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Exchange step 1: orientation

Question about studying abroad
Last updated on 22 September 2021

During your degree programme, you have the opportunity to study abroad. As an exchange student, you will study at a VU Amsterdam partner university for a semester. It's a unique academic challenge during which you will live and study in an international environment. It is a guaranteed boost for your career and personal development! All in all, an unforgettable experience during your studies! 

If you would like to spend your time abroad in a different way, please take a look at this page.

Information on your exchange

  • Exchange during your Bachelor's programme
    • If you are in the second year of your Bachelor’s programme, you can sign up for an exchange programme abroad that will take place in the first semester of the third year.
    • In your second year it is mandatory to attend the information session for your faculty during the Study Abroad Weeks. You will be able to sign up via this page in October.
    • If you go on exchange during your free-choice component (keuzeruimte), you have to take courses abroad for 30 ECTS credits per semester. On the VU Worldmap you can find information about the credit calculation per university.
    • You need at least 60 ECTS credits at the time of your application.
    • Before you leave for your exchange semester, you need at least 90 ECTS credits to minimize study delay.
    • In our Study Abroad Student Handbook you will be able to find more information as well. 
  • Exchange during your Master's programme
    • Master’s students of a two-year programme should be able to participate in an exchange programme in their elective component without any delay.
    • As a Master's student of the School of Business and Economics, you cannot take part in an exchange semester. If you would like to know more about this, please consult an academic advisor of your faculty.
    • Students taking a one-year Master’s programme may still take part in a foreign exchange programme; however, this will lead to a semester’s delay in their studies. In case you are interested, please discuss this with your academic advisor first. 
    • It is not possible to go on exchange within Europe during a one-year Master's programme. A European exchange cannot be done on an extracurricular basis. The exchange has to be part of your curriculum.
    • Before applying for exchange, you need to have obtained 12 ECTS within your Master's programme. 
    • In our Study Abroad Student Handbook you will be able to find more information as well. 

    Take a close look which partner universities accept exchange students at Master's level.

  • Exchange during your premaster
    • As a premaster student you cannot take part in an exchange. You need to complete your pre-Master’s programme first and sign up for a Master's programme. Please take a look at the specific requirements for exchange for your programme.
    • Do you have questions about this? Please contact your academic advisor.
  • Choosing a destination
    • VU has exchange agreements with more than 200 universities around the world. Whether you would like to go to Australia, Germany or Brazil, there is always a destination that will suit you. Every destination offers a unique experience.
    • On the VU Worldmap you can see all partner universities VU cooperates with. These universities are reliable partners and offer a high quality of education. On the VU Worldmap you can find more information about the destination, student life and housing (among others).
    • On the VU Worldmap you can also find student experiences.

    Important: select your own study programme on the Worldmap. A lot of our agreements with partner universities were set up by a certain study programme or faculty. 

  • Period

    The information below is meant for Bachelor's students. Are you a Master's student? Please discuss your possibilities with an academic advisor of your programme.

    • The most suitable period for an exchange is the 1st semester of the 3rd year, because most study programmes have no compulsory courses in this period, so this will not lead to study delay. 
    • You can go on exchange for max. 1 semester.
    • If you go on exchange as part of your elective semester, you must follow courses for a workload of 30 ECTS credits. If you do an extracurricular exchange, you also have to take courses for 30 ECTS credits. 

    Extracurricular exchange

    • For some faculties, it is possible to take courses outside VU (also abroad) after having obtained all necessary credits for your diploma. This is called an extracurricular exchange. You can find the rules on the pages of your faculty, in the OER, or consult an academic advisor. In most cases you have to postpone your graduation. More information can be found on this page.
    • During an extracurricular exchange you also have to take courses abroad for 30 ECTS credits. During your exchange you need to be enrolled at VU Amsterdam.
    • See also 'Other possibilities abroad' for other (extracurricular) options to do part of your studies abroad.
  • Study planning at host university

    Studying abroad fits into almost every study programme. Keep in mind your study plan and check if the courses at a partner university are suitable for your study programme.

    • Make sure that you look carefully at the academic calendar of the partner university that you wish to go to: some universities schedule examinations as late as mid-February, but the second semester at VU will already have begun by then. It is almost always possible to make special arrangements with the partner university. For example, it may be possible to take the examination early, to write and submit an essay, or to arrange with your lecturer in Amsterdam that you can start a course two weeks later than normal. 
    • If you fail a course while you are abroad and you therefore do not have enough credits to graduate, you will need to complete an extra course at VU. This course needs to be approved by the Examination Board.
    • If you have to do resits of mandatory VU courses during your semester abroad, then you might have to travel back to Amsterdam.
    • Only students of the School of Business and Economics are offered the possibility to take an exam while abroad.
  • Costs

    The costs for a period abroad depends on the destination. There is a destination for every budget. 

    • On the VU Worldmap you will find an indication of the costs per host university.
    • You pay your tuition fees at VU, so you don't have to pay these fees to the host university.
    • Keep in mind that you will have extra costs for your ticket, a visa, vaccinations and housing.
    • When you get selected for an exchange, you can apply for an Erasmus+, HSP or Globe scholarship via VU International Office. Read more about this on our scholarships page.
    • If you have a student travel product, you can apply for a compensation of approx. 100 Euros per month at DUO.

    Make a budget plan for yourself for your semester abroad and check which destinations fit your plan. Or start saving in time!

  • Become a buddy

    Are you interested in other cultures and improving your language skills? Or have you just gotten back from a semester abroad and do you wish to continue being part of an international community? Become a buddy for our international exchange students!

    Go to this webpage for more information

Outgoing Exchange Team

+31 (0)20 59 85745

Consultation hour (via Zoom):
Make an appointment

Emergency number for VU exchange students abroad:
9-17h: +31 20 59 85745
outside office hours: +31 20 6444117.