plans to stay in the new country for a longer period.
Another phase that students sometimes experience…
This is experienced only by some students who travel back to their home country. During this phase, students often say they don’t want to go home anymore as they have an active social life in the host country.
Moving to a new country is fun and valuable, but it often takes time to adjust. It is very natural and normal to not only feel happy or excited but also sad, lonely or disappointed sometimes.
A quick reminder:
Don’t ignore your feelings, talk to your friends, family, roommates or seek psychological help at your university. Talking might help not only you but also those around you.
TIPS. To help you adapt to your host culture:
COSTABEX video and workshop on culture shock: https://costabex.eu/culture-shock/
If living (and studying) abroad still seems scary, you should know that there are people who are always ready to help you – and they are students themselves. You only need to reach out!
Almost every university these days has a student club or organization which focuses specifically on international students – whether degree-seeking, exchange or both. These organizations share a goal to make sure that all incoming students feel welcomed, integrated, represented and informed.
ESN is the biggest non-profit student network in Europe. ESN’s mission is to represent international students and to provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of „Students Helping Students”. ESN is active in over 40 countries, so make sure to check out whether they have a section in your host university or city. ESN supports students by helping them with social, practical and academic integration. It is mainly known for its activities at a local level – various social and leisure events, trips within a host country, cultural projects, festivals and, of course, parties.
Some ESN sections also run – or support the local international offices with – Mentor/Buddy programmes. Such mentoring systems ensure student integration by assigning local students-volunteers for individual support. So if you have any practical questions about your exchange destination – a Mentor/Buddy is your go-to person. Most ESN sections have online applications for students in need of a Mentor, you can look for it on the local ESN section‘s website or Facebook page.
Mentoring systems are the most useful when the arrival to your exchange destination is near but if you‘re still early, you may ask for help from students who went to your host university a semester or two before. Some universities run Erasmus+ (or in general – exchange) ambassador schemes where students represent the university and the country they‘ve been studying at and offer practical guidance and information. If your home university doesn‘t have one, no worries – the International Office may help you get in touch with the past exchange students personally.
Find the ESN section in your Host city here: https://esn.org/sections
The day has come – it‘s time to say goodbye to your friends and relatives, pack your suitcase or two, and get ready for your departure. But are you really ready? Here‘s the final piece of information before you leave.
Oh, the struggle here is real. But we‘ve got you covered! First of all, you‘ll need to make a list of everything you might need. Here are our tips:
Try to pack as lightly as possible to make travelling easier. Consider bringing versatile items that can be mixed and matched and don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs.
If you have large or bulky items that you don’t want to bring with you on the plane, consider shipping them ahead of time to your destination. This can save you space in your luggage and reduce the amount of weight you have to carry. This is especially useful when planning your trip back home!
By following these tips, you can pack efficiently and be well-prepared for your semester abroad.
Tips by the former exchange student on how to pack luggage: https://youtu.be/2XEdpiH9vWA
Preparing for the unknown is not easy, some would say even impossible. But while the internet is full of student success stories, we‘d like to share with you some „unsuccess stories“ – something that has happened to exchange students in the past. Being aware of what could happen will likely reduce the stress IF you‘ll find yourself in such a situation. The good news is – most of the situations you‘ll find here were sorted out one way or another. And perhaps you‘ll find a solution to some of the potential issues before they even happen!
If you read it all and nothing made you worry – bravo! Otherwise, read it again and consult with your friends, relatives, and university employees. There is a solution to (almost) everything!
Stay tuned – we‘ll keep you informed on how to deal with negative experiences once you‘re abroad. It might not have practical solutions but you‘ll learn how to calm your mind in stressful situations.
COSTABEX training on crisis management: https://costabex.eu/crisis-situations/
COSTABEX meditation audios: https://costabex.eu/meditation-audios/