Checklist: before your exchange
Start planning your exchange:
- Why do you want to go? What are your goals for the exchange?
- Where do you want to go?
- What do you want to study during your exchange? Your major, minor, the local language, something else?
- What language do you want to use when studying? English? Another language you know?
- How long of an exchange would suit you best, a semester or academic year? Discuss with your study programme coordinator, amanuensis etc.
- How are you financing your exchange?
- Do you want to go by yourself or with your friend/spouse/family?
- Do you require accessibility aid?
During the application process:
- Plan your exchange well in advance. Search for information about the host country, region, and host university.
- Find out if the host university you’re interested in has studies that would suit you in English or another language you know.
- Phase 1: fill in the application form on SoleMOVE well in advance before the application period closes.
- Phase 2: when you receive application instructions to your host university from Int’l Mobility Services, complete your application with all necessary documents and submit your application according to instructions.
- Plan your studies at the host university and make your Learning Agreement (instructions found here)
- Plan your exchange funding in advance.
- Discuss your exchange with your departmental coordinator of international matters and discuss the inclusion of exchange studies with them.
- If you need a letter of reference etc. in your Phase 2 application, make sure you obtain it well in time to include it to your application.
- If you need a TOEFL or IELTS certificate to your application, book your test appointment as early as possible!
- The final acceptance from the host university usually arrives late in the summer/at the beginning of the year. You can start planning the arrangements even before the acceptance letter arrives; however, booking your plane tickets, giving away your apartment, or arranging anything permanent before you receive the final acceptance is done at your own risk.
Before your departure:
- Remember to register as a present student at the UEF for the full period of exchange before your departure and pay the Student Union fee – mandatory!
- Participate in the pre-departure orientation.
- Make sure that your passport is valid for long enough (at least for the time you are spending abroad and the period mentioned in your residence permit; for example, your time abroad + extra 6 months afterwards).
- Find out about the residence permit/student visa regulations of your host country from the embassy/consulate. If a residence permit is required, prepare the application before receiving the final acceptance from your host university.
- Check the vaccination requirements in good time! Contact the Finnish Students’ Health Service (Travel Health Advice, the link opens up to a new window) or consult your doctor on health matters and renewing your medical prescriptions. Take enough medicine with you. Get a comprehensive insurance – it should cover e.g. ambulance flights. Ask advice from your insurance company. Also find out if Finland/your home country has a social security agreement with the host country and what this agreement covers.
- If you receive a study grant from Kela, you may be able to get it for your studies abroad as well. More information KELA (the link opens up to a new window).
- The total costs of living may be higher during your exchange. Make a budget and be prepared for unexpected expenses especially at the beginning of the exchange. In case you need extra funding, find out about the different possibilities before the departure.
- If you need someone to take care of your matters in your home country or in Finland, remember to give a power of attorney to a reliable member of your family or a friend.
- Ask your bank for the best solution to take care of your finances and banking while abroad. A credit card may be more useful than a debit card in some areas.
- Keep the information of your permanent address (in Finland/your home country) updated in WebOodi.
- Compare the different ways and prices to travel. You might benefit from the international student card ISIC that you can order the card eg from Kilroy Travel Agency.
- Persons travelling or moving abroad and especially to risk-prone areas can submit a travel notification (the link opens up to a new window) to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or the mission of Finland in the host country.
- Compile an ICE card for yourself. Keep it e.g. in your wallet.
- Find out about the housing possibilities of the host university or in your host region. Be prepared to stay some nights in a hotel/hostel and to search for a flat on the spot.
- Take a certificate of registration and a transcript of academic records in English with you. You can get these documents from UEF Student Services.
- Bring along several passport photos, a copy of your passport, proof of your insurance, and guides, brochures, and other information about the University of Eastern Finland and Finland.
- Keep scanned copies of important documents on a cloud service or on your email.
- Make a list of important contact information (eg. the nearest embassy of Finland or your home country) and keep it with you.
- Contact your host university and inform them about your arrival time (if requested). If possible, arrive on a working day and on reasonable time of day.
- Participate in the orientation and/or other welcoming events organised by your host university.
- Prepare to adjust to the new surroundings – travel with an open mind!
Checklist: after your exchange
- Get your exchange studies included into your UEF degree – contact your departmental coordinator of international matters, as the process may vary between departments.
- Upload all required exchange documentation and complete the report in your SoleMOVE application’s After Exchange and Feedback tabs.
- Participate in the post-exchange orientation.
- Don’t forget the friends you made along the way!
- You can continue internationalization at your home university: for example, you can become a tutor for new international students or participate in the Student Union’s international activities (clubs etc.)
- Use your experience: the good practices and ideas from your exchange period can be adapted to your life after exchange!