FAQs

You might have lots of questions about studying abroad. Here are some of the most common questions and some helpful answers.

Study Abroad: International 

Am I eligible to study abroad?

The International Exchange programme is available to current students at the University of Birmingham where this is permitted as part of your University degree programme and where you meet the criteria set out by your department. You should also have enough prior knowledge of the overseas institution's language of instruction to be able to fully engage with university level study. The Medical and Dental School does not offer study abroad placements.

Can I study abroad, if it’s not included in my degree programme?

It may be possible to change to a four year degree. Speak to your department and exchange tutor before you complete a change of course form.

Where can I go?

The University prides itself on its ability to offer students a wide array of study abroad opportunities. Your destination may depend on the course and criteria set by your department but where your course is more flexible, we have agreements with over 300 partner institutions across the world.

Who is my exchange tutor?

Your exchange tutor will guide you through the application process and approve your chosen subjects of study. You can find the contact details for your exchange tutor here.

Why do I need to choose preferred destinations?

The process is very competitive so all students should select up to seven different destinations from three different countries in first few choices, if your academic programme permits.

How are places allocated?

We will use your average academic results from your first year and your personal statement to produce a ranking to allocate places.

Can specific personal considerations be taken into account when I am allocated a place?

We can take into consideration factors that are important to you so if you have personal reasons for requesting a specific destination (e.g. religion, sexual orientation, disability) please highlight how this has influenced your preferred choice in the personal statement.

Will I be allocated to one of my preferred destinations?

We will always endeavour to secure an exchange place for as many students as we possibly can, but due to high demand in some countries, we cannot guarantee a destination in your top seven. For example, we only have approximately one place for every five applications in competitive destinations such as USA, Canada, and Australia.  

What if I am allocated to a destination that isn’t in my top seven?

98% of our returning students tell us that they have had ‘the best year of their life’ regardless of their destination. We have many partner universities in non-English speaking countries were programmes are taught in English. We know that students who challenge themselves to choose non-traditional destinations have a truly rewarding experience and gain significant personal development skills.

When will I find out the destination I have been allocated?

We aim to allocate all students a place as soon as possible however it’s a complex process and as such we cannot provide a specific date. We will be in touch with you via your University of Birmingham email address to confirm your allocation. We expect that this to take place in January but will update this date as soon as we can.

Who can I contact to check on my application process?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide updates on individual cases, please be rest assured that the team will contact you about your application once an allocation has been made.

What happens if I don’t get allocated to one of my choices?

If you don’t get offered a place in one of your choices, this is because of extremely high demand and unfortunately due to the scoring we undertake, you did not score highly enough. However, we will endeavour to offer you an alternative place at one of our institutions that are still available. We encourage you to fully consider alternative destinations, as we know 98% of students come back from their study abroad experience having had the time of their life regardless of destination.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Currently home/EU students studying abroad for a year will pay 15% of their fees to the University of Birmingham and no fee to the host University. International students pay 50% of their fees to the University of Birmingham with no fee to host University if studying abroad for a year.

Your host university will be able to guide you in expected living costs whilst you are abroad, however for a general guide you can check living expenses between different countries using this website.

I am eligible for Student Finance loan and or grant whilst abroad?

You can still apply as normal for your tuition fee loan and you may be eligible for a higher rate of maintenance loan and grant. Please contact Student Finance England for more information.

Who pays for my travel and accommodation costs?

You are fully responsible for your travel costs to your host institution as well as your accommodation whilst you are abroad. You can still apply as normal for your tuition fee loan and you may be eligible for a higher rate of maintenance loan and grant. Please contact Student Finance England for more information.

How will I find accommodation for my period of study abroad?

Whilst the idea of finding your own accommodation may seem daunting at first, with a little research you will quickly discover your options. Every country and host university is different so we encourage you to contact returning students via your departmental Exchange Tutor. Do check your host university website and their social media channels for exchange students as these can be a very helpful resource.

Will I need a visa?

EU Students travelling outside the EU will need a visa. Please contact the host country Embassy in London and research information on the internet.

What should I include in my personal statement?

For all applications to an international partner, you will need to include a personal statement of a total of 700 words which outlines why you have chosen those specific universities. You may include academic reasons, extra-curriculum reasons or personal reasons for you choice. We advise that you research your chosen universities to back up your choice and explain why you have chosen each particular university. Focus on the departments and the modules they offer, their ethos and reputation and perhaps the common links to your own studies or research interest? Why have you chosen a particular course? Do these universities offer any specific clubs or societies? Do you have personal reasons for needing these universities (e.g. religion, relatives, sexual orientation, disability)? Why should we choose you to go that university?

How do I know what modules are taught and in what language?

Please look on our partner institution websites as many have module catalogues you can access online. You can also check the University of Birmingham website here.

How do I know what modules I should choose?

Your exchange tutor will advise you and will also need to approve them.

What if I get allocated a place and decide not to proceed with a year abroad?

If you decide not to proceed with a Study Abroad experience having discussed with your exchange tutor, just let us know as soon as possible so that we can reallocate your place.

During my year abroad, do I still need to register as a University of Birmingham student?

You should register as normal even if you will be spending a year abroad. You will be notified by email so continue to check your university email address and follow the instructions given.

Am I able to contact partners directly with questions about Study Abroad?

Until your placement has been confirmed we request that you do not contact our partner Institutions directly. Please ask your Exchange Tutor in the first instance or the Study Abroad team who are best placed to answer your questions. If there is a specific situation where we need to contact a partner in advance of a confirmed placement, this should be done through official University of Birmingham channels, via the Study Abroad Team or your Exchange Tutor.

Study Abroad: Erasmus

Am I eligible to study abroad?

The Erasmus+ exchange programme is available to current students at the University of Birmingham where this is permitted as part of your University degree programme and where you meet the criteria set out by your department. You should also have enough prior knowledge of the overseas institution's language of instruction to be able to fully engage with university level study. The Medical and Dental School does not offer study abroad placements.

Can I study abroad, if it’s not included in my degree programme?

It may be possible to change to a four year degree. Speak to your department and exchange tutor before you complete a change of course form.

Where can I go?

The University prides itself on its ability to offer students a wide array of study abroad opportunities. This Erasmus + exchange programme is for students that want to study at one of our partner universities in Europe. With a handful of exceptions, where you can go depends on which department you study in and which universities they have exchange agreements with.

Why do I apply?

Every department that offers students the opportunity of an Erasmus exchange has its own internal application and allocation process. Your exchange tutor will advise you of what this is. Once you have made your internal application your exchange tutor will inform you of your Erasmus placement directly. You can then complete the online application form and confirm your allocated host university to the Study Abroad Team.

Who is my exchange tutor?

Your exchange tutor will guide you through the application process and approve your chosen subjects of study. You can find the contact details for your exchange tutor here.

How are places allocated?

The way places are allocated is different for each department. Please check with your exchange tutor.

Can specific personal considerations be taken into account when I am allocated a place?

We take into consideration factors that are important to you so if you have personal reasons for requesting a specific destination (e.g. religion, sexual orientation, disability) please highlight these to your exchange tutor.

When will I find out the destination I have been allocated?

As every department has a different application process, we advise you to discuss this with your exchange tutor. However, the deadline for informing the Study Abroad team via the online application form of which Erasmus institution you've been allocated to is Friday 12 January 2018.

Who can I contact to check on my application process?

Unfortunately, the Study Abroad team cannot provide updates as the application process is handled by each department. Your exchange tutor will be best placed to answer any questions.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Currently home/EU students studying abroad for a year will pay 15% of their fees to the University of Birmingham and no fee to the host University. International students pay 50% of their fees to the University of Birmingham with no fee to host University if studying abroad for a year.

Your host university will be able to guide you in expected living costs whilst you are abroad, however for a general guide you can check living expenses between different countries using this website.

How much Erasmus funding will I receive?

As an Erasmus student, you are entitled to receive a grant for your time away at a participating Erasmus institution (work or study). The grant is paid the University of Birmingham and aims to subsidise part of your year abroad. As a UK Erasmus student during you are entitled to get €280-330 per month for studying abroad depending on whether your host country is classed as a low or high cost of living destination.

When will I receive my grant?

Grants are paid in two instalments into the bank account you have nominated on your Erasmus paperwork. The first instalment is paid in November/ December time (this usually represents 70% of the total grant amount) and the second instalment (this represents the remaining 30% of the total grant amount) is paid after you have finished your placement. Payments are made in pounds sterling.

Students are advised that the purpose of an Erasmus grant is to assist with the additional costs of undertaking an exchange. This means the money received is designed to supplement rather than replace your usual source of maintenance support.

I am eligible for Student Finance loan and or grant whilst abroad?

You can still apply as normal for your tuition fee loan and you may be eligible for a higher rate of maintenance loan and grant. Please contact Student Finance England for more information.

Who pays for my travel and accommodation costs?

You are fully responsible for your travel costs to your host institution as well as your accommodation whilst you are abroad. You can still apply as normal for your tuition fee loan and you may be eligible for a higher rate of maintenance loan and grant. Please contact Student Finance England for more information.

How will I find accommodation for my period of study abroad?

Whilst the idea of finding your own accommodation may seem daunting at first, with a little research you will quickly discover your options. Every country and host university is different so we encourage you to contact returning students via your departmental Exchange Tutor. Do check your host university website and their social media channels for exchange students as these can be a very helpful resource.

Will I need a visa?

EU Students travelling inside the EU will not need a visa. International students will need a visa to study. Please contact the host country Embassy in London and research information on the internet.

How do I know what modules I should choose?

Your exchange tutor will advise you and will also need to approve them.

What if I get allocated a place and decide not to proceed with a year abroad?

If you decide not to proceed with a Study Abroad experience please discuss this with your exchange tutor so that your place can be reallocated.

During my year abroad, do I still need to register as a University of Birmingham student?

You should register as normal even if you will be spending a year abroad. You will be notified by email so continue to check your university email address and follow the instructions given.