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10 FAQs about Student Exchange Programmes

What is the right time to explore a foreign country, immerse yourself in a new culture and gain new experience? 'Always. It is always the right time,' says Daria Zima, Coordinator of Academic Mobility Programmes at HSE University – St Petersburg. As the next call for application for student exchange programmes is approaching, she answers the most burning questions students often have.

10 FAQs about Student Exchange Programmes

© Nikita Aliaba
1. What mobility programmes can I apply for?

There are several types of student exchange programmes – under campus-specific mobility partnerships and also university-wide mobility partnerships (for students from any of HSE campuses). Students can apply as free-movers as well. Moreover, students can participate in one of the summer schools organized by partner universities and get financial support from HSE University – St Petersburg.

2. Can I apply for several exchange programmes simultaneously?

Absolutely, a student can apply for several programmes to increase their chances of being nominated for an exchange. However, a student can be nominated for one particular long-term exchange programme only.

3. Where can I go?

Currently, HSE University – St Petersburg has 70+ academic partners across the globe. Vast majority of these universities accept our undergraduate and graduate students. Fields of study and available spots are the things that should be taken into consideration while applying for an exchange.

4. What is the language of instruction at a host university?

On average, about 90% of the courses at overseas universities are delivered in English. Some universities deliver courses in local languages. Some universities may require students to provide a foreign language proficiency certificate, such as IELTS, TOEFL or other, with a certain level of results. However, only a few universities have such requirements.    

5. Can I get a scholarship?

HSE University – St Petersburg is offering scholarships for student academic mobility starting from 2019/2020 academic year. The scholarship covers travel and personal expenses, as well as accommodation expenses to some extent. We expect to award up to 30 scholarships to the best students who are to go abroad for Autumn Semester 2019/2020.

There is also a certain number of scholarships offered by third parties, such as Erasmus (for European universities), FIRST (for Finnish universities), DAAD (for German universities) every year. These scholarships provide a monthly allowance. The amount depends on a country, a university, the level of education, etc.

6. What expenses do I have to cover myself?

Students usually bear the travel fare, insurance, accommodation and living expenses. If they get scholarships, they can cover some of these costs. Except for free-movers, exchange students do not pay the tuition fees at a host university.

7. Who can apply for a mobility programme?

All HSE students who have completed at least one year of their undergraduate studies, or one semester of their graduate studies, as well as PhD students.

The main requirements include having a good academic performance, language proficiency and volunteer experience.

8. What documents do I have to submit?

First of all, you have to fill out an application form and have it signed by your programme's Academic Supervisor and the Dean of your School of Faculty, as well as the cost estimation form. 

Secondly, the universities require English proficiency certificate (IELTS, TOEFL). Some of them accept a language proficiency statement.

Thirdly, you need to prepare a preliminary individual study plan (individual curriculum) which has to be approved by the Study Office and the Academic Supervisor of your programme.

Finally, a reference letter, an expenses estimation form and a motivation letter are also obligatory.

9. What should I include in my motivation letter?

It seems obvious but it is really essential to explain why you want to study abroad, and what advantages such experience would give to you in terms of your further education, future academic or business career. 

You definitely should mention your extracurricular and volunteering activities you have taken part in. Your application might stand out if you have participated in Erasmus Students Network, other student organizations, HSE SPb Student Ambassador Programme and so forth.

10. Will the credits that I am supposed to earn at a host university be transferred?

I have already mentioned a preliminary individual study plan. It has to cover at least 50% of the credits you would have earned studying here. This plan serves as grounds for credit transfer.

It may sometimes happen that the courses students are going to take at a host university are not compatible with their individual study plan. In this case, they have to inform the Study Office at HSE University – St Petersburg in order to make amendments to the plan.

Haven’t found answers to your questions? Please be welcome at the Student Mobility Info Sessions that are taking place regularly till the end of February 2019 to ask questions we have not covered yet!

If everything is clear, then just take your chance to submit you application thought the website Study Abroad Opportunities for HSE SPb Students.

The call for applications for semester and year-long international mobility will be open from February 1, 2019 till March 1, 2019.

Studying abroad is a life changing experience you will never regret. It is not just a trip or vacation, it is another life. 

Daria Zima
Academic Mobility Programmes Coordinator