Studying Abroad: Five Interesting Student Exchange Programs

Exchange programs for students have proved to be a great way for youth to enrich their student days, gain valuable experience, meet new people, and have genuine fun. Studying abroad can also be life changing as it can stand out on your CV and give you great career opportunities in the future. We have done a little research for you and herewith offer a versatile list of five great exchange programs for you to consider.

Central European University

Located in Budapest, CEU is known globally as a great interdisciplinary research center that nurtures multiculturalism and adresses some of the most important social issues of our time, through applied knowledge. According to the Times Higher Education Ranking, it is listed in the top 100 universities in the world. In the most recent year, 80% of the students enrolled in the master’s program were receiving some type of scholarship aid, and 92% of the PhD candidates, too. Currently, they have an open call for master’s and doctoral scholarships for the coming school year, 2016/2017. There are 50 different degree programs in various study fields, including business, cognitive science, economics, environmental sciences and policy, gender studies, history, mathematics, medieval studies, poltical science, etc. If you send in your application by the 4th of February, you will be applying for a 50%-100% scholarship (the maximum amount equals 16.000 EUR per year). The scholarship covers your accomodation and living costs, as well as your health insurance.

Yale University in the U.S. – Yale Young Global Scholars Program

This is not a study abroad opportunity per se, but it is definitely worth mentioning since it can lead you to becoming a student at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. So, this is a program that is aimed at high school students, not current undergraduates.

This year, Yale University has finally opened its doors to high school students from Eastern Europe, through its official Yale Young Global Scholars Program. This is a program that offers academic courses in the field of leadership and enterpreneurship. Students who are selected will spend two weeks in the summer taking some of the offered courses. This year, the university will offer six distinct sessions: Politics, Law, and Economics; International Affairs and Security; Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship; Applied Science & Engineering; Biological & Biomedical Science; and Sustainability, Energy, & Environment.

However, the selection of students is quite rigorous. Yale is truly seeking the best of the best. Also, the program is rather expensive (5.500 USD), but you may apply for financial aid. Last year, one third of the participants received part or full scholarships, which is an encouraging bit of information. For financial aid, see here.

This is a fantastic opportunity for young people who are interested in studying at Yale and other Ivy League universities in the USA, because through this program, future Ivy League students will be recruited.

 The University of Sheffield, via the Erasmus Programme

In 2011, the University of Sheffield was named UK University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards. High quality professors and researchers work in wide-ranging subject areas, which ensure this university’s outstanding global reputation.

The University of Sheffield is a popular choice for international students: there are around 25.000 students from 117 different countries enrolled. The University has shown a genuine wish to look after its international students, making sure that their contributions to the UK’s economy and culture receive recognition. They have launched a campaign under the name We Are International, which explains why international students are important and the mechanisms for supporting them in what they do, through a relationship in which there is a respectful reciprocity that ensures a win-win situation. For this campaign, in 2014, the University of Sheffield received an Award for Outstanding International Student Strategy. The known facts suggest that there are few places that will make you feel equally as welcomed as at the University of Sheffield.

As for the technicalities and finances, the University of Sheffield offers a wide range of scholarships such as scholarships for City Scholars, for Global Scholars, for students pursuing Master’s degrees, Sports scholarships, Lloyds Scholars Programme, etc. If you apply via the Erasmus Programme, you can explore the possibilities of getting a loan or an Erasmus grant. There are also student coordinators who can help you with finding the best accommodation. FYI, they have been recognized for offering the Best Student Housing by the 2012 College and University Business Officers (CUBO) awards.

Freie Universität Berlin, via JoinEU-SEE Penta

If you live in an EU Country or in Southeastern Europe, you may consider applying for your studies abroad via JoinEU-SEE Penta. JoinEU-SEE Penta is an EU-funded Erasmus Mundus mobility and scholarship project. A certain advantage of this program lies in the possibility of getting a full scholarship, which covers a monthly allowance, travel costs, insurance costs, and tuition fees if applicable. On the down side, it doesn’t offer you a long list of universities to choose from, since it is strictly focused on mobility opportunities between the EU and the Western Balkans. Make sure your university is a partner university, so you are eligible to apply.

Freie Universität Berlin does not have any tution fees, so education there is completely free! However, there is something that is called Semesterbeitrag: if you pay an amount of around 260 EUR per semester, you will get free public transportation anywhere in Berlin, which will pay off in the end. The university’s web site is very helpful in giving all the crucial information and preparing you for life in Berlin. You should count on spending a minimum of 600-700 EUR a month for living costs and rent. Keep in mind that, as a grant receiver, you are not allowed to work.

This university has a wide range of study fields, here are some of the ones offered by JoinEU-SEE Penta: International Relations, European Studies, Area Studies; History; Physics; Biology; History of Art; Archaeology; Medical Sciencies; General and Comparative Literature, etc. There are twelve departments and three Central Institutes and over 150 academic programs to choose from. If you wish to know more about the Freie Universität Berlin, you can watch a short movie on their web site.

The University of Pisa, via the Erasmus Programme

If the quality of education, as well as the location and the University’s ambience are important to you, and in addition – you’re a true lover of Italy, then the University of Pisa could be perfect for you! It was founded in 1343, which makes it one of the most ancient and prestigious universities in Europe.

The University of Pisa offers bachelor’s and master’s programmes within Erasmus. There are numerous study fields to choose from, and you can see the ECTS, which is extremely helpful. Fields of study noted on the web site include agricultural and veterinary sciencies, engineering, health sciences, humanities, mathematical, physical and natural sciences, and social sciences. As an international student, you will be offered free Intensive Italian language courses, in September and October.

In 2014, this university ranked as first among Italian Universities, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. And here’s a piece of trivia: Galileo Galilei was a student at the University of Pisa, and later became a professor of mathematics there. Pretty cool!

These are just some of the great study abroad opportunities we have found. Make sure to check out the study offers provided by the Erasmus Programme, since it is considered to be the program that connects the highest number of universities around the globe.

And here are two extra tips. First, if you find a perfect program for you, but for any possible reason you are not eligible to apply, send an e-mail to the university that interests you. Sometimes, if they acknowledge your honest passion for studying what you love, they might „strech the rules“ a bit for you. And a second tip: if you find a university that isn’t involved in these exchange programs, send an inquiry by e-mail. You never know! Experiences of this type are far too valuable to just let them slip away. It’s always better to ask. If it’s really not possible for you to study there, then you will simply be rejected. That is far better than just assuming that you will be rejected and not checking if there is something that can be done. Always ask, so you don’t end up torturing yourself with what ifs.

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