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Other possibilities to study abroad

Last updated on 27 August 2021

Besides doing an international exchange via the VU International Office, it is also possible to arrange (a part of) your studies abroad, or get an international experience in another way. Below you can find an overview of these possibilities.

Other possibilities to study abroad

  • Going abroad as a free mover

    Did you not get selected by the VU International Office to spend a semester abroad? Or would you like to study at a university that isn't a partner university of VU Amsterdam? Then you can also choose to go abroad as a free mover. As a free mover, you will arrange and manage the study abroad yourself. You have to contact the university yourself. Please pay attention to the quality of education and the level of the courses. If you want your courses to count towards your degree, you have to get approval for these courses from the Examination Board of your faculty/programme. As a free mover you still need to be enrolled and pay tuition fees at VU Amsterdam. Apart from that, you probably also have to pay tuition fees at your host university.

    Please pay attention to the following:

    • After being accepted at your host university, you have to select the courses you would like to follow. Send an approval request to the VU Examination Board as soon as possible. It can take up to 6 weeks before you will receive an answer. You can request approval via this page
    • Always register your study abroad in My Dashboard.
  • Internship abroad

    During your studies you have the possibility to do an internship abroad. You are responsible for arranging an internship yourself. Unfortunately, VU International Office does not facilitate any internships, but you can enquire at your programme or faculty about the possibilities. Some faculties have an internship coordinator. For more information, please check your study guide.

    Please pay attention to the following:

    • Once you have arranged your internship, you will need to register this in My Dashboard
    • For some internships, VU International Office can arrange a scholarship for you. Within Europe, this will be the Erasmus+ scholarship for internships, and outside Europe it will be a Fondsendesk scholarship. More information about scholarships can be found here. You can apply for a scholarship in My Dashboard, in the same place where you registered your internship.
  • Launch your career with an internship in Silicon Valley (USA)

    Until December 20th, Master and PhD students are warmly invited to apply for Internships in the Valley! A collaborative effort of the consulate-general of the Netherlands in San Francisco, The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Dutch research universities. With the help of a Talent Committee and 5000 Dutch alumni that live and work in the Bay Area, a wide portfolio of interesting internship companies is getting created.

    Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Zymergen, Arcadis, DuPont, Chrysalix, Parsley, Atomwise and Tellus have already confirmed their participation, more companies will follow over the next months. Ultimately, the program aims at 50 annual matches of talented Master and PhD students with innovative startups and companies in the Valley.


    Students from all fields of study are welcome to apply. However it is important that you are:

    • An innovative thinker, with a pro-active and can-do mentality;
    • Interested in entrepreneurship, innovation, data sciences and/or technology;
    • Currently enrolled as a Master of PhD student at a Dutch university, or graduated less than a year ago.

    Students with a minimum GPA average of 7 or higher, and demonstrable entrepreneurial skills on their resume are preferred.

    What to expect?

    Internships in the Valley will be there for you all the way. We support with a smooth J-1 visa procedure in collaboration with the Netherlands-America Foundation, and support with finding accommodation and preparations for living in the USA and getting acquainted with American business culture.

    Check out for more information on how to apply and frequently asked questions. On our InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn we share updates from (new) internship companies and interesting content about life in the Valley!

  • Summer and winter school

    Instead of doing a whole semester abroad you can do a short programme abroad during summer (a so-called summer school) or winter (a so-called winter school). Most universities offer summer schools from 2 to 6 weeks in many different subjects and for a broad range of prices. Sometimes you can get a discount for summer schools if they are offered by one of our partner universities. Please enquire at the International Office for this.
    During a Summer School programme, you will engage your intellectual curiosity on a topic of your interest, build a new network of friends and expand your understanding of the world.

    Attractive offers
    VU Amsterdam cooperates with partner universities around the world and many of them offer a Summer School programme. As a VU student you can often get interesting discounts at our partner universities, which makes taking a Summer School very attractive. In the PDF document about Summer Schools, we present Summer Schools from partner universities which do not overlap with our academic calendar. There are however many more Summer Schools available in the world, this is not a complete overview and you are welcome to look into Summer Schools from other universities. For instance on this website for Summer Schools in Europe.

    Besides specific academic, social and career benefits of attending a Summer School, there are more reasons why students decide to attend a Summer School Programme abroad:

    • To follow a course of your particular interest that is not offered at VU Amsterdam
    • To gain extra credits which you can get approved for your elective semester
    • To brush up on a subject you’re not confident about 
    • To prepare for a Master's application and/or entrance exam
    • To further develop your language skills

    Interested? Check out the list of Summer Schools of VU partner universities.

    Application procedure

    To apply, please:

    • Check the application deadline for the Summer School of your choice
    • Check if you meet the requirements the programme asks for
    • Check if nomination by the VU International Office is required. If not, you can apply directly on the website of the partner university
    • If you apply directly at the partner university, please still inform us at
    • Register your stay abroad  after you have been accepted by the Summer School.


    Some Summer Schools may require a nomination by VU Amsterdam in order to qualify for the discount or tuition fee waiver they offer to students of partner universities. In some cases, this requirement is mentioned in this document. If other Summer Schools ask you to be nominated, please send an e-mail to with the request to do so. Please mention your name, student number, the Summer School you would like to participate in and the courses you wish to take.

    Further information

    If you have any questions please send an email to

    Please pay attention to the following:

    • You will need to arrange the summer school yourself.
    • Start a.s.a.p. after selection a summer or winter school with applying for approval of your courses at the Examination Board. When the courses are approved by the examination board you can also get credits for them.
    • Always register your study abroad My Dashboard (Apps > Study/internship abroad > Register internship/free mover abroad).
    • You can pick up an emergency card at the VU International Service Desk before you leave. This card contains the VU emergency number in case you need assistance abroad.

    Please check the overview of Summer Schools.

  • Master's programme abroad

    It is also possible to do a Master's programme abroad. You will need to arrange everything yourself: you will need to find a university yourself, and arrange your application and admission. You will also need to pay tuition fees at this university. 

    Please pay attention to the following:

    • Start to look for a study programme early. Start your search at least a year in advance. A good starting point is, where you can compare different programmes.
    • You can often ask a professor from your degree programme which universities he or she would recommend. 
    • The foreign university will be able to help you with questions about study programmes, the application procedure, finances, etc.
  • Study trips

    Some faculties and/or student associations organise study trips or fieldwork excursions. During these study trips, you will broaden your knowledge abroad, together with your fellow students. For more information, please contact your faculty or a student association.

  • Internationalisation at home - Buddy programme at VU Amsterdam

    VU International Office organizes a buddy programme, in cooperation with the Erasmus Student Network VU Amsterdam (ESN VU Amsterdam). As a buddy, you will be matched to 3-5 international students. You will be expected to answer the student’s questions about what it’s like to study at VU Amsterdam and you can partake in social activities with your international students. It will improve your language skills, you will learn to communicate with students from different countries and you will make friends from all over the world! Would you like to know more about the buddy programme? 

  • Internationalisation at home - VU Amsterdam Summer School

    Are you looking for an opportunity to build an international network in the field of your study, do you miss or do you want extra ECTS, do you want to expand your CV or deepen your knowledge about a certain topic?  Join VU Amsterdam Summer School!

    VU Amsterdam has had its own summer school. During the months of July and August you can follow 2-week multidisciplinary courses that cover a wide range subjects. Along with the international students, VU Amsterdam students are also very welcome. As VU Amsterdam-student you even get a discount on all courses!

    All courses are small in size (max. 25 students), and very intensive. Check the VU Ansterdam Summer School website for the full programme and other details.

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.