Dear Students,

The UCU Exchange-website, together with the Study Abroad flyer, is a starting point for your orientation and information on a semester abroad. We organize many events on campus (such as the Study Abroad Fair and the Exchange-Exchange event) for you to explore possibilities and talk to fellow-students about their exchange experiences. Your tutor can also help with the planning of your study abroad experience in your UCU curriculum. With all the input, you should have a good sense of where you want to go. We update the information on the website every year and add new students’ experiences. Nevertheless, you will see that sometimes some gaps still need to be filled. As soon as new information becomes available, it will be published on the website. Apart from that, don’t forget that the websites and Facebook pages of the exchange destinations tend to have the most up-to-date information. Also, some study abroad opportunities are still in progress, so this information is just a snapshot of the situation in September 2017. When you want to discuss your semester abroad plans with me, or if you would like to have more information about certain destinations, please read first the information that is available on the website before coming to my office hours.

Last but not least: I hope that you will have a great study abroad experience, which is intellectually and personally valuable for you!

Carla Kist, Exchange Officer UCU

You must comply with the following requirements (see Academic Rules and Regulations):

  • 3.19 Study Abroad
    • 3.19.1 Students can apply for permission to study abroad for one full semester in semester 4 or semester 5.
    • 3.19.2 Educational activities abroad administered by UCU may be subject to specific requirements and are subject to the terms of the agreement made with parties involved.
    • 3.19.3 Students are eligible for study abroad for one full semester if, at the time of selection, they have:
      • A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher
      • No shortage of credit
      • Transfer credits totaling no more than 30 EC
      • Proficiency at the intermediate (2) level in the language of instruction at the host institution.
    • 3.19.4 UCU may set a maximum limit on the number of students receiving permission for study abroad in any given term/semester; eligibility for exchange therefore does not automatically qualify a student for study abroad.
    • 3.19.5 Study abroad at an institution that is not part of an exchange agreement with either UCU or UU requires permission from the Director of Education and Examination Board.
    • 3.19.6 UCU approval of an exchange semester does not guarantee a place at the desired host university.
    • 3.19.7 Students who cancel their exchange after the cancellation deadline are liable for administrative fees.
    • 3.19.8 Students must submit a learning agreement with their final course plan as soon as they have registered at the host university.
      • 3.19.8.1 The Examination Board judges course content and possible overlap to decide which courses can be taken for credit. All changes in this agreement must be approved by the Examination Board. Courses taken on exchange that have not been approved will not carry credit at UCU.
      • 3.19.8.2 Should the student hope to use a course taken on exchange for a specific UCU requirement (e.g. required level 3 course, language and culture requirement, methodology requirement) this must be indicated explicitly in the learning agreement request, and specific information on content, workload, level, assessment must be included.
    • 3.19.9 The student is responsible for completing a course program abroad that meets the UCU study load of 30 EC per semester. All courses, credits, and grades achieved on exchange will appear on the UCU transcript. The number of credits registered on the transcript will be converted to EC. Numerical grades are converted to the UCU letter grades.
    • 3.19.10 If the student has an excess of at least 7,5 EC before going on Exchange the student may take a program with a study load of at least 22,5 EC. In this case the learning agreement must include a description of envisioned other organized formative activities while on exchange.
    • 3.19.11 If extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control make it impossible for a student to complete the equivalent of 30 EC per semester, the student must inform the Exchange Officer and his/her tutor; any credit shortage must be remedied as soon as possible.
    • 3.19.12 The official transcript issued by the host institution will be attached to the student’s transcript upon graduation.

You can browse through UCU exchange destinations and UU exchange destinations in the exchange catalog.

  1. As an exchange student, you can study for one semester at a host university in a foreign country. UCU students can choose to go on exchange in their fourth or fifth semester. In exceptional cases, it might also be possible to go on exchange in your last semester. In the past, this has mainly been allowed to former board members from UCSA and ASC in their extra seventh semester. Such exceptions will only be allowed for very good reasons and must be approved by the UCU Examination Board. Formally, as an exchange student you remain registered at UCU, and you pay the tuition fee to UCU and not to your exchange university. Because of the exchange agreement, the host institution agrees to admit you as a student and gives you access to all education facilities.
     
  2. In the academic year 2018-2019, more than 40 UCU exchange destinations abroad are available. All host universities are of outstanding quality and many of them have a Liberal Arts & Sciences profile. This makes it easier for the UCU Exam Board to approve all courses to be counted towards your curriculum requirements and graduation at UCU. Therefore students are encouraged to study abroad through a UCU contract. Each semester there are over 100 places available at UCU-destinations. You can apply for a UCU exchange partner (see list UCU destinations) and indicate a maximum of 3 different destinations. Alternatively, UCU students can choose to apply for UU destinations. In that case, their exchange is arranged from the UU International Office and students follow the exchange application and admission procedures of the UU. It is not possible to combine UCU and UU destinations in your exchange application.
     
  3. Study Abroad Fair: On Tuesday October 3, 2017 the Study Abroad Fair takes place for first and second year students who think about studying abroad in the academic year 2018-2019. It starts with a general information session at 13.30hrs in the Auditorium. From 15.00hrs onwards (until 16.30hrs) there is a Study Abroad Fair in the lounge of Dining Hall with information about most UCU- exchange and some UU -destinations. UCU Exchange Officer Carla Kist will be present during the Fair. Current exchange students at UCU will represent and promote their alma mater, and UCU students who just returned from their exchange semester will share their experiences.
     
  4. Exchange-Exchange event: On Tuesday October 24, 2017, the Exchange-Exchange event will take place after classes (time TBA) in our campus bar. Once you have made up your mind and decided on your preferred destination, this probably raises more questions than it answers. The Exchange-Exchange, organized by the exchange officer and your academic student council, is exactly that: a chill, informal event during which you can meet returning UCU students that have been to the destinations or are here from those destinations to which you are thinking of going. Do you have any pressing questions, in need of advice or tips? Ask them!
     
  5. Students who wish to apply for an exchange semester in academic year 2018-2019, fill out and submit the UCU-exchange application form (including the exchange course information 2018-2019, exchange motivation letter 2018-2019 and financial plan) to the UCU International Office by Friday November 17, 2017 at the latest. You can drop off the form in the pigeonhole of Jossy Borlee in College Hall or leave it at Reception Desk in College Hall. A link to the exchange application form can be found at the bottom of this paragraph. Please do not forget to also apply for an exchange semester in Osiris. Osiris will ask you to upload a copy of your UCU-application form in word (.doc) or PDF format. This procedure has to be done by Friday November 17, 2017 as well. All students need to submit both a hard copy and an online application - regardless of whether you wish to go on exchange through UCU or UU. Finally, please indicate on the application form whether you choose for a UCU-exchange destination or a UU-exchange destination. It is your own responsibility to arrange your UU study abroad through the International Office of UU at Heidelberglaan

    Please note: You cannot combine UCU- and UU destinations at your UCU-application form and if UCU has the same destination to offer as UU, you are not eligible for the UU-option abroad. You may only select university wide destinations (not faculty destinations!) through UU.
     

  6. When your UCU exchange application is approved, and you have been selected for a certain destination by the UCU International Office, UCU nominates you to the host university. you will be notified for a nomination before or by February/March 2018 by UCU. The first students who will receive a notification are the applicants for fall 2018 California and Madison Wisconsin (in December 2017). The host universities each have their own application procedures and deadlines for admission. You will be informed by e-mail about the different host application procedures by the UCU-Exchange Officer. For UU-destinations you will be informed by the UU International Office.
     
  7. It can happen, of course, that you have to withdraw at a certain stage after you are nominated for a host destination. Talk to the Exchange Officer about cancellation. In general, when you cancel before the first of May 2018 (exchange in Fall 2018) or July 1, 2018 (exchange in Spring 2019), there are no costs involved. When you cancel after the first of May or the first of July respectively, you will have to pay a €200 cancellation fee. Your stay at University College will then depend on the availability of a room. If you decide to re-apply for exchange in an alternative semester, then your placement depends on availability of spots.

Passport

Please make sure your passport is still valid for at least six months after the completion of your semester abroad.

Residence permit

International students with a residence permit for the Netherlands should contact the UCU Admissions Office. Your residence permit might expire during the period you reside abroad – this can cause a lot of problems! You are allowed to spend a maximum of 9 months abroad during your UCU-program without jeopardizing your Dutch residence permit.

Immigration/Visa

Depending on the country you are going to, you should report and/or register at the local Immigration Authorities within three to eight days upon arrival. This also applies to EU-residents who intend to study longer than three months in one of the other EU-countries. Do not forget this! Depending on your nationality you may need a visa for the country of your host institutions. If you are accepted for an exchange program, please contact the UCU International Office about visa procedures. EU/EEA citizens going on exchange within the EU/EEA do not need a visa. Especially for students going on exchange to the U.S., applying for a U.S. visa may be a lengthy and complicated procedure (see PowerPoint).

Insurance

You should of course be properly insured while abroad. Please check with your (travel/health) insurance company whether you are covered while studying abroad. Differences between insurance companies are tremendous. Should you need special/extra insurance for your exchange, we recommend AON or Holland Zorg. Please note that some host universities (mostly American universities), require you to take their university insurance as well.

Housing

Housing arrangements vary, depending on the host. At some host institutions, room and board will be an integral part of the (on-campus) housing arrangements. Others may offer off-campus housing. Some host universities provide housing; others only assist in finding a room. If housing is not arranged you could book temporary accommodation for a few nights in a youth hostel or motel well in advance. This is especially important if you arrive on a weekend or public holiday. If you arrive before your study program starts, the host university is not required to provide housing for you. Then, finding a temporary room is your own responsibility.

Finances

As an exchange student, you don’t have to pay the tuition fee of the host university; you will pay the fees of UCU. You will have to pay for housing, however, also if on-campus housing is provided for. Depending on the university and country you go to, this might be either cheaper or more expensive than the housing costs at UCU. Other costs that you should take into account are your travel costs, like flights –especially when you go outside Europe, this will be a large expense -, the costs to obtain a visa (inside Europe not needed for EU-students), health insurance (extra mandatory health insurance,  specifically in the U.S.) and of course your living costs. Again, these costs can vary a lot depending on your destination. Dutch students (and certain International students) who receive government student finance will keep receiving it during their exchange, as long as they remain full-time registered as a student at UCU and their exchange is recognized as part of their UCU program. This is the case when you study abroad through a UCU or UU exchange agreement. International students with a (UCU) scholarship will keep their grant, while studying abroad.

OV-refund

Dutch students can get a refund for their OV-student card, by requesting an OVvergoeding-buitenland. You can apply for the OV-refund through Mijn DUO. Make sure you apply for the OV-refund two months before you leave. Your application form has to be signed by UCU for approval, which can be done by the UCU International Office. You can leave the forms in the pigeonhole of Jossy Borlee in College Hall or leave them at the Reception Desk (before July 1, 2018), and you can pick up the signed forms at Reception Desk when they are processed. You will receive EUR 89,07 (2017) extra per month because you do not use your OV student card whilst studying abroad. Please note: After you have been granted the OV-refund, you will still need to cancel the “student travel product” on your OV student card in order to receive the refund. This can be done at any OV pick up device before your departure.

Erasmus/Scholarships

If you are going to study abroad in Europe, you can choose to apply for an Erasmus grant. Make sure you hand the form in to Student Services (UU International Office) two months before you leave. For application deadlines and more information, check this website. Students going on exchange through UCU need a signature from the UCU Exchange Officer (Carla Kist). Students going on exchange on a UU program need a signature from the coordinator at International Office UU (Student Services). Once you applied, Student Services will send you a confirmation and extra details. Please mind: use your postal address for the application. There are not many general scholarships available outside the ERASMUS program, but of course you can search yourself on the Nuffic-site, Fulbright-Center or at scholarshipportal.eu

During your semester abroad you have to stay in contact with your tutor, regarding your thesis, enrollment in courses once you are back, etc. Correspondence will take places through your UCU-student email account. Although you may not be able to meet with your tutor in person for mid-term evaluations, you will still need to fill out the mid-term evaluation form.

Be sure that you register at the Dutch embassy or consulate abroad, so you can be informed about general urgent issues, if necessary.
You do not have to deregister from the municipality of Utrecht. If you are away shorter than 8 months, deregistration is not necessary and your address will be kept.

Make sure your regular mail is forwarded or checked by someone. It is also recommendable to authorize someone (e.g. a parent) to represent you for student finance, bank issues etc. Be sure to keep checking your solismail regularly. Do not forward your solismail to hotmail or live-mail because we have had trouble in the past with sending emails to these addresses!

You should be aware that, during your exchange, you are representing University College Utrecht abroad. Your conduct in the host country will directly influence the reputation of UCU. Consequently, exchange students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic achievement and personal conduct whilst participating in an exchange program. The host university may call upon you to represent UCU in exchange related events for their students; you are expected to participate in these events. For you this is a fun opportunity to meet with students who might be studying at UCU the next academic year!

UCU Learning agreement

Before you leave UCU, it is wise to discuss with your tutor the possibilities for your curriculum at UCU. Students need permission from the UCU Examination Board for the courses they take during their semester abroad. In order to arrange this, you have to fill out and send electronically a UCU learning agreement as soon as the course registration is definite. On this form you should include course titles, course level (UCU level 1, 2 or 3) and credits you receive for the course. Only after approval of the UCU Examination Board can exchange credits be included on your UCU transcript. If the learning agreement is not approved, you will not receive credits for your semester abroad. If one or more courses are not approved, you will have to enroll in alternative courses. Therefore, it is extremely important to hand in the learning agreement as soon as possible. The signed learning agreement (together with course outlines of your classes) may be sent to ucu.examboard@uu.nl – do not forget to include your tutor in the cc. If you want a course to fulfill a major requirement, please fill out a special request form and include the necessary documentation. If your learning agreement is approved, please bring a transcript with you upon return or make sure it is sent to UCU.

Please keep the following in mind when choosing courses:

  • You have to complete a full time workload of 30 ECTS (840 working hours).  Please check the information about the credit system of your host information on the UCU destinations website. If you still have questions about the credit system contact the Exchange Officer.  It is not possible to take less than 30 ECTS on exchange. Two exceptions: students on exchange to a quarter system campus of the University of California (not Berkeley or Merced) during Fall semester complete 16 quarter units (22,5 ECTS), and students who go to the University of Washington (Seattle) during Fall Semester complete 16 quarter units (22,5 ECTS). The credit shortage in these cases needs to be compensated by attending a summer course, winter course or fifth course prior to the semester abroad. In all other cases, it is not possible to only earn 22,5 ECTS and compensate this with a summer course, winter course or fifth course without permission of the UCU Examination Board.
  • Courses in sports, photography, scenario writing and so on, although fun, are not considered to be academic courses. These courses may be attended only as an extra course, on top of the 30 ECTS approved in your learning agreement.
  • Attending courses in languages that are also taught at UCU in fulfilment of your language requirement is not allowed.
  • Attending pass/fail courses is not possible during your exchange – unless the course is only taught in pass/fail format. In this case, you should indicate so on the learning agreement and fill out the Pass/Fail request form. Please note that this course will count towards the one course you are permitted to take as pass/fail course during your studies at UCU.
  • Make sure there is no course content overlap with previous courses taken at UCU. 
  • Students at the University of California are not allowed to take Lower Division courses. They enroll in Upper Division courses ranging from 100-199.
  • It is possible to finish a track with an exchange course (of 7,5 ECTS min.). In this case, please indicate on the learning agreement that the course should be counted as a track-finisher and fill out a Special Request Form.

Erasmus Learning Agreement and Statement Host Institution

Students studying abroad on an Erasmus+ grant need to make sure that the Erasmus Learning Agreement and the Statement Host Institution are signed and stamped upon return to the Netherlands. Upon arrival in Utrecht, you will have to submit these forms (together with the Student Report) to the UU International Office before the remaining grant can be transferred to your account. Read more about Erasmus+ grants.

Transfer credits

We will receive your transcript with grades normally within two months after the end of your semester abroad and your return to Utrecht. Some host universities want you to sign an approval form that they may issue and send your transcript to us. The approval of your learning agreement is the guarantee that the courses, credits and grades on your transcript will count towards your UCU graduation. However, if there are courses, credits and grades on your exchange transcript, which are not approved by the UCU Examination Board, then it is not sure whether they will be included for your UCU graduation. The UCU registrar will make the grade conversion and enters your grades in Osiris.

Evaluation

Upon your return to UCU, you will be required to complete an exchange evaluation. If applicable: Please provide the UCU Exchange Officer with a copy of your Erasmus report. These surveys and reports will assist future students applying for exchange, and are kept at UCU for future reference. You should note that completing the survey is a mandatory requirement for your exchange. Failing to do so may lead to negative consequences. The deadline for this is January 15, 2018 for Fall 2017 exchange students and August 15, 2018 for Spring 2018 exchange students.

Blogs

Many UCU students write a blog during their semester abroad, to keep their family and friends up to date on their adventures. Reading personal experiences and stories may be a fun way for new students to learn more about UCU exchange destinations as well as the process of going on exchange. The Exchange Officer may therefore contact UCU students who previously went on exchange to ask if they would like to have their blog published on the student.uu.nl website. In that case, we would add a link to your blog page to the students’ experiences information section of your exchange destination.

Study Abroad Fair and UCU Open Days

We would highly appreciate it if you can help us with giving information and advice to future generation students at the next Study Abroad Fair and during UCU Open Days. This is on a voluntary and non-paid basis.

Most universities have websites you can visit for more information. For additional information please first check the exchange catalog. If your question is not answered, consult Exchange Officer Carla Kist.

The International Office at Student Services in the Uithof has more information about UU destinations. They also have information on institutions and foundations you can write to for funding.