Going abroad as an independent student to collect international credits?

Going abroad during your studies is more and more a big step and it is sometimes mandatory to graduate.  This post will help you to know what are your solutions and what to check before going abroad by yourself as an independent student, often called free-mover by universities. One of the main questions concerns the credit system and international credits.
Check our previous post on the subject: Free mover or exchange student the differences

First, think about your current situation and your options

Here are some questions you can ask yourself now if you didn’t check them yet :

  • Does my current program require to study abroad?
  • Do I want to spend time abroad during my studies?

If you reply yes to one of the first two questions, it’s time to check your university partnerships.

What if you can’t go as an exchange student?

Two reasons can lead you to this question. Your destination choices as an exchange student have been refused by your institution, or none of the partners was of your interest.
You know have the task to go abroad by yourself.
In order to do so, you will have to:

  1. Find an institution
  2. Check with your institution if they recognize it and if the program content is ok for your final degree (labels and accreditations can help)
  3. Make all the steps for admission in the new institution (check your language level too, you can read our post about English language certificates)
  4. Continue to regularly check with your home school about the validation of the course you will follow there.

Have a teacher or an administrator on your side

A good way to deal will the foreign administration papers and demands of your home university is to have a teacher to help you to go through. You can ask him to review the program that you will follow and if it matches with your actual program.
He might help you with a recommendation letter too if the international office can’t. And also it is better to stay in touch with him during your journey. Let him know how your studies are going and about what you are learning. The interesting thing about this is that he will not have to discover all at once when you get back. It may help you to validate your credits too.  No bad surprises when you’re going back will be a nice thought as you will be abroad.
 

Make the most of your summer break

If you are just missing a few time abroad to meet your international credits requirements, you can use a summer program to reach your goal.

It will be relatively the same recommendations to go abroad for a summer than to go as a free-mover for a trimester. If your goal is to come back with international credits, you will have to check with your home institution if they are ok with it. And also, you will have to take in charge the application part.
The best part of summer programs, it’s that they often offer activities to discover the country and the culture. It is not just about studies, but also communication skills, foreign language learning skills, social integration, academic integration and global skills and support.

I hope this post will help you to find the best way for you to go abroad! Don’t forget that the most important things are to look for information early and always check it with your home institution.

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