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ISEP (International Student Exchange Program) is an international student exchange programme based on reciprocity, and it is administered from the United States.
Bachelor’s and Master’s level students of various fields. There are more universities offering Bachelor’s level courses than Master’s level courses. Students must have completed one year of academic studies before the beginning of their exchange.
Where can I go?
ISEP features hundreds of universities from the United States and elsewhere in the world. More information on the universities is available on the ISEP website.
The annual first call for applications for ISEP exchange is 1–15 November. A second call for applications will be organised 1-31 May if there are places left. A second call for ISEP applications is not organised usually, because all the available places are filled in the first call for applications.
Applying for ISEP Exchange is a two-stage process: first step is applying to become UEF’s candidate for ISEP exchange, the second step is starting the ISEP online application.
- In the first stage of the process (internal selection process of the home university), students apply to be accepted as UEF candidates for ISEP exchange. The application is submitted in the online application system SoleMOVE. In the letter of motivation, the applicants describe why they are applying for ISEP Exchange programme and to which country/countries they plan to apply, and they should state clearly if there are at least 5 suitable host universities in the ISEP Exchange programme. General instructions on the letter of motivation and applying may be found on the article called Applying for student exchange and traineeship abroad.
- In the second stage of the process, those who were accepted in the first stage as UEF candidates for ISEP exchange complete an application in the ISEP online application system. The applicant sends a request to start the ISEP application to the coordinator of the home university who then accepts it and after this, the applicant is able to start the application. The applicant lists 5–10 host institutions in their ISEP application and ISEP aims at offering a placement in one of these institutions. The applicant may apply for institutions in different countries. Before submitting the application, the applicant should explore the host institutions in detail, because after submitting the application, the list of institutions cannot be altered.
In the second stage, certain attachments are required with the application, e.g. one academic reference from a member of the UEF academic staff who knows the student and is thus able to describe them in the reference. Most host institutions in North America require a TOEFL test result with the application. Some host universities accept a IELTS test result. The language skills and test requirements of each institution must be checked individually.
ISEP offers a preliminary placement to the student and informs them about this, and the student makes a preliminary study plan for the host university in question. ISEP then sends the application documents to the host institution that decides on the acceptance. The student’s host institution is confirmed only at this stage. If a placement cannot be offered at any of the universities on the list, the student will be contacted by ISEP that will try to find an alternative host university that meets the student’s situation and wishes.
ISEP Chances of Placement
ISEP uses a Chances of Placement ranking on their host institutions. This means that ISEP indicates how likely it is for a student to be placed in any particular host institution according to this ranking. Institutions that are ranked as Most Competitive are extremely difficult for students to be placed into.
Students are only able to add one Most Competitive ranked institution in their ISEP application in the second stage of the application process. Please keep this in mind when you are searching the ISEP website for possible host institutions.
Due to the popularity of the programme and limited availability of places, it has been necessary to restrict the duration of ISEP exchanges to one (1) semester.
Tuition fees are not charged from the students. The students participating in the ISEP programme pay the accommodation and living costs of their exchange period to their home university before the beginning of the exchange. In exchange for this payment, the host university will arrange accommodation and a meal plan for the student. The students are required to cover the costs of their travel, study materials, and leisure activities as well as the mandatory ISEP insurance. The ISEP fee at University of Eastern Finland for the academic year 2022-2023 is EUR 2,500 for one semester. The outgoing ISEP exchange students receive a mobility grant from University of Eastern Finland. The amount of the grant is determined on an annual basis and published in the call for applications. In the academic year 2022-2023, the mobility grant for ISEP exchange for European destinations is EUR 1,000 for one semester and for destinations outside Europe EUR 1,500 for one semester. For more information on funding, please check the article called Funding your studies abroad.
The studies completed during ISEP exchange must be included in the student’s degree at University of Eastern Finland. A study-related internship in the United States can also be linked to the ISEP exchange. The maximum duration of the internship is equal to the maximum exchange study period at an ISEP university. Students can only apply for internships after arriving in the host country and must obtain the internship themselves. The ISEP fee is paid in a single instalment before the beginning of the exchange.
While you will apply for ISEP exchange according to UEF’s academic calendar during the first stage of the application process (see above), the actual dates and duration of the exchange will be according to your host university’s academic calendar.
ISEP Direct is an alternative for students who only want to apply for one specific university or a most competitive university. Some universities only participate in ISEP Exchange and others solely in ISEP Direct. Many universities are also available through both programmes. On ISEP Direct, the participants are required to pay the tuition fees of the host university. The number of places available through Direct is not limited. As long as the minimum academic requirements are met, applicants are guaranteed a place at the host university.
Please note that the application periods and practices of ISEP Direct are different from ISEP Exchange.
Tip: The tuition fees of universities participating in Direct can be viewed in the Find a Program section of the ISEP website, by clicking on ’Detail’ in the application menu above the universities in the sidebar. This will open a list showing all Exchange and Direct options. A single university can be listed more than once depending on the exchange programme (Exchange or Direct) and time (fall semester, spring semester, full year).
More information on the ISEP Direct programme is available on the ISEP website and UEF International Mobility Services.