You might have lots of questions about studying abroad. Here are some of the most common questions related to each stage of the journey and some helpful answers.

Discovery stage

Am I eligible to study abroad?

There are a wide range of international opportunities available to the majority of current students at the University of Birmingham.  One of the most popular options is to go on a year abroad.  Most degrees, for instance, now have a version with a year abroad.  You simply need to be on year abroad version of your degree by the time you come to submit your application in 2nd year.  

We also offer a range of International summer schools and volunteering opportunities for those wishing to something for a shorter period of time.  So please visit our short term pages to find out more.

Speak to your department and exchange tutor to find out more before you complete a change of course form.  Please note the Medical and Dental School does not offer study abroad placements.

Where can I go?

We pride ourself on the wide array of study abroad opportunities we have to offer. 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.

Do I need to speak another language?

Not necessarily!  There are many opportunities to go study in an English-speaking or study at an instituion offering teaching in English.  Many European
and international universities teach in English.  It’s also a great chance to learn a language! 

Who is my exchange tutor?

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

Prepare and apply stage

What should I include in my Statement of Research?

For all applications, you will need to include a Statement of Research 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 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 a desired exchange place requested 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?

If you are classed as Home for tuition fee purposes and you are spending the whole of the academic year studying abroad at a partner institution, then you will pay 15% of your agreed tuition fee for the placement year.

If you decide to study abroad for just one semester (on those courses which permit it) then you continue to pay your normal tuition fee for the year.

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 comparison 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.

Am I eligible to receive Turing Scheme funding?

The Turing Scheme is the UK government’s scheme to provide funding for international opportunities in education across the world. Whilst The DfE has confirmed that Turing will be available for at least another three years (including 24/25) UoB has to make an application for funding each year. Application for funding for 24/25 will only be done in spring 2024 therefore we are not in a position to confirm any Turing funding to any students.

Turing funding supports short term and long-term mobility. Students going on a year long placement are not guaranteed funding. Eligible students will be contacted by the Turing team with an invitation to apply for funding. Outgoing students eligible for funding will receive grants to support their cost of living while on their global placement. Widening participation students will also receive travel grants. The amounts awarded to students are set by the government and vary depending on country, length of placements and WP status.

When will I receive my grant if I am eligible?

Grants are paid in two instalments. The first instalment is normally paid in 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 a Turing Scheme 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.

Preparing to go stage

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?

Following Brexit, it is likely that students will need a visa for all destinations. Students will need an acceptance letter from their host institution to apply for their visa. 

For many visa applications, students are required to demonstrate evidence of funding for their period abroad.This can be in the form of Student Finance Maintenance Loan, their own bank statements or those of a parent/relative.

The Study Abroad and Exchanges Team is not trained nor authorised to give visa advice. The team can only signpost to partner university's websites and relevant resources. 

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.

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.

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