Freemover or exchange student? How to study abroad

Freemover or exchange student? How to study abroad

Hello, everyone!
In today’s post, I will explain some of the main differences between being an exchange student and being a freemover (or free mover).

The freemover definition

Mobile students are usually divided into two groups: Freemovers are students who travel entirely on their own initiative, while exchange students use exchange programmes at a department, faculty, institution, or national level (such as Erasmus, Nordplus or Fulbright). Source wikipedia

Now that you know the fundamental difference, here are the main practical ones.

N°1: Accommodation

The international office welcomes the exchange students and helps them to find accommodation, and follow them during their stay.

As a freemover, you will receive the same help that the usual local student. Don’t count too much on it.

As a freemover, you have to be a bit more prepared compared to an exchange student. For example,  it will be essential to know the basics of the country’s’ national language in order to be more independent for day to day life.

fre mover, street, alone, man

N°2 Money, money, money

Exchange students usually benefit from an existing partnership between the Universities and  they can keep their student status from their home during their trip abroad.  They also receive grants or scholarships more easily.

Freemovers will have the same financial status as “outstate” students, neaning non local students, plus the non domestic/national student. They will have to look for specific scholarships in their home country and their host country to fund their experience abroad.

N°3 Social Life

joung, smile, asian, girl, SVM

Welcoming International students is always a challenge for a University and its students. And with networks like Erasmus, exchange students are often invited to a lot of activities and parties. Not to mention that exchange students often move in groups and stay together in similar places. So their time abroad will be a completely different experience from the one of freemovers, in regard of this aspect. Of course freemovers are welcome to join international student clubs, mostly existing and run by local student life. I encouraged also to join other student clubs to get a perfect immersion and maybe friends for life.

Freemover: Degree or non-Degree student

As a Freemover you have two options (same as an exchange student in that case):

  1. Join a programme and seek a full degree abroad
  2. Follow some particular classes with the possibility to transfer credits when you come back

More and more university are opened to non-degree students or visiting students or auditors, the name change from a university to another.

Going abroad as a Non-Degree student

Why going through all the trouble to go abroad if it’s not to get a degree at the end? Well, it depends on what you are looking for.
You may already have a degree in your field but wishes to learn more in a specific area. You don’t need to take all the classes, just a few ones. So if the university allows you, it may be cheaper and you will have time for a part-time job or/and enjoy more the new country you are in. It’s less engaging too, it can be only for a semester or even a trimester, depending on what you are looking for and also it will be a nice line addition to your CV, of course. 
Just as always, check that you can transfer the credits back home if you want to pursue later in the same field.

Freemover is a game changer for career

International student experience is a real plus for your career. It’s more than just a cultural immersion and meeting new people. It’s about taking 100% care of yourself, show a real an true autonomy in all sides of life : human relationships, paperwork, work focus, day to day decisions, financial choices. It’s about making your own path, without activating your physical roots when a problem occurs. 

And studing in another country without the support your home institution, as a freemover, means you are on your own. You have to find contacts, push doors, communicate in uncertainty to find solutions, whether it’s for setting a local tour trip, or getting some homework support.

For an employer, it means a lot. It means you are ready for a challenge, with less fear. It means you won’t be afraid of language barriers, of international travel, of local adaptation, of mutual understanding. It also says a lot about your management capacity and your autonomy. It show that you will ask for management support only in extreme cases. It shows that you are a solution finder, that you are not waiting for others to take care about your situation, that you know how to plan, how to prepare yourself, how to budget, how to report, how to socialize. It means that you will integrate faster in a professional group and you will find your way  before others.

That’s why it is a real game changer during interviews and is really positive for your career.

Are you ready to be a freemover?

The interesting part in studying abroad as a freemover is to live a much more immersive experience. You won’t be in the special cocoon in which exchange students are. So you will have to push yourself to adapt and truly understand a different culture and environment. And that is quite a challenge, don’t you think?

Become an international student candidate

Studying abroad brings many benefits, but finding the perfect match for your project can be complicated and really time-consuming.
With HigherEdMe, you stay focus on your studies and outstanding opportunities to go abroad will come to you without efforts!
New! Explore abroad campus with amazing 360° videos

New! Explore abroad campus with amazing 360° videos

More and more videos are filmed in 360° or 180°.

These videos in 180° and 360° formats answer the need for immersive experiences. You can find them on all the Social Network, you can watch Broadway shows, Sports videos or travel at free cost on google street view. In the light of this fact, at HigherEdMe, we thought that maybe you can have one more use of those innovating videos. Why not check your future campus abroad.

360 degree camera video during the footage - abroad campus videos

Where will you be studying next year? How will be the Housing? Will be good sports facilities? Is the neighborhood safe?

When you are going abroad, why not have a real look of your campus without an expensive trip.
In the near future, you will see before moving abroad a lot of this videos. Each one about places you will go and activities you will have there like how your housing, classrooms, or labs will be or what extra activities they offer. Coupled with alumni or teachers interviews, we think that we can really help you to project your future abroad self.

Then with this in mind and with a partnership with Le Pôle Léonard de Vinci and Captiv360°, we made this cool video that presents the Pôle Léonard de Vinci. The Pôle Léonard de Vinci is a French school of management located in Paris.


About The School:

Ideally situated in the heart of La Défense business district, the Pôle Universitaire Léonard de Vinci unites more than 3500 students within its four schools which deliver degrees which are recognized by employers: the Graduate School of Engineering (ESILV), the Management School (EMLV), the Institute of Internet & Multimedia (IIM) and the School of Developers (DEVSCHOOL).The Institute of Executive Education (ILV) and the CFA Léonard de Vinci are also located within the Pole.

More information on their website:

In addition, if you wish to study in France, we already have some post that can interest you :

How we did it:

Thanks to the team of Captiv360°, all the footage turned in a day. You can see in the video some students of the school that came especially to help too. And special thanks to Pascal Brouaye, the Dean of Pôle Universitaire Léonard De Vinci who agreed to participate.

Of course, we hope to have more and more videos like that in the future. What do you think about it? Do you enjoy the video, does it give you to know more about the school that it presents? Share your thoughts in the comments!

By the way, if you are interested in The Pôle Léonard De Vinci, create your profile on HigherEdMe : Create a free account

Study abroad photos 30 years later and scholarships!

I try a new kind of post today. Not quite a press review but close. I will aggregate here some post I found interesting in the week about study abroad stuff. Today summary:
  • A woman has made a second trip abroad, and have made the most logical thing to do during her stay.
  • a post list 15 scholarship opportunities open to African students
  • fact about the benefits of studying abroad

30 years later, nothing has changed for Lisa Werner

During your study abroad trip, you make unforgettable memories. Lisa Werner from California has chosen to recreate them with a second abroad trip 30 years later. You can read her story and see many photos on the HuffingtonPost: Do you parents have done a study abroad trip too? Why not suggest them to go again and have fun with this simple idea 😉    
On this photo, she is standing in front of the Cologne’s Cathedrale. Cologne is one of the 4 largest cities in Germany ( you can read more about Germany and German language here), She was also in France (City of Strasbourg).

Boost your study abroad project with Scholarship opportunities

I think that I may help some of you to realize their study abroad project with this information.
Africa, Top 15 scholarship opportunities It’s a post with a list of 15 scholarship opportunities for African students. Tokyo, China, Australia, Malaysia, Denmark… all those countries are possible destinations with those scholarships. Read the full article here:
I look at them and I find this one really interesting:Read more here : If you are going to apply for one, tell us in the comments why!

Why do more and more people choose to study abroad?

The answer is very simple because, despite all the possible difficulties (Budget, administrative paper, unknown language), students gain a lot with this experience. For the majority of students going abroad means:
  • a gain in maturity
  • a better understanding of their own cultural value
  • a boost in self-confidence
  • new skills useful for their future career
I know that most of you didn’t need to be convinced to go abroad, but maybe this fact will convince your parents if they have a bit afraid to let their child going far away. I hope you will like this post, don’t hesitate to tell in the comments if you want to see more like this one! I wish you a very good day.
Study Business in the Caribbean in Santo Domingo

Study Business in the Caribbean in Santo Domingo

Hello everybody!
It has been a while since I have presented you a new school 🏣. Not that we haven’t had any but more like too much to told you about correctly. But this one is a bit special! Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) is a University based in the Caribbean 🌴🌴 in the Dominican Republic.
They offer a Bachelor in Business Administration all taught in English in partnership with American universities that leads to a double certification.

Unibe, Caribbean university

Some fact about the University:

  • 1 program offered entirely in English: Bachelor in Business Administration.
  • 2 bilingual programs (English and Spanish): Medical Doctor, and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (dual degree with Florida International University).
  • Student body of 5,000 students.
  • Women/Men student ratio on student population 64:36.
  • 25 % international students who come from more than 46 countries.
  • 900 faculty members at undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Student/Faculty ratio of 6:1 ensuring personalized attention for all students.
  • 17,000 alumni. More than 5,000 of them are international students.
  • 73% employment rate for alumni the first year after graduation; 80% in the second year, 84% at the third year and 94% at the 5th year of graduation.
  • read more


The city: Santo Domingo, caribbean historical place

The main campus is located in the capital of the country, Santo Domingo. Founded in 1496, this city has a rich history and has seen the construction of the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress in the “New world”.

How UNIBE presents the city:

The Dominican Republic is located in the Hispaniola, considered the second largest island in the Caribbean and shared with Haiti. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (North) and by the Caribbean Sea (South), between Cuba and Puerto Rico. The nation’s population is approximately 9 million inhabitants. Near to 3 million people live in Santo Domingo, the Capital City. Spanish is the official language and English is widely spoken. On tourist areas you can also find some knowledge of French, Italian and German. The average annual temperature is 77° F with august being the warmest month and January the coolest. Summer temperatures range from 89° to 95 ° F and in the winter from 75° to 90° F.

What a destination to study 🎓. Are you interested? Ask your questions in the comments or make your #studyabroad  project on !

And don’t forget when a School or a University is contacting you, be at your best! And if you need advice, our guide is here to hel you : Learn how to answer Schools

English language certificates – introduction

English language certificates – introduction

So do you want to study in the United States? or do you want to study in the United Kingdom? Maybe you have a prestigious school or university in mind? Harvard? Yale? Berkeley? the MIT? Oxford? Cambridge? Of course your university of choice may not be as famous as one of those I have just mentioned but you will do just as good. Or maybe just want to study in Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Wait, you do not need to study in an English-speaking country but you just want to study abroad? And this international programme you are interested in just so happens to be in English because yes, English is the language of international studies.

Whatever your choice is, the universities will require to prove your proficiency in English. This is why you need to get a language certificate.

A university may require a specific language certificate or give you a choice between a selection of certificates and will also specify the expected level. If you remember the previous article, this level will be either expressed by a grade or by a specific certificate.

Here we are using the word “certificate” liberally. Indeed, you will notice that most of what we call certificates here are technically  just standardized tests and do not lead to a diploma. Rest reassured, we will detail the differences between tests and certificates in this article.

English is an extremely popular study language – it sits at the top of the list of the most studied foreign languages in the world. As a result, there are more than 50 different English certificates on the market today and it would not be possible to list them all here. The aim of the article is not to detail each of them, we will focus on the most prominent certificates and help you make out the differences.


TOEFL and TOEIC and :  the American references

ETS, an American nonprofit organization whose goal is “to help advance quality and equity in education”, manages these two very popular language “certificates”:  the TOEFL and the TOEIC.

It might be abusive to call them certificates though. Technically they are standardized language tests. That means you cannot fail them and the score is interpreted as your level in English language. In practise, schools use your score to accept you or to refuse you. If you do not meet their requirement, you are not going to get admission. The ETS is thus just a service provider that give standardized tests that is recognized everywhere. So the tests do not entitle you to a certificate or a diploma.

But as those tests have become globally recognized, they have become references and people often write them in their resumes and it’s still relevant even though they are past their validity time. And as such it is no surprise that people have started calling them certificates abusively.

Different tests will test different English. English for studies, English for work, etc. This is why your test will have a limited time of validity, unlike a diploma  that you keep for life, like a bachelor in English for instance.


How to take good photos with your mobile phone

How to take good photos with your mobile phone

Many of you will study abroad soon or some of you will just travel and want to take pictures with their phone. It’s not always easy to take professional-like pictures when you only use your phone. Well, here are pieces of advice you could take into consideration next time you want to take killer pictures.


Tip number 1 : clean your lens

It may sound silly but it’s actually really important. Sometimes it can be dirty because you put it in your bag without any headcase or you put your greasy sticky fingers on it. So make sure it’s completely clean.


Tip number 2 : only take photos with your back-facing camera lens.

The front one has a lower resolution. Usually used for selfies, it might be a great deal to try to take your next selfies with the back-facing camera lens. Come on! It’s not that difficult!


Tip number 3 : avoid using the zoom.

Unless you want your pictures to look blurry and with a lot of pixels, I’d advise you not to use it.


Tip number 4 : use the focus feature.

You want to make an element pop? Then making your lens focus on a special element will definitely highlight it. So don’t hesitate to use this feature.


Tip number 5 : try not to move.

Easier said than done, right? Well, cameras usually work the same but your phone is even more sensitive to that so try to stay still while taking a picture.


Tip number 6 : find the good light.

A shadow does not look so good on photos. Well, it actually depends on what you want to take a photo of but be careful of the sun. It can give you a hard time to take pictures so make sure you take them when the sun is slowly setting or rising. When it’s up high in the sky, you’ll either look too pale or too dark with bad shadows on your face. Moreover, some elements will be harder to take into pictures : if you want to take the photo of a building with backlight it will sure be good to be thrown into trash.

And last but not least, remember to put your phone down from time to time and simply enjoy the beauty of the things surrounding you.


So you want to see great things and enjoy them? Studying abroad is the perfect way to do that while learning new things. So tell us about your study abroad project on HigherEdMe and get the chance to be sent study abroad offers by worldwide Schools!


-Emilie, Community Manager