Mobility outside Europe

This page will answer all your questions on mobility to a destination outside the Erasmus zone, for study, traineeships and master thesis research.

Coronavirus – international mobility
For the time being, none of Ghent University's students gets permission to travel abroad within the framework of their studies next academic year. An approved exchange application, an accepted nomination by a host institution, a positive signal from an internship organisation or the granting of a scholarship are all conditional for the time being.
In concrete terms: only at the moment when the Belgian Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs gives a positive travel advice for the destination country/region, one might be given the green light to depart. However, this green light will only be given if all of the following conditions are met as well:
  • There are no entry restrictions for the country/region of destination.
  • There are no longer any known restrictions in force in the country/region of destination that seriously impede daily life there as a student/trainee.
  • The host university or organisation is willing and able to host students/trainees again and can offer full-fledged academic activities that guarantee compliance with the Learning Agreement for studies/for traineeship. The decision on this is taken at faculty level (Faculty Committee on Internationalisation).
Permissions to travel abroad within the framework of studies will be taken on the Belgian level, country by country, institution by institution and de facto almost student by student, and all of this on a monthly basis. At the latest every first Monday of the month, a decision will be taken on this matter for the departures scheduled for the following month (e.g. on Monday 1 June, the decision will be taken for all departures in the month of July). The departure date mentioned in Oasis will always be taken as a starting point.
Do not incur any expenses for your transport, accommodation, etc. for the time being. A possible scholarship is only guaranteed when a final green light to leave, is given. Moreover, the temporary exit ban also means that all costs incurred in the period prior to this final green light are not eligible for reimbursement.

Note: This page is for Ghent University students who have the intention to go on an exchange abroad (and NOT for exchange students applying at Ghent University) 

If you are selected by your Faculty Committee for Internationalisation to spend part of your curriculum at an institution outside the Erasmus area, there are different grant opportunities to take into account, to enable you to get (limited) funding.
If you would like to apply for a grant, you have to file an application for a scholarship. You can submit a portfolio via sharepoint. Please consult the guidelines before you submit an application! The deadline for applications is March 4 2020 (4pm).

Before mobility

Step 1: Autumn: gathering information

  • Specific administrative questions regarding a bilateral agreement application (e.g. application process, scholarships) can be directed to the .
  • All academic questions (e.g. about compatibility with your study programme, the content of your stay abroad) can be directed to the FCI chair/staff member at your own faculty or study programme.
In the autumn, each faculty organizes an information session on its exchange programme. Depending on the faculty, it is possible that during this session information will be given on bilateral agreements. The FCI chair/staff member can provide you with more information on this topic.
No. First and foremost, you have to be a student at Ghent University both in the year of application and in the year of mobility. Moreover, you have to check with your faculty during which period of your study programme a stay abroad is allowed. For example, in some fields, it is customary to take up an exchange programme in the third bachelor year. Please also verify what the conditions are with regard to a 'personalised learning track' (GIT in Dutch). Please contact your faculty or programme to find out more.

A study abroad under the terms of a bilateral agreement is part of your study programme and is equated with a number of ECTS credits. After you have successfully completed your studies abroad, these credits will be added to your Transcript of Records. A participation to an exchange programme under a bilateral agreement is therefore considered for your degree.
This depends on the nature of your exchange.
  1. Exchange for study outside of the Erasmuszone. You cannot choose your own destination. Your faculty will draft a list of possible destinations. All destinations are regulated by bilateral agreements between one study programme at Ghent University and its counterpart abroad. You cannot apply for a destination from another study programme at another faculty.
    These mobility places were established in mutual agreement between the concerned programmes. In each faculty, (at least) 1 professor takes on a key role in the internationalization activities. He/she is the chair of the Faculty Committee Internationalization (FCI chair). He/she is well-informed about the agreements his/her faculty has reached for the coming year. In most faculties, there is also an FCI contact person.
    Your FCI chair/staff member can provide you with a list of possible destinations.
    The most important arrangements in these agreements (also referred to as ‘Cooperation Agreements’) are the following:
    • the exemption from tuition fee
    • the possibility to transfer acquired credits
    • the number of students per academic year that can apply for an exchange programme under the terms of this agreement

      The minimum duration of your stay is 1 month. The maximum duration is 12 months.
  2. Exchange for traineeship outside of the Erasmuszone.
    In this case, a bilateral agreement is not compulsory. Please verify with your fauclty whether a list of possible traineeships exist. If you want to do a traineeship in the Global South, please also check the website of Vlir-UOS.
  3. Exchange for research in the framework of a master thesis outside of the Erasmuszone
    In this case, a bilateral agreement is not compulsory. Please beware ! The existence or absence of a bilateral agreement in the case of research in the framework of a master thesis, might effect your chances on a scholarship!
    • A bilateral agreement is NOT compulsory for research in the framework of a master thesis in the Global South with Vlir-UOS. This means you can receive a Vlir-UOS scholarship if you conduct master thesis research at a destination without bilateral agreement. A bilateral agreement is also not compulsory for other destinations,but than you cannot apply for a scholarship.
    • If you want a scholarship, a bilateral agreement is compulsory for a destination which is not on the Vlir-UOS country list.
For more information with regard to the financing of your stay, please see below.

The minimum duration of a stay under a bilateral agreement is 1 month and the maximum duration is 12 months. The duration depends on the type of mobility: studies, traineeship or research for master’s thesis. For more information, contact your FCI chair/staff member.

Yes. Scholarship students who are entitled to a reduction of the registration fee fully retain this right while staying abroad. All rights to child benefit are also retained.

For exchange in the academic year 2020-2021, there are about 330 scholarships available! The Vlir-UOS scholarships are included in these scholarships. The distribution of the grants is a competitive selection process. The largest grants will be granted to the students who have the best files and who can use financial support the most from a socio economic point of view. Should you think you don't qualify based on your socio economic status, do not hesitate to still hand in a file: as the number of scholarships is considerable! The application deadline is March 4 2020 (4pm). You can submit a portfolio via sharepoint. Please consult the guidelines for more information. Selection results will be communicated by May 14, 2020.

Bilateral agreement students are fully exempt from paying tuition fees at the host institution. However, they continue paying the tuition fee at Ghent University.
At certain universities, students are sometimes required to pay an administrative contribution, regardless of the actual tuition fee. Check in time with your host institution whether this is the case.
The scholarships described under the item “How to finance my exchange outside of Europe?” are possibly not comprehensive and will sometimes only cover part of the extra costs of staying abroad. The real cost of a stay under a bilateral agreement depends on the country and the city you stay in, the type of accommodation, the course material, public transport…
Tip: draft a savings plan when you are abroad and be economical. You can also take up a student job abroad. The job service or your host institution’s International Relations Office can help you find a job.

Tip: check the website of the partner institution for information on the ‘cost of living’.
Whether or not you can take up an exchange programme under a bilateral agreement twice depends on your FCI chair/staff member.
Other possibilities are Erasmus, Erasmus Belgica (going to French-speaking Belgium) or an Erasmus traineeship. In these cases, your faculty always has the final say.

Step 2: As of January: submit application

If you want to apply for a specific bilateral agreement destination, you need to submit an exchange application form on the Oasis website. At this point, it is possible that your faculty will already ask you to submit a completed and signed Learning Agreement (see below). The application deadline is usually set in January or February, depending on the faculty.

If you want to apply for a scholarship to fund your mobility outside of Europe, you will have to submit a portfolio. The deadline is each year in the first week of March (see above).

  1. Exchange application
    In Oasis you need to draft an exchange application form for each possible destination you want to apply for. The application contains the following elements:
    –    Details about your exchange
    –    Motivation
    –    Language skills
    –    Contact person in case of emergencies
    –    Learning Agreement (see below)

    The programme will guide you through the various steps of the application procedure. Submit the complete application form for approval to your faculty.
    The FCI chair/staff member selects and allocates the destinations. The files of the students who are selected by the faculty are sent to the Internationalization Department, which forwards these data to the host institution. This procedure is called the bilateral agreement student nomination.
    Most host universities also expect you to directly apply to the host department under the terms of their own procedure. You have to check yourself whether of or not this is required.

    If you want to apply for a specific bilateral agreement destination, you need to submit an application form with your FCI chair/staff member. At this point, it is possible that your faculty will already ask you to submit a completed and signed Learning Agreement (see below).

    The deadline for submitting your electronic application is usually set in January or February, depending on the faculty.

    Note: the academic calendar of a university outside Europe can be completely different from ours.  Therefore always check the host institution’s application deadline. For example: in South Africa, the academic year starts in January, which is equivalent to our first semester exam period.

  2. Learning Agreement
    The Learning Agreement (LA) is a document in which you have to specify which courses you will take at the host institution (study programme). In the case of master thesis research, also complete the ‘masterproefovereenkomst’. If you will be conducting a traineeship outside of the Erasmuszone, use the Learning Agreement for Traineeships. All templates are available on the UGent website.  In Oasis, you can indicate which programme you will take up abroad. After obtaining approval from the FCI staff member/academic exchange coordinator, you can print the signed document (Learning Agreement, ‘masterproefovereenkomst’ or LA for Traineeships) by selecting the tab ‘Documents’ on your exchange application page.
    • If you go on exchange for study, you need to choose courses for a total of 30 ECTS credits for one semester. If you leave for an entire academic year, you need to choose courses for 60 ECTS credits. Your preliminary bilateral agreement study programme is to be approved by your faculty before you leave abroad. Always check the specific procedure in your faculty. Any amendment to the Learning Agreement must be reapproved by all parties and completed with all necessary signatures.
      All changes to this Learning Agreement are to be implemented in the curriculum on Oasis as soon as possible after departure. After obtaining approval from the FCI staff member/academic exchange coordinator, you can print a signed copy of the document changes to the Learning Agreement.
    • If you go exchange for traineeship or master thesis research to a non-Erasmuszone destination, please contact your FCI-contact person for more information. Your preliminary plan should be approved by your faculty before your departure. Every change to the ‘masterproefovereenkomst’ or LA for Traineeships need to be re-approved b all parties and signed by all of them. Changes after arrival abroad need to be communicated as soon as possible to your FCI- contact person or academic exchange coordinator.
      Depending on your faculty, the LA/’masterproefovereenkomst’/LA for Traineeships will be requested for each possible destination; or only for the final destination for which you are selected.
      Tip ! Most host universities expect that you also complete an application in their stystem. It is up to the individual student to contact the host university and complete the application procedure.
      Important! It is crucial that the Learning Agreement/’masterproefovereenkomst’/Learning Agreement for Traineeships is signed by all 3 parties before departure ! The document needs to be uploaded in OASIS. All 3 parties means : student, hosting institution, sending institution.

Step 3: Administrative processing of application

The applications approved by the faculty are sent to the Internationalization Department. In the first half of February, the International Relations Office or your faculty (depending on the type of agreement) nominates each student to the host institution he/she is assigned to.

The host institution examines the file and completes the procedure directly with the student.

Only after completion of the application procedure ánd approval of the host institution are you finally admitted to the programme.

Most host universities will, amongst other formalities, require you to also complete the application form of the host institution.

Note that at some universities the academic year starts earlier than at Ghent University. This means that the deadline for handing in the application form will also be set earlier.

For further information, you can consult the International Relations Office.

Also check the website of the host institution.

Step 4: After approval by the host institution: start preparing your stay

In the first half of July, a number of documents will be available for consultation under ‘Documents’ on your exchange application page on the Oasis website. The following documents are at your disposal:

1    – LANGUAGE COURSE AT THE UCT
As an exchange student, you can take 1 language course at the University Language Centre (see below) at a reduced registration fee. The Language Centre is automatically informed of your participation to the exchange programme, which means you can just register at the Centre. To qualify for reduction of the registration fee, you need an attendance rate of at least 80% for the course. You can only choose a course in the language(s) of your host country. The reimbursement is done during your mobility period abroad, after you uploaded your contract in Oasis and you submitted the Confirmation of Stay in Oasis.

2    – CONFIRMATION OF EXCHANGE STUDENT STATUS
This is an official letter confirming your selection as an exchange student, which will be useful for your host country and for your visa application. Name of this file: certificate outgoing exchange student.

3    – SCHOLARSHIP CONTRACT (if applicable)
If you have applied for a scholarship and if you have been selected, you will find your scholarship contract in OASIS.

Finding a room or appartment is your own responsibility. Always be aware of possible fraud when looking for accommodation!

Do you want to rent out your own lodgings while you are abroad? You have the right to rent out your room when you go abroad. More information can be found on kotatgent.be.
Once your application has been approved and you are registered with the International Relations Office as a bilateral agreement student, you have the right to take a language course at the University Language Centre at a reduced registration fee. Only for the course material, a small contribution will be charged. You have to be registered at Ghent University for the new academic year and, upon registration at the Language Centre, mention that you are an exchange student. You can contact the Language Centre for an overview of their programme.
To qualify for the reduction of registration fee, you need an attendance rate of at least 80% for the course. You can only choose a course in (one of) the language(s) of your host country.
As soon as your application has been approved and you are registered with the Internationalization Department as a bilateral agreement student, you can receive a language voucher.
Twice per year, the International Relations Office organises a pre-departure intercultural preparation. If you are going on exchange outside of Europe, the participation in this event is highly recommended. You get information about cultural shock and the habits of the region where you are going to. The speakers will also give you information regarding health and safety abroad. The evening is finished with a walking dinner and refreshments, so students going to the same destination can meet up. The intercultural preparation is organised during the evening, once in May for students going on mobility in the first semester or the entire academic year; and once in November for students leaving in the second semester.
You can withdraw your application as an exchange student in case of a serious reason. Write a motivated letter to the International Relations Office and to your FCI chair/staff member announcing your withdrawal and the reason why.
You can find all information on insurances on the following link.
In case of an accident during a college activity at the host institution, please immediately contact the UGent Legal Office and/or the International Relations Office.
Upon arrival in your host country, also register by mail at the embassy or consulate in the country of your destination, mentioning your name, the duration of your stay and your contact information.
In case of security problems, illness, accident or loss of identity papers, you need to contact your local embassy/consulate as soon as possible. For further information, consult the website your Foreign Office.
You can find an overview of the formalities regarding your passport and possible visa application on the website of your Foreign Office. If a visa is required, the following documents will be useful:
–    The ‘acceptance letter’ of your host institution;
–    The document ‘Confirmation of bilateral agreement status’ (available on the Oasis platform).
Enquire whether you can obtain a visa with ‘multiple entries’. On the website of your Foreign Office, detailed information on embassies, procedures etc. can be found.
Always take a copy of important documents or keep the scans on your personal computer or on an USB-stick.
Before you leave, check with your bank whether your bank card works in the country of destination. In case of loss or theft of Belgian your bank card, immediately call Card Stop: 0032 70 344 344.  You can reach this number 24/7.
Do I need vaccination?
The International Relations Office advises all students going on exchange to a destination outside of Europe, to seek information on which vaccinations are necessary. Please consult the website of your Foreign Office or make an appointment at the Reiskliniek (Travel Clinic) of the UZGent.

During mobility

Step 5: What is expected of me during my studies abroad?

During your studies abroad, it is advisable to keep in touch with your faculty. Probably, the International Relations Office will occasionally contact you by email to process your file. It is important to remember that we will only use your UGent email address.

Once you have arrived in the host country and the Welcome Week or classes have started, we expect you to register as soon as possible at the International Relations Office of your host institution/faculty. Ask them to complete and sign the section ‘arrival’ on your ‘confirmation of stay’ document. You will find this document by selecting the tab ‘Documents’ on your OASIS exchange application page. This is also where you need to upload the signed document.

Upon arrival at your host institution, you may discover that some courses are no longer taught. Or that your traineeship will look a bit different than foreseen. The master thesis research might also be adapted to the reality upon arrival. In that case, you need to report these changes to your faculty as soon as possible.  To this end, you need to modify your exchange curriculum on Oasis. Your modified curriculum will then be submitted for approval to the faculty. After approval, you can access the official signed form by selecting the tab ‘Documents’ on your Oasis exchange application page.

As the university applies a semester system, exams are held each semester. This implies that, for example, during the first semester you have courses and exams at Ghent University (30 ECTS credits) and mid-February you start at the host institution (remaining 30 ECTS credits). Unfortunately, in reality this is often more complicated, because the second semester at the host institution starts earlier or later. If the semester starts later, there is no problem; if it starts earlier, you could arrange with your UGent examiners to take your exams a few weeks earlier (if feasible). In these cases, the UGent Education and Examination Code is to be respected. If this is not feasible, you need to report to your host institution that you can only start mid-February.
Most universities do not have problems with this.
Your study time abroad (including exams or other evaluations) is equated with study time at your home university (even if the content of the courses is different). Most countries apply a different system for examination and marking.
Bilateral agreement students are evaluated and marked based on the system applied by the host institution, which often deviates from the UGent system. The scores obtained abroad will be fitted in with the final scores obtained at Ghent University by the Faculty Examination Board.
In any case, before you return to Ghent University, contact your host supervisor and ask to submit your transcript of records in time. Some universities cannot issue the transcript before your departure. Always find out who the concerned contact person at your host institution is and when you will receive your transcript of records. Also check whether you will receive the transcript electronically or in the form of a letter.

Should you experience problems of any kind during your stay at your host institution, first address your host institution’s contact person.

In case of serious problems:

  • do not hesitate to also contact your FCI staff member, as well as the International Relations Office
  • At Ghent University, there is a Security Centre which can be reached 24/7 at the number 0032 9 264 88 88 or at
  • in case of illness or accident, please contact your mutuality and/or insurance company
  • In case of security problems or loss of identity papers, you need to contact your local embassy/consulate as soon as possible. For more information, consult the website of the your Foreign Office
  • Always follow the guidelines of the local authorities at your host institution
  • Please also stay in touch with your fellow students
  • At Ghent University, everyone has the right to a safe study environment characterised by mutual respect. Do you believe you are the victim of or have you witnessed bullying, threats, violence or sexual harassment? Call in Trustpunt's confidential advisors for personal support. : every working day between 9 am and noon, or via 0032 9 264 82 82 (vertrouwenspersoon@ugent.be).  It goes without saying that the confidential advisor will treat your report discreetly and without bias.

At the end of your study or traineeship abroad, you need to sign out at your host institution’s International Relations Office. Ask them to complete the second section of the document ‘Confirmation of stay/departure’. You can print this document by selecting the tab ‘Documents’ on your Oasis exchange application page. Subsequently, upload the signed document on Oasis.

By ‘end date of study period’ we mean the day after your last exam.

After mobility

Step 6: Which formalities are to be respected after your return?

It is the student’s own responsibility to upload his/her final scores as soon as possible, in the form of a transcript of records, under the tab “Documents” on his/her Oasis exchange application page. Some universities cannot issue this transcript before the student’s departure.

In any case, find out who the concerned contact person is at your host institution and when you will receive your transcript of records. Also check whether you will receive the transcript electronically or in the form of a letter.