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    What is exchange?

    VUB students have the opportunity to study or do a traineeship abroad as part of their studies.

    VUB has set up partnerships with several universities throughout Europe and around the world. Students can apply for grants, for example those offered by the Erasmus+ programme or the Flemish government.

    Whether you are eligible for an exchange is determined at faculty/programme level. Please browse through the information online and contact us if some of your questions remained unanswered.

    Exchange Take-Off Session 9 May 2019

    It was a great pleasure welcoming you all at this year's Exchange Take-Off Session. Please find the general presentation here.

    Faculty Info Sessions 2019 (For an exchange during academic year 2020-2021)
    Faculty Date Location
    Faculty of Engineering (IR)10 October 2019 | 16:00 - 17:30 tbd
    Faculty of Law and Criminology (RC) tbd tbd
    Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences and Solvay Business School (ES) tbd tbd
    Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (PE) tbd tbd
    Faculty of Arts and Philosophy (LW) tbd tbd
    Faculty of Sciences and Bio-Engineering Sciences (WE)4 November 2019 | 12:00 - 14:00 tbd
    Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy (GF) tbd tbd
    Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy (LK)3 BARE: 18 November 2019 | 10:30tbd (@ Jette)

    Expand your horizons

    You don't have to go far to be away

    Going on an exchange doesn't mean you have to move across the globe. Ruben went on a one year exchange to Tilburg (The Netherlands) and would recommend everyone to do the same.

    Read his full testimonial.

    Discover another way of living

    Loreno was attracted to the Scandinavian way of thinking and working, that is why he decided to do part of his studies in Norway. Next to that, Norways nature was a great bonus: "I also chose Norway for its hiking culture and breathtaking landscapes. If you like being out in nature, the Northern Lights, hiking and the mountains, this is THE place to be."

    Read his full testimonial.

    Going abroad may be a life changing experience

    Find out all exchange possibilities for your programme.

    Apply for an intercontinental exchange

    If you go for a non-EU exchange you need to meet the application criteria set by your faculty and/or programme (When? Who? and How? sections on the programme specific pages) . The general exchange procedure equally applies too, all you need to do is to take into account the underneath additional steps.

    Select 3 countries of preference, and receive information on the VUB's partner institutions.


    Select 3 countries of preference
    Exchanges are only possible under the terms of a bilateral agreement. It is therefore mandatory to express your interest by filling in this online form and choose a maximum of 3 countries of preference. The International Relations office (IRMO) will then send an overview of VUB partner institutions in the countries of your choice.

    • Deadline: 15 December 2018 (exchanges in 2019-20).
    • Bear in mind the teaching languages: Portuguese in Brasil, Spanish in Mexico and Colombia, and mostly French in Canada. The institutions in Asia have an offer in English.
    • VUB has offer in the following countries.
      • Africa: Morocco (Rabat), South-Africa (Bloemfontein)
      • Asia: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Xi’an), Japan (Kobe), Palestine, South-Korea (Seoul), Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow)
      • North America: Canada (Québec)
      • Latin America: Brasil, Colombia (Santa Marta), Mexico (Puebla, Mexico City)

    Draft Learning Agreement for Studies and select one host institution
    You ultimately need to select one non-EU host institution for which your Faculty will nominate you. You thus need to start finding more information on the VUB partner institutions and the offered programmes:

    • Course offer: Check whether the host institution has an adequate course offer for exchange students for your study field and/or programme. Once you narrowed down your choice to one, draft a Learning Agreement for Studies in agreement with your Exchange Coordinator. It is mandatory to have agreed on a draft Learning Agreement for Studies with your Exchange Coordinator prior to your nomination (see Faculty deadlines).
    • Conditions for participation: Check the conditions laid out by the host institution and be sure you meet them (e.g. a minimum overall cumulative GPA required, one semester or whole year exchanges only, some (practical) courses not open to exchange students).

    It is your, the student’s responsibility, to check the course offer for exchange and whether you meet the criteria and conditions for participation. If in doubt, contact IRMO, who can help you in this regard.

    Apply at Faculty level for this exchange to the non-EU host institution

    Apply at Faculty level for this non-EU exchange according to their criteria. Your Faculty will nominate you towards IRMO who will then nominate you towards the host institution (exchange procedure).

    • You can be nominated for one non-EU host institution only and you need a draft Learning Agreement agreed upon with your Exchange Coordinator.
    • Back-up EU destination: Often non-EU universities select strictly, you can therefore choose a back-up destination within Europe for which your Faculty will nominate you. In case your intercontinental exchange cannot take place and you correctly applied for an exchange at the EU back-up destination you can still go abroad as part of your VUB study programme.
    • If the applications exceed the maximum number of slots foreseen on the bilateral agreement. The Faculties will prioritise using their own standards.

    Prepare your application for the non-EU host institution
    Applications at non-EU institutions need to be prepared in more detail. Check the host institution’s website and start assembling the requested documents (e.g. proof of language proficiency, reference letter by VUB Professor, cover letter, proof of solvability) and information well in advance. (!) Note that you can only apply at the host institution once IRMO has nominated you.

    Application and acceptance at the host institution & official confirmation from your VUB Faculty

    • You apply at the host institution once IRMO officially nominated you towards the host institution. The host institution will then, based on their conditions for participation, evaluate your application and inform you whether or not you are accepted as an exchange student. (!) Note that non-EU universities select strictly and we advise to have a back-up application within Europe (see above).
    • Your exchange needs to be officially confirmed after the exam period by your VUB Faculty too (see general procedure).
    You wish to do an intercontinental traineeship? Find more information here.


    General information on the possibilities to do a traineeship as part of your VUB curriculum can be found here. You need to contact your Exchange Coordinator if you wish to do this traineeship in a non-EU country.

    You need to meet the application criteria set by your Faculty and/or programme (When? Who? And How?-sections on the programme specific pages) for intercontinental exchanges (outside of Europe). The general exchange procedure equally applies for traineeships outside of Europe. Meaning that you need to nominated by your Faculty, following their selection process, towards IRMO for further follow-up (except for VLIR-UOS reisbeurzen – travel grants, find more information here).

    If you wish to apply for a scholarship to help finance your stay abroad have a look at the following webpage and follow the instructions explained.

    Kirsten went to Washington D.C for her internship through The Washington Center! Get in touch with exchange.outgoing@vub.be for more info about doing internships abroad!


    There are a few ways to help you finance your studies or traineeships abroad: Erasmus Belgica, Erasmus+, Generieke Beurs, Priority Country Programme, Washington Center, VLIR-UOS travel grants.

    VUB also offers extra financial support if needed (see below).

    Difficulties financing your study abroad? Contact Social legal & financial support.


    Exchange grant

    Belgian students (*) who experience difficulties financing their study period abroad, can apply for an exchange grant (buitenlandtoelage). With this exchange grant, you can finance the study costs abroad (transport, housing, study books, etc.). To receive this grant, there are general and specific conditions you must comply to.

    (*) Some EU/EEA-students can be entitled if they have been living in Belgium for at least five years or if they (or their parents) have been working in Belgium at least one year. Non-EEA-students can be entitled if they have a permanent residence in Belgium.

    Social legal & financial support

    If you are not entitled to an exchange grant and experience difficulties in paying the study expenses for your international exchange, you can contact Social legal & financial support to see if you are eligible for another kind of financial support. All your questions will be treated confidentially and your specific situation will be considered.


    For outgoing exchange students.

    You’ve decided to go abroad in the framework of your studies at VUB for studies or a traineeship? Consider that you will need to have the right grades, work on a study plan, prepare to gain the required language level, etc. Underneath are the necessary steps to be completed (download the PDF of the procedures). More detailed information on each step is given below.

    1. Exchange application at your Faculty

    You apply for an exchange for studies or a traineeship at your Faculty. The selection is determined by each Faculty’s own regulations, but often involves: the results you obtained, study progress, language proficiency, motivational letter and draft study plan (i.e. Learning Agreement) for your exchange. The start and end date of the application process are set by your Faculty or study programme (start in December – deadline around mid-February). You apply for an exchange for the next academic year. Once the Faculty Selection Committee has evaluated the applications, your Faculty informs you whether you can go on an exchange prorgramme. Have a look at the webpage of your Facutly and/ or study programme for their selection criteria and application deadline. The contact details of your Exchange Coordinator can be found there too.

    ! Have a look at the programme specific pages and find out when and where you can go. This depends on a.o. your faculty, study programme, purpose of your stay abroad (studies, traineeship), your level of study and the scholarship programme.

    2. Faculty selection results and nomination

    Each Faculty nominates their selected students to VUB’s International Relations office (IRMO). Only students who were officially nominated by their Faculty with IRMO can start their online VUB exchange registration and will be eligible for one of the scholarship programmes managed by VUB for their exchange during the next academic year (including Erasmus+ scholarships for Traineeships after Graduation). Late applications (at Faculty level) and nominations (towards IRMO) will not be considered.

    3. Online VUB exchange registration

    Nominated students have to complete the online VUB exchange registration through Mobility-Online (*). All administration for your exchange (before, during and after) is managed through the online platform. You need to register online the moment you receive the link from the International Relations office (IRMO).

    (*) Students who were nominated for a traineeship abroad as part of their VUB study programme, but not within the framework of one of the scholarship programmes managed by VUB, do NOT apply via Mobility-Online. This group of students will receive an email informing them about the necessary administrative steps.

    4. Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships ‘before mobility’

    A Learning Agreement for Studies or a Traineeship is a plan that details the courses or training activities you will achieve during your mobility. This is an official document and obligatory for all exchanges for studies or a traineeship that are part of your VUB study programme. There are three parties who should agree on your Learning Agreement (study plan):

    1. You, the student.
    2. You draft your Learning Agreement in consultation with your VUB Exchange Coordinator who is academically responsible and approves it.
      Deadline: Learning Agreement needs to be final and ready to be approved by your VUB Exchange Coordinator no later than 11 May 2018.
    3. Once approved from VUB's side, you send the Learning Agreement to the person academically responsible at the host institution or organisation (in case of traineeships) who needs to approve and sign.

    Learning Agreements for Studies are formalised through the platform Mobility-Online. Technical issues with Mobility-Online can be reported to IRMO.
    Learning Agreement for a Traineeship-templates can be downloaded via Mobility-Online.

    5. Application at host institution or organisation

    Register and apply for your exchange at the host institution following their requirements and regulations. Check the host university’s website and check what their procedures are. IRMO passes on the names of the nominees to the host institution, but submitting an application and completing the administration at the receiving institution is the student’s responsibility.

    • ! Applications for intercontinental exchanges are more demanding and lengthy. Start preparing for your application well in advance. You can only start your application once IRMO has passed on the names of the nominees to the host institution. We strongly recommend to start collecting the required documentation and to have everything ready on time.
    • ! Your application is subject to official acceptance by the host institution. Exchanges to partner universities within the framework of Erasmus+ are usually accepted if all administration is completed correctly and you have the recommended language proficiency. Applications for an intercontinental exchange (exchanges to a partner institution outside the framework of Erasmus+) are evaluated by the partner institution, taking into account multiple criteria such as study results, language proficiency and personal motivation.

    Students going abroad for a traineeship need to make the necessary arrangements with the host organisation.

    6. Take Off exchange info session

    You will be invited for the mandatory Exchange Take Off info session (beginning of May). You will receive detailed information on how to prepare for your exchange: insurance, safety, language preparation, housing, travel and residence documents and paperwork at home.

    7. Official approval exchange

    After the exam period (depending whether you have to retake exams, this will be at the beginning of July or September) the VUB Faculty evaluates and officially approves your study abroad. This eligibility check is based on criteria set by your Faculty (or specific study programme). Consult the Faculty webpage or your Exchange Coordinator for more information. It is not allowed to leave on exchange without official confirmation.

    • ! In addition to VUB’s academic approval (eligibility check) the host institution also needs to accept your exchange application. Make sure you complete all the necessary administration (such as the Learning Agreement). Non-EU partners (for intercontinental exchanges) might have specific admission criteria and will evaluate your application file. Have a look at the partner institution’s website to find out more about the admission criteria for exchange students.
    • ! Please note that next to these confirmations having a Learning Agreement for Studies or a Traineeship signed by all three parties is obligatory (see above).

    Students whose exchange can take place, will receive an approval email from IRMO.

    8. Students receiving a scholarship

    Students eligible for a scholarship (from a scholarship programme managed by the VUB), will receive an email with the scholarship administration documents. Scholarship administration documents are only sent if 1) the Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships has been signed by all three parties, and if 2) the exchange has been officially approved by the Faculty.

    More information on the different scholarships and its specific requirements (such as signing of the grant agreement, other necessary administration, payment scheme) can be found here.

    9. Start of your exchange

    You remain a VUB student while you are studying abroad, so do not forget to re-enrol at VUB. In addition, you need to register at the host institution and attend their welcome activities.

    Get your Certificate of Arrival signed by the responsible person at the host organisation or institution. Upload the file to your personal flow in Mobiltiy-Online (or send it to exchange.outgoing@vub.be if instructed to do so). The Certificate of Arrival is attached to the email informing you of the approval of your exchange.

    10. Changes to the Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships ‘during mobility’

    Upon arrival (after submitting the Certificate of Arrival) one-time changes to the Learning Agreement for Studies or Traineeships are possible. Changes to the Learning Agreement have to be motivated (reason for change) and need to be academically approved at the host institution or organisation and at VUB (Exchange Coordinator). Please refer to the procedure of the approval of the learning agreement ‘before mobility’.

    • Deadline 1st semester exchanges: 15 October 2018.
    • Deadline 2nd semester exchanges: 28 February 2019.

    11. Prolongation exchange

    Not all students can prolong their exchange, regulations are set by each Faculty (contact your Exchange Coordinator for more information).

    Only students who are allowed to prolong their exchange are informed by email (beginning of December) on the prolongation procedure.

    12. End of your exchange

    Before returning home, you need to get the Certificate of Departure signed by the responsible person at the host organisation or institution. Upload the file to your personal flow in Mobility-Online (or send it to exchange.outgoing@vub.be if instructed to do so). The Certificate of Departure is the same document as your Certificate of Arrival (uploaded or sent earlier).

    Your Transcript of Records (Grade Sheets) will be sent to VUB by your host institution. If you receive the Transcript of Records yourself, send the copy to the VUB Student Administration. Traineeship Certificates need to be sent to your VUB Exchange Coordinator.

    • Please remember that your grades might be converted and may differ from the result you have obtained at your host institution. Grade conversion is done at Faculty level (contact your Exchange Coordinator for more information).

    The credits gained abroad (and part of your Learning Agreement) will be recognised and mentioned on your “VUB-diploma supplement”.

    Students receiving a scholarship managed by VUB need to comply with the specific requirements set by the funding organisation (i.e. complete survey, non-binding online language test, essay writing) to receive the last instalment. More information on the scholarship info page.

    Join us at the welcome back session (for which you will receive a personal invitation) and share your experiences!

    Get in touch!

    Do you have any questions? Do not hesitate to contact us.

    All general questions