exchange period step by step

Student information

Organizing your exchange period step by step

It is possible to go abroad to study for courses, thesis or internship. Obviously not all at the same time, but it is an interesting option to consider. Following the step by step procedure below will help you get started if you choose to study abroad.

There can be several reasons to choose to study abroad for an exchange period. You could want to take a specialisation not offered by Wageningen University and want an academic challenge. Or you could use this opportunity to improve your CV. You might want to pursue an exchange in a specific country because of the language or culture. Following an exchange program can be an excellent chance to explore a country or organisation you plan to work with in the future. In addition you can use this period abroad for self development and discovery, but whatever your reason, it will be a once-in-a-life time experience!

If you are looking for an internship or thesis, please see: International internship/thesis.

If you are considering spending an exchange period at one of our partner universities for courses it is important to be well prepared. It might seem complicated because of the many possibilities, the rules and bureaucracy. However, following the steps below will be a good start and will guide you through the process. Plus our exchange coordinators can always lend you a helping hand when needed, so do not hesitate to contact them.

Going abroad for study (courses)

Step 1: Orientation

Find information regarding exchange possibilities through the website. Erasmus+ Partner universities are sorted by study field and by country. The most efficient way is to select a university which has an agreement within your own field of study. The number of available places differs per university, in total there are over 500 places available.

Check Erasmus+ partner universities (EU) for exchange possibilities in Europe. As an Erasmus+ student you can apply for an Erasmus+ grant, see Erasmus+ Application. Grant allocation is depending on the number of applicants and the available budget.

Check Bilateral exchange partners (non EU) for exchange possibilities outside the European Union. Unfortunately no grants are involved with this type of exchange. Please check the website for the application deadlines.

Important: Check here if you fulfill the requirements for exchange: Erasmus+ Conditions.

The most updated information and an overview of all EU and non-EU agreements can be found on this page:

All Exchange Partner Universities

Check the Excel file ‘Download overview partner universities’

Alternate and additional orientation:

Visit the Office for Student Exchange on Monday through Thursday between 12:00 and 13:00 in the Forum building, room 029 (behind the WURshop left) for your general questions on studying abroad.

  • Departmental exchange coordinator Contact - Exchange coordinators at WU
  • Fellow students and teachers
  • Exchange coordinators from partner universities
  • Websites from partner universities
  • Many universities issue factsheets with a lot of useful information and links. Factsheets can be found in het list of partner universities. Go to Universities sorted by country, find your university of interest and check if a factsheet is available. For non-EU universities check under the heading "Outside EU non-Erasmus Bilateral exchange partners"
  • The exchange team works together with the student council party Veste to collect the experiences of students who went abroad before. Reports can be found on their website http://vestegoesabroad.wur.nl/
  • www.wilweg.nl study abroad information from NUFFIC (the Dutch organization for international cooperation in higher education)

Tip: make a financial overview and an estimation of costs.

Step 2: Inform your study advisor

Contact your study advisor. Have a plan ready to discuss, include your study progress, the aim of your exchange period, when you wish to go abroad and for how long.

Step 3: Select preferred partner universities

There is a bilateral agreement for student exchange if you have selected a partner university from the list mentioned above. However in most cases the agreement is in a certain field of study or with a specific faculty. This means that you cannot select just any university/course. When in doubt, ask your exchange coordinator for details.

In general the number of students which can be exchanged is two per year from the agreed study field, however, in some cases the number is higher. Often it is dependent on the number of students from that university who come on exchange to Wageningen University. For this reason we do advise you to have two additional alternative choices. Chances to be admitted increase if your field of study is closely related to the field of study on the bilateral agreement for exchange between the two universities. The partner university always has the final say in whether or not they admit the students that we nominate for student exchange. Therefore there is no guarantee that you will be admitted at a partner university of your choice.

Step 4: Courses

You can use the opportunity to go abroad to do your optional courses in a different field of study or to get more specialized in your own field. Some universities offer minors or semester packages, but mostly you will have to select courses yourself and find out if you fulfil the requirements. You also have the possibility to create an individual minor, however, the courses you select must fulfil the individual minor requirements.  

Look up on the partner university website which courses will be available to exchange students in the semester you are applying for and make a list of the courses you are interested in. If the courses of your exchange semester have not been published by the host university yet, please look at the courses offered during the previous year. Or alternatively enquire with your chosen university what the possibilities will be. 

Please make sure to check the language of instruction of your selected courses to see if they match with your language skills.

Schedules can change, courses may be full or cancelled and many students change their mind after arrival. Therefore, make sure the partner university you are interested in has enough courses on offer for you.

Discuss your (provisional) programme with your study advisor. In this phase definite approval of the examination board isn’t necessary yet.

Step 5: Contact exchange coordinator

If you have not contacted your exchange coordinator yet, it could be wise to send him/her an e-mail to discuss your plans and check if your plans are feasible. Please attach to your e-mail  the Study Abroad Form with the provisional selection of courses and a copy of your transcript of records. If necessary an appointment can be scheduled.

Contact - Exchange coordinators at WU

Step 6: Apply for an exchange period – selection procedure

In recent years the interest for exchange has increased considerably. Currently we still have many places but for a number of popular universities the demand is greater than the available places, therefore a selection procedure will take place to distribute the available places.

If you decide to apply for selection, please e-mail the following documents (in English) to your exchange coordinator (in PDF formats):

  1. Study Abroad Application Form (bottom of Step 6) with definite choice
  2. Motivation letter for your first choice university: in English
  3. CV (for an example see: http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/documents/curriculum-vitae) in English
  4. Scan of Transcript of Records (to be issued by SSC), HBO, BSc and MSc if applicable.
  5. Results Language test (optional) – see below

Additional requirement for non EU universities; GPA 7 or higher!

Language test

As a WUR student, you have undoubtedly noticed the importance of the English language in your study programme. This will be even more important when you study abroad. Therefore we offer all future outgoing exchange students (for exchange during 2017-2018) the opportunity  to take the Oxford Online Placement Test to assess their English skills. 

The test is a pilot, it isn’t mandatory but strongly recommended. The result could be added to your exchange application.

For the available test dates and registration check our website.

Application deadline for selection: February 1st of the academic year before the year of exchange (for exchange during the 1st semester and also for exchange during the 2nd semester).

Application for an exchange period is advised but not compulsory. If you do not apply before the 1st of February, you can still apply afterwards (providing the partner university’s deadline hasn’t passed yet), but your choice and options will be limited to the remaining places.

It is no use submitting your application far in advance of the deadline as applications will only be considered once the deadline has closed.

Study Abroad Application Form 2018 - 2019

Step 7: Results application procedure

The selection and allocation will be carried out carefully by the WU exchange team and, if necessary, study advisors will be also be consulted.

Selection will be based on:

  • Transcript of records
  • Number of ECTS obtained
  • Study progress/passed the 1st year
  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Study programme at home and host university
  • Number of places available at host university
  • Requirements host university

Students will be informed about the selection results about two weeks after the application deadline for selection . The 2nd and 3rd choice places will also be taken into consideration. In some cases it may not be possible to be selected for any  of your chosen universities. In that case we will consult  with the student and will  try to find a suitable alternative. 

If you applied for semester 2 (from January-February till June), your study progress has to be proved before nomination in autumn.

AFTER THE SELECTION PROCEDURE, REMAINING PLACES WIL BE ALLOCATED ON A FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVE BASIS.

Step 8: Apply for approval of courses by Examining Board

External courses (including minors etc.) require approval from your study advisor and from the Examining Board of Wageningen University concerned, in order to count as part of your study programme. You can apply for approval in SPA (Study Programme Approval, make sure you use the ‘submit’ button). Note that certain studies require you to send a pre-application to the Examining Board first. We advise you to obtain approval before departure, before following any external courses. Without approval from your study advisor and the Examining Board, there is a risk that the course(s) will not be approved as part of your study programme. To minimize efforts in filling out all the application details of courses that may get declined, email a draft of your Study Plan with external courses to your study advisor first. Also, avoid applying for approval for courses that you are not allowed to follow by the receiving institution (for example, courses at faculties without an exchange agreement with the department of your study programme). Certain study programmes – your study advisor will inform you if this is the case – require you to send a pre-application via email to the Examining Board, before final application in SPA. You can apply for approval using SPA through SSC-online. The application form in SPA asks you to provide details about the course amongst which: name of university, course title (in English!), course code, description of course content – preferably with learning outcomes, type of assessment, motivation, overlap with WUR courses (regardless of whether you have followed them or not). In case of overlap, please explain why you think the external course differs or provides added value compared to the WUR course(s). If available, a link to the course description is always useful. Make sure you use the ‘submit’ button in SPA. The Examining Board normally responds within 4-6 weeks with a decision and further instructions.

Last updated: 11-09-2017

Step 9: Nomination

Your exchange coordinator will nominate you at the guest university. It should be noted that nomination does not mean admission.

Step 10: Administrative procedures and Erasmus grant application

  • Application at partner university:

After the nomination you should apply for the exchange at the partner university. This is your own responsibility. You will need to fill in application documents provided by the partner university, get the signatures of your exchange coordinator and send the forms to the partner university. It is your own responsibility that this is done in time. Please check the deadlines for application at the partner university. These may not be the same deadlines as to apply for the Erasmus grant at WU. Also you should start to contact  the exchange coordinator from the partner university. He/she will inform you how to arrange/apply for housing and inform you on further details regarding your exchange.

To apply you should download the forms from the website and fill them out. Your exchange coordinator has to sign the documents. After that you have to visit the Erasmus administrator at the Office for Student Exchange on Monday through Thursday between 12:00 and 13:00 in the Forum building, room 029 (behind the StudyStore left) or you can send the documents online to erasmus.studentexchange@wur.nl

They will help you to apply for the Erasmus+ grant. Grant allocation is depending on the number of applicants and the available budget.

There are 3 different deadlines that you need to take into consideration:

  1. The deadline to apply for nomination/selection of universities at WU, February 1st.
  2. The application deadline of the host university (check the website of the host university)
  3. The deadline of the Erasmus+ grant application (June 1st for the Autumn semester/ November 1st for the Spring semester)

Upon return - Hand in your external study results

If you studied elsewhere via Erasmus exchange hand in the following forms at Exchange Office: -‘Statement Receiving Institution’ -‘Transcript of Records’ from receiving institution -‘Academic Recognition Form’ from Wageningen University If you studied elsewhere outside Erasmus hand in the following forms at SCC: -‘Transcript of Records’ from receiving institution -‘Academic Recognition Form’ from Wageningen University

Conversion of credits and grades

Since credit and grading systems differ among countries and between universities, the credits and grades you obtain with external courses (including minors etc.) will need to be converted in order to fit in the WU credit and grading system.

Visit the page of the Examining Boards for more information on Conversion of external credits and grades. However, a description is written below as well. Since credit and grading systems differ among countries and between universities, the results you obtain with external courses (including minors etc.) will need to be converted in order to fit in the credit and grading system used by Wageningen University. Credit conversion The European Union agreed upon a study load ranging from 1500-1800 hours per year as being the standard. Like most universities in the European Union, Wageningen University uses ECTS credits. Credits from elsewhere are converted to ECTS credits via the information provided by your host institution and if necessary obtained/verified via other authorities, such as NUFFIC. Grade conversion

The European Union agreed upon a common system for grade conversion: the ECTS grading table. Grading tables show how many students received a given grade in a given field of study at an education institution and enable a fair conversion of grades. The Examining Board compares the grading table from your host university with the grading table specific for your study programme at Wageningen University to determine your Wageningen University grade. Fictive exampleIn country X at university Y, you receive an A (or a 10). If the grading table of university X shows that 30% of the students pass courses with this score or a higher score, you should get the grade that corresponds with the top 30%-point of the Wageningen University grade table, meaning your grade will be converted to an 8. For a visual explanation watch the 3-minute video ‘ECTS grading Tables’ provided by the European Commission. Conservative grade conversion

The Examining Boards of Wageningen University convert grades conservatively in order to maintain the high quality standard of the diplomas decreed by Wageningen University. This means that when a grade translates into a range of for example 8-10, the grade will be converted into 8, 8.5 or perhaps 9. Only when there is additional information, such as a remark ‘with distinction’, or when you can prove that an examination was taken without any errors, may the Examination Board decide to convert into the higher end of the range. What if there is no grading table?With no grading table available for a certain grade, the Examining Boards rely on ‘raw’ translation from the external grading system for conversion into a Wageningen University grade. In this case, several information sources may be consulted, such as the website of NUFFIC, colleague universities and previous exchange. Conclusion: you can facilitate accurate translation of your external grades by providing (additional) information about your external (written) test results and the grading table and/or grading system of your host university. Last updated: 11-09-2017

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