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FAQ

Orientation

  • What are the differences between the Erasmus Exchange programme and the Global Exchange programme?

    Erasmus is a programme for student exchanges within Europe. These are organised at faculty level. Therefore, for more information, you should approach the contact person at your own faculty. More information on the Erasmus programme in Dutch, or in English.

    Global Exchanges are agreements with universities outside of Europe. In general they are open to all UvA students. However, there are universities that are only open for students from specific faculties. The Global Exchange programme is coordinated by the Office of International Student Affairs (BIS), which is part of Student Services. More information on the Global Exchange Programma in Dutch, or in English.

  • Are there special information meetings?

    Yes. BIS organises a number of meetings throughout the semester about the possibilities to study abroad and about the practical matters of the exchange. International offices at individual faculties also host their own meetings. These faculty meetings mainly cover student exchanges within Europe under the Erasmus programme. More information on the meetings of BIS in Dutch, or in English.

  • Where to go when I have questions?

    The first stop for your questions is the Central Student Service Desk. You can reach them by telephone, mail or in person at the Information Desk, Monday to Friday from 9.00 till 17.00. All BIS contact information in Dutch, or in English.

    The advisers of the international office of your faculty are also available to answer your questions.

Destinations

  • Am I allowed to apply for a faculty destination that is only open for students from another UvA faculty?

    You are required to discuss this with the International Office of your own faculty. They can contact the relevant faculty to discuss if your are allowed to apply. Please note that students from that specific faculty are placed first in line. Students from other faculties will only be placed if there are spots left. Also please note that the final decision to accept students from other UvA faculties for a faculty agreement is made by the host university at the moment of nomination/application at the host university.

  • What are the most popular destinations outside of Europe?
  • What are the chances of placement?

    The chances of being selected vary per year and per destination. It all depends on the number of available spots and the popularity of the university in question.

Language requirements

  • What language skills do I need to possess to go on exchange?

    For a number of destinations, you must pass an English, Spanish or Portuguese language proficiency test if you are not a native speaker. For English, the requirement is usually a TOEFL or IELTS test. You do not need to take this test until after the application procedure has been completed. BIS will provide you with more information after completion of the application procedure.

    In order to study in Latin America, you are required to have an adequate command of Spanish or Portuguese. Please keep in mind that you will have to show proof of your language proficiency for most destinations in Latin-America by means of a language certificate.

Courses

  • What kind of courses can I choose?

    You can decide yourself which courses you would like to follow during your exchange. For the Global Exchange Programme you do not need to choose courses within your own field of study. However, it is your responsibility to choose courses that fit into your study curriculum.

  • Can I change the courses after I have submitted my online application?

    Yes. In general, the listed courses in your online application will only be used during the application process of the UvA. When BIS decides to nominate you for the exchange programme, you will again be asked to fill in a new list of courses in the application forms of the partner university, which they will assess. The partner university also checks if you meet the academic background requirements for the courses you have selected. Once you are accepted for the exchange programme, you will be given the information to enrol in courses at the partner university. In most cases you can still change your courses in the first few weeks of the semester.

  • At what level can I choose my subjects?

    The Digital World Map (http://www.wereldkaart-uva.nl/) contains information about the level of study (Bachelor and/or Master) open to exchange students. You can only enrol in Master (graduate) courses if you meet the prerequisites at the host university (usually having obtained your Bachelor’s diploma in the requested study area). Admission to the graduate programme (courses at Master level) at the partner university always requires a special permission from their admission office. It is therefore more difficult to enrol in Master courses. In some cases you are able to register as a Bachelor (undergraduate) student and enrol in one or two Master (graduate) courses. Usually this will be arranged after arrival.

  • Am I allowed to choose courses at bachelor level as a master student?

    Most universities have not communicated any restrictions for master students to enrol in undergraduate courses. If this is not allowed, this is listed in the Digital World Map. Please note that most UvA master programmes do not allow students to list undergraduate courses on their UvA master grade list. We advise you to check this with the study advisor of your programme.

  • Where can I find the available courses?

    Where you can find the available courses is different for each university. Sometimes you can find courses by browsing through the general webpage of the host university and look for 'Course overview', 'Course Catalogue', 'Subject List’. Sometimes course information is provided on the webpage of the faculty or academic department. Most universities also provide specific information for international students on the website of the international office.

  • What is meant by course code?

    The course code is usually listed in the Course Catalogue and consists of numbers or letters representing the code of the course, e.g. LAW310. In this case the letters stand for the programme and the numbers for the level of the course (3rd year). Usually courses are divided in figures of hundreds (100, 200, 300, 400) and thousands (1000, 2000, 3000, 4000). In general you can assume that 100 or 1000 stands for a first year’s course, and so on. If in doubt, check the partner university website, go to the study programme website and search for an explanation of the academic programme. This will usually explain the build-up of the programme with the (mandatory) courses.

  • What is a full time course load?

    A partner university may have a different semester system from the UvA and therefore a different understanding of a full time course load. On the Digital World Map (http://www.wereldkaart-uva.nl/) you will find a brief description of Credit & Grading per destination. By comparing their amount of credits for a full time course load to the UvA system (30 ECTS for a full time semester), you are able to calculate how many credits you should obtain at the partner university for a full time course load.

  • When and how are the courses that I passed on exchange recognized by the UvA?

    After your exchange the partner university will issue your official transcript. Some universities will send a transcript with your achievements to the Office of International Student Affairs (BIS), some will send it to you directly and others will only send a digital copy, either to us or to you. In case your transcript is sent to BIS, we will notify you when you can pick up your transcript. After you have received your official transcript, you can start the credit recognition procedure. The procedure differs per UvA study programme but usually means the Board of Examiners of your study programme will review your transcript. As this always happens afterwards (after your exchange), it is wise to contact your study adviser in advance (before you go on exchange) to be informed about the procedure. What documents are needed, what is the deadline, what should you do if you change any courses upon arrival? Sometimes your department will use a document called a ‘learning agreement’.

Application

  • For how many destinations can I apply?

    You can apply for only one destination per application round. If your application is rejected, you can choose to apply again for a destination in the second and third round.

  • What are the differences between the first, second and third application round?

    Spots that were not filled up during the first round will become available again during the second and third application round. This usually means that there are more spots available during the first round than in the following rounds. It is possible that some destinations are already closed in round 2 and 3. Also, in round 3 (and for some of the destinations in round 2), you can only apply for an exchange during semester 2. Before the start of the second application round a new list of available spots will be published on both the Dutch and the English Application webpage.

  • How many study credits do I need to have to qualify for a Global Exchange?

    UvA students must hold at least 120 ECTS credits at the start of the exchange. Students at Amsterdam University College and Faculty of Economics and Business must hold at least 90 ECTS credits at the start of the exchange. When you submit your application, you may not yet hold the required number of credits.

  • Does my application have to be in English?

    Yes, the entire application and all the documents that need to be uploaded should be in English. For this reason, the online application form is available in English only.

  • Do I have to write a letter of motivation?

    Instead of writing a motivation letter, you will be required to answer six reflective questions in the online application form. Research shows that students who undertake a study abroad activity can enhance their personal development, international orientation and develop intercultural competences, by reflecting on how their study abroad experience may impact them personally, academically and professionally. The combined answer can also be used as a motivation letter if your chosen host university requires you to motivate your decision.

Academic approval form

  • How do I obtain Academic Approval?

    The Academic Approval Form is an entry requirement to apply for the Global Exchange Programme. You can find this form on the Dutch or English Application webpage.

    Download the form, print the page belonging to your faculty/academic department and have it signed. The instructions on the form will explain who you need to contact for approval.

Placement

  • How do I calculate my weighted average grade?

    Your average mark is the weighted mean of the marks awarded for all the modules you have passed so far (for all grades registered in UvA SIS). This means that a module worth 10 study credits is weighted twice as heavy as one worth 5 credits. In order to calculate the weighted average mark, you will have to multiply your grades with the corresponding amount of ECTS per course, then add these numbers up and divide the total by the total number of ECTS. 

    An example: how to calculate your GPA

    A student has the following courses listed on the transcript:

    Courses Grade ECTS
    Statistics 7 5
    Philosophy 8 10
    Academic English 6,5 7,5
    Mathematics AVV 10

    The weighted average mark is calculated by multiplying the grade with the ECTS for the course.  Please omit courses that do not list a specific grade (like AVV). Then calculate the total number of obtained ECTS (also omitting the courses without a specific grade) and total number of “Grade x ECTS”.

    Courses Grade ECTS Grade x ECTS
    Statistics 7 5 35
    Philosophy 8 10 80
    Academic English 6,5 7,5 48,75
    Mathematics AVV 6 n/a
    Total   22,5 163,75

    Then divide the total number of “Grade x ECTS” by the total number of obtained ECTS, and you will have your weighted average.

    163,75 (Grade x ECTS)

    ---------------------------------   =   Weighted Average 7,277   =   7,3

    22,5 (total ECTS)

    The weighted average mark is 7,277 which may be rounded up to 7,3.

  • What happens if I am placed?

    We offer two information cycles, depending on the application procedure and deadline of your host university you will be assigned to ‘information cycle 1’  (starting 1 February) or ‘information cycle 2’  (starting 1 July). This date we will start with the information cycle to help you prepare your application for the host university. Until then you do not need to take any action.

    On the date of the start of your ‘information cycle’ you will also be added to a group on Canvas that provides all the information needed to prepare you step-by-step for your exchange.

  • What happens if I am not placed?

    In case you are rejected in the first application round, you are still eligible to apply for this programme again during the second or third round, if there are still spots available. In case you are rejected, you can attend the Feedback meeting. The feedback meeting will be announced on both the Dutch and English website.

COVID-19

  • What will the effect of COVID-19 be on the Global Exchange Programme in the academic year 2021-2022?

    Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced us to cancel the Global Exchange Programme in 2020-2021. We hope that the impact of COVID-19 will be minimal in 2021-2022. However, we cannot make any guarantees in this regard. We are currently continuing with the information sessions and applications for exchanges in the academic year 2021-2022.

    Any decision to cancel the exchange programme will made by the UvA Corona Crisis Team and Executive Board well in advance of the start of the exchanges, but we are not able to give an exact date. Please note a partner university can also decide to cancel their exchange programme.