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12 steps to go on exchange

You can download an overview of the different steps:

PDF of the 12-step programme

1. Exchange application at your faculty 

You apply for an exchange for studies or a traineeship at your faculty. The selection is determined by each faculty’s own regulations, but often involves: an overview of your study results and study progress, language proficiency, a motivational letter and a draft study plan (i.e. Learning Agreement) for your exchange. The start and end date of the application process are set by your faculty or study programme (start in December – deadline around mid-February). You apply for an exchange for the next academic year. Once the Faculty Selection Committee has evaluated the applications, your faculty informs you whether you can go on an exchange programme. Have a look at your faculty and/or study programme's webpage for their selection criteria and application deadline. Your exchange coordinator's contact details can be found there as well. Your exchange coordinator will guide you throughout your application process. 

Check the list of destinations for your study programme

2. Faculty selection results and nomination 

Each faculty nominates their selected students to the VUB’s International Relations office team (IRMO). Only those students officially nominated by their faculty can start their online VUB exchange registration and will be eligible for one of the scholarship programmes managed by VUB for their exchange during the next academic year (including Erasmus+ scholarships for Traineeships after Graduation). Late applications (at faculty level) and nominations (to IRMO) will not be considered. 

3. Online VUB exchange registration 

Nominated students must complete the online VUB exchange registration through Mobility-Online, an online platform through which all administration for your exchange (before, during and after) is managed. You can register to this platform the moment you receive the link from the International Relations office team (for those receiving a scholarship), or via the responsible person at your faculty (for self-funded students). Check the ‘Destinations table' for more details. 

4. Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships ‘before mobility’ 

A Learning Agreement for Studies or a Traineeship is a plan that details the courses or training activities. This is an official document and obligatory for all exchanges for studies or a traineeship that are part of your VUB study programme. There are three parties who should agree on your Learning Agreement: 

  1. You 

  1. Your VUB exchange coordinator who is academically responsible and approves it. 

  1. The host institution or organisation (in case of traineeships)  

Learning Agreements for Studies are formalised through the platform Mobility-Online. Technical issues with Mobility-Online can be reported to exchange.outgoing@vub.be 

Learning Agreements for a Traineeship templates can be downloaded via Mobility-Online. 

5. Application at host institution or organisation 

Register and apply for your exchange at the host institution while following their requirements and regulations. Check the host university’s website to find out what their procedures are. The International Relations office team passes on the names of the nominees to the host institution, but submitting an application and completing the administration at the host institution is your responsibility. 

  • ! Applications for intercontinental exchanges are longer and more demanding. Start preparing your application well in advance. You can only start your application once the International Relations office team has sent the names of the nominees to the host institution. We strongly recommend that you start collecting the required documentation as soon as possible to have everything ready on time. 

  • ! Your application is subject to official acceptance by the host institution. Exchanges to partner universities within the framework of Erasmus+ are usually accepted if all administration is completed correctly and you have the recommended language proficiency. Applications for an intercontinental exchange (exchanges to a partner institution outside the framework of Erasmus+) are evaluated by the partner institution, taking into account multiple criteria such as study results, language proficiency and personal motivation. 

Students going abroad for a traineeship need to make the necessary arrangements with the host organisation. 

6. Exchange Take-Off info session 

You will be invited for the mandatory Exchange Take-Off info session (each year at the beginning of May). You will receive detailed information on how to prepare for your exchange: insurance, safety, language preparation, housing, travel and residence documents and paperwork at home. 

7. Official approval exchange 

After the exam period (depending on whether you have to retake exams, this will be at the beginning of July or September), the VUB faculty evaluates and officially approves your study abroad. This eligibility-check is based on criteria set by your faculty (or specific study programme). Consult the Faculty webpage or with your exchange coordinator for more information. You are not allowed to leave on an exchange without official confirmation. 

  • ! In addition to VUB’s academic approval (eligibility check), the host institution also needs to accept your exchange application. Make sure you complete all the necessary administration (such as the Learning Agreement). Non-EU partners (for intercontinental exchanges) might have specific admission criteria and will evaluate your application file. Have a look at the partner institution’s website to find out more about the admission criteria for exchange students. 

  • ! Please note that, as well as these confirmations, having a Learning Agreement for Studies or a Traineeship signed by all three parties is obligatory (see above). 

Students whose exchange can take place will receive an official approval email. 

8. Students receiving a scholarship 

Students eligible for a scholarship (from a scholarship programme managed by VUB), will receive an email with the scholarship administration documents. These are only sent if 1) the Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships has been signed by all three parties, and if 2) the exchange has been officially approved. 

More information on the different scholarships and their specific requirements (such as signing of the grant agreement, other necessary administration, payment scheme) can be found here.

9. Start of your exchange 

You remain a VUB student while you are studying abroad, so do not forget tore-enrol at VUB. In addition, you need to register at the host institution and attend their welcome activities. Courses that are exchanged at VUB are usually registered by your faculty secretariat, but make sure to notify your faculty secretariat in time. 

Get your Certificate of Arrival signed by the responsible person at the host organisation or institution. Upload the file to your personal flow in Mobility-Online (or send it to exchange.outgoing@vub.be if instructed to do so). The Certificate of Arrival is attached to the email informing you of the approval of your exchange. 

10. Changes to the Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships ‘during mobility’ 

Upon arrival (after submitting the Certificate of Arrival) one-time changes to the Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships are possible. Changes to the Learning Agreement have to be motivated (reason for change) and need to be academically approved at the host institution or organisation and at VUB (exchange coordinator). Please refer to the procedure of approval of the learning agreement ‘before mobility’. 

  • Deadline 1st semester exchanges: 15 October. 

  • Deadline 2nd semester exchanges: 28 February. 

11. Prolongation exchange 

Not all students can prolong their exchange. Regulations are set by each faculty (contact yourexchange coordinator for more information). 

Only students who have been allowed to prolong their exchange will be informed by email (beginning of December) on the correct prolongation procedure. 

12. End of your exchange 

Before returning home, you need to get the Certificate of Departure signed by the responsible person at the host organisation or institution. Upload the file to your personal flow in Mobility-Online (or send it to exchange.outgoing@vub.be if instructed to do so). The Certificate of Departure is the same document as your Certificate of Arrival (uploaded or sent earlier). 

Your Transcript of Records (Grade Sheets) will be sent to VUB by your host institution. If you receive the Transcript of Records yourself, send the copy to the VUB Student Administration. Traineeship Certificates need to be sent to your VUB Exchange Coordinator and the VUB Student Administration. 

  • Please remember that your grades might be converted and may differ from the result you have obtained at your host institution. Grade conversion is done at faculty level (contact your Exchange Coordinator for more information). 
     

The credits gained abroad (and part of your Learning Agreement) will be recognised and mentioned on your “VUB-diploma supplement”. 

Students receiving a scholarship managed by VUB need to comply with the specific requirements set by the funding organisation (i.e. complete survey, non-binding online language test, essay writing) to receive the last instalment. More information on the scholarship info page. 

Join us at the  welcome back session (for which you will receive a personal invitation) and share your experiences!