FAQs for outgoing students

This information is for students coming to study in the department of Politics and History at Brunel University. Please click on the questions to view the answers regarding the Erasmus and non-Erasmus study programmes.

How can I take part in one of the available Programmes?

If you are enrolled at Brunel University on a full-time degree programme and wish to study in another country, you can apply to participate in one of the Erasmus or non-Erasmus programmes. The department must have a formal agreement with an appropriate partner institution, and it must be in the subject area of your degree.

The department of Politics and History has a formal application process.  If you are successful, you will then be supported in establishing contact with the coordinator at the receiving (host) institution so you can prepare a proposed module study package of at least 60 ECTS credits or 120 Brunel University credits for approval by the relevant coordinator in the department. Once you have been accepted by your host institution, a Learning Agreement will be completed which will detail the agreed programme to be taken.

What are the entry requirements for the Erasmus/Exchange placement?

You must address the following:

  • be an EU national or a national of an EEA country or possess a valid UK residence permit
  • be registered on a full-time degree programme at Brunel
  • demonstrate that you have made good academic progress and you are expected to pass all your first year modules. You are expected to have at least a C- grade average (or GPA 8) across all subjects. Students with a failure in any module cannot normally be considered
  • have a strong working knowledge and competency in the language of the proposed placement institution if there are programmes not taught in English
  • submit the Brunel Politics and History application form by 31 January 2014
  • not have received a previous Erasmus grant (only for Erasmus programmes)

What is the application process?

The completed application form should be submitted to the UG office (hard copy, signed by your personal tutor) and by email to the Erasmus Coordinator, Filippo Del Lucchese

What are the Application documents?

Your application should contain the following documents: 

 

1) Politics and History Registration of Interest form
2) Erasmus grant application form (only for Erasmus programmes)

3) A copy of all your first term essays, including grades.

4) A cover letter with your personal statement, indicating why you are applying for a student exchange, why you have selected your destination, why it will be beneficial for you to study in the department you have chosen, if there is anywhere you would not want to go, if you speak and write any other language(s), and at the level of your language skills.You need to submit a satisfactory rationale, detailing the academic reasons for wishing to undertake the year of study at the partner institution rather than at Brunel University. You also need to state a second and third destination, in case you are not selected for your preferred choice.

Students who have excelled in the first part of the application process will be invited to meet with the Exchange Committee who will make the final decision.

Please follow these tips when writing your personal statement:

  • Research thoroughly before you start writing your cover letter. Have you decided which programme you are applying to?
  • Be focused
  • Be transparent: why are you making these choices?
  • Show motivation and enthusiasm for the subject
  • Demonstrate that you are mature and responsible
  • Show initiative
  • Demonstrate analytical and communication skills
  • Show you are able to adjust to a new environment
  • Structure the material: the majority (50-75%) of your personal statement should be spent explaining why you want to do the course
  • Be selective
  • Show knowledge of, and interest in, the programme and the modules taught in the department you are applying for
    Include relevant experiences Interests, hobbies, achievements and responsibilities Career plans
  • Finally do at least two drafts, check all of your course and personal details are accurate, and check your spelling and grammar

The Selection Committee holds the right to rescind any offer, or refer a student disciplinary proceedings if it is discovered that the required materials and grades were not their own and dishonestly presented.

How are applications assessed?

The assessment of the application will be based on:

  • the statement of the rationale for wishing to undertake the exchange programme
  • current academic progress
  • other relevant information in the application form

The department will wish to be satisfied that there are bona fide academic reasons for wishing to undertake the exchange; that the partner university must be able to provide a year of study as close as possible in standard and content to the equivalent year of the Brunel University degree;  that students will be able to cope in a different learning and teaching environment and will have a reasonable chance of successfully completing the year of study; and that the completed year will permit smooth progression to the final year of the degree back at Brunel University.

Selection is made by the ‘Exchange Committee,’ comprising the International Coordinator and the Touch Point Team Leaders. Your decision to participate in an exchange programme must also be supported and approved by your Personal Tutor. Please ensure that s/he signs the ‘Registration of Interest Form.’

Once you have applied, the Exchange Committee will consider all applications and decide who they wish to meet. The Committee will then make the final decision on the successful applicants.

Only students with a C average or higher will be eligible to go on an exchange with another university.

Once you have been selected, it is your responsibility to contact the university abroad and complete and submit their application form (normally available on their website) and accommodation application. Note that deadlines for submitting these applications might be different from the Brunel University ones. The International Coordinator will be able to support you in this.

Successful applicants will then have further work to do to complete the exchange application process.

Once you have been selected by the University, and accepted by the partner institution, you must also complete the Learning Agreement (all applicants) and hand it in at the International Office.

When is the deadline for the application?

You need to submit the hard copy of the application to the UG office and email it to the Exchange Coordinator, dr. Filippo Del Lucchese by January 31st, 2014.

When will I know the result of my application?

All candidates will be notified by e-mail regarding the outcome of their application by the end of February. If you have not heard from us by the end of February, please contact the Exchange Coordinator.

What happens if I am not selected for the destination that I wanted?

If you have not been successful in gaining a place at your preferred destination, you may be offered an alternative destination, depending on what places are remaining.  

Where can I study abroad?

We have a number of exchange agreements with partner universities in Politics and History. Where you can apply for will depend on the agreements we have in place in your subject. Please visit the webpage listing the available programmes for History and Politics.

How can I learn more about the available destinations?

You can visit the webpage listing the available programmes for History and Politics, click on the link and visit the partner university’s website.

What language are the modules taught abroad?

Most of our partner universities teach in English. However, some universities teach in a foreign language. In this case, you will need to check their language requirements on their website.

Will the modules I take abroad count towards my degree?

How will the grades I take abroad be translated into Brunel University grades?

Your marks/grades from your host institution will be translated into Brunel University grades by the Politics and History Exchange Committee taking into account equivalences at Erasmus host universities.  You may be asked to submit a portfolio of your coursework from your host institution to the Exchange Committee. Your transcript from your host institution will be reviewed alongside your portfolio of assessed and this will be moderated by the Exchange Committee (International Coordinator and Touch Point Team Leaders).

Do I have to pay more to take part into a scheme?

No, there is no extra fee to pay.

Do I have any financial support to go abroad?

For an Erasmus exchange, undergraduate students who spend a full year in a partner institution pay no tuition fees to Brunel University for that year and no tuition fees to the partner institution; the UK government meets the cost of the tuition fee. You continue to be registered at Brunel University, you are still eligible for Student Loan, bursaries, etc.

You will also receive an Erasmus grant of approximately 225 Euros per month of study abroad.

Non-Erasmus exchange students who spend a full year in a partner institution will be required to pay tuition fees to Brunel University.

Do I have to pay for my travel?

Yes.  You will be expected to fund your travel to and from your host university.  


How much can I expect to spend, during the year abroad?

During your period of study in the partner institution you will need to pay for accomodation and general living costs and entertainment. While in some countries this may be more expensive than at home, in many places the reductions for students means that it should cost no more, and often significantly less.  Nonetheless, the costs of studying abroad can vary considerably so you will need to investigate this further with your host institution.

Can I work while studying overseas?

If the law of the country where you are studying permits international students to work, it is sometimes possible to work a certain number of hours. This can only be arranged after you arrive (with advice from the International Office at the Exchange Partner University).

How good does my foreign language have to be?

Although most of our partner universities teach in English, a fairly good knowledge and competency in the language of the foreign country is definitely useful. Learning or improving the foreign language, though, is part of the exchange experience itself.

You could take part in an Intensive Language Course in the relevant country prior to the start of your studies (tuition and accommodation free, plus one month extra Erasmus grant). The deadline to apply for these courses is 31 May. Further information can be found on the European Commision, Education & Training website.

Please note that you will not be permitted to take a language module as part of your studies.

Do I need a Visa?

Erasmus exchange:

Currently, if you are a UK, EU or EEA national you will not require a visa to visit most of the countries which participate in the Erasmus scheme.

However, if you are planning to go to Turkey, you will need to make arrangements in advance to apply for a study visa. To do so you will need to make an appointment with the Turkish Consulate in London.

If you are a national of another country, you may require a visa for your Erasmus period - please ensure that you contact your local embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting to find out if you need a visa and, if so, how and when you must apply for it.
Please ensure that you apply for your visa in good time as applications may take several months to process.

Normally, along with other documentation, you will be required to provide written confirmation of your acceptance by your host university or organisation, as well as proof of your start and end dates.

Non-Erasmus exchange:

You will require a visa to visit some of the countries which participate in the non-Erasmus scheme. Please check the partner university’s website to find the relevant information.

Do I need an insurance?

Erasmus exchange:

All eligible students should obtain a European Health Insurance Card before departure - this entitles you to free or reduced cost medical treatment in the countries of the European Economic Area (the EEA consitutes the 25 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland.

The EHIC is not a substitute for travel and health insurance since it may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs. Further information about the countries involved and what treatment is covered can be found on the Department of Health's webpages.

Make sure that you have your National Insurance number to hand when making your application.

Apply for a European Health Insurance Card

For both Erasmus and non-Erasmus exchanges, it is always advisable to take out a suitable travel / health insurance policy which will cover you for travel to and from your destination and for all the activities you intend to undertake for the whole duration of your stay. You must leave a copy of your insurance policy with your department before you leave the UK.

If you intend to go travelling during your period abroad, check if you will need additional cover for any trips longer than 7 days. Activities such as winter sports normally require additional cover.

What should I do if I have any health and safety problems?


As a general precaution, if you have a particular health condition, discuss the details of continuing your prescription abroad with your GP. Also be sure to take translated copies of any important health documentation you may have.

Once you have settled in to your new accommodation, it is a sensible idea to find out the location of the nearest hospital and A&E department in case of an emergency.

Your local British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission abroad will be able to offer a range of services including issuing replacement passports; assistance if you are the victim of a crime; and liaison with family and friends on your behalf.

You are strongly advised to locate the nearest British Consulate/High Commission to your host destination and take a note of the telephone number and address. Most British Consulates operate an answerphone service outside working hours with a emergency number if needed.

Students who are not UK nationals are advised to locate their nearest consular representation and follow the same guidelines.

Find your nearest consulate

Do I need to bring extra documents with me?

Check with your host university what documents you need. For example:

An up-to-date passport valid for the duration of your time abroad.
Additional photocopies of your passport
A copy of your birth certificate - check whether you need a translated copy
A driving licence
You may find it useful to get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
Passport sized photographs
Transcripts of your first year of study at Brunel University
A letter from your tutor confirming your student status
Your Learning Agreement

What should I do in case of emergency while I’m abroad?

Should an emergency situation occur whilst you are abroad your first action should be to make contact as soon as possible with your nominated contact at your host university and your family. The host co-ordinator often has the local knowledge and “know how” to advise and support you.

It is also very important for you to contact Brunel University. During normal office hours you should contact Brunel International.

Depending on the type of emergency it may also be appropriate to report to or contact your nearest British Consulate.

Can I open a bank account abroad?

You may be entitled to open a bank account abroad. As you are going abroad for a whole year, you may want to do this.

Tell your bank you will be going abroad for the year. We recommend you subscribe to internet banking so you can check the balance of your UK account from abroad and we also advise to bring a credit card with you. Erasmus students will have their grant paid into UK Bank Account.

Check the British Council website for tips on managing your money abroad.

Ensure that arrangements are in place for someone to receive your student mobility grant.
If you receive a student loan or funding from another source, contact the organisation to make appropriate arrangements

Accommodation: where will I stay when I am abroad?

Organising accommodation in another country is not always easy. Remember that this is part of the challenge of going to live abroad.
Often the cheapest alternative is to stay in the host institution’s campus accommodation. The International Affairs office will liaise with its counterpart at the host institution in this regard.  If campus accommodation is available, then this can be arranged relatively easily.  If campus accommodation is not available, then information will be forwarded to students by the host institution outlining the procedures for renting privately owned flats/houses.  You can also ask at your host university if they have any special places where they post accommodation listings.

For university accommodation:

Check with the host institution if you are eligible, what is available, what are the costs, how and when you should apply. Complete the application forms and return to the host university by the deadline. Ensure that the host university has received your application and chase it up if needed.

For private rented accommodation:

Check what options are available for the period of time you will be there, eg staying with a family or sharing a flat with other students, what are the costs, how and when should you apply. Contact other students to find out how they found accommodation or talk to any students currently studying here from the University you will be visiting.
If you can’t secure your accommodation in advance, or you would prefer to look in person, book temporary accommodation such as a guesthouse when you first arrive. Do not arrive overseas without somewhere to stay for at least your first few nights.

What do I do if I’m on a four-year Placement degree?

If you are on a four-year placement degree, you will undertake your exchange in your second year, and then your placement in your third year.  You may wish to seek a placement abroad but you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate visa for your placement.

When am I able to study abroad?

Undergraduate students can only participate in an exchange in Year 2 of their studies.

Can I study abroad for one term only?

No, Brunel University students can only study abroad for a full academic year (not just one term).

How can I prepare myself?

Find out as much as you can about the place you are going and the partner university through its website. If possible, we can put you in contact with students currently here from the university you are planning to go; they can give you first-hand information. We can also try to put you in contact with previous Brunel students who have been on exchange at the university where you plan to go.

  • Find out who your School/departmental International Co-ordinator is, where you could study or work and when you could go abroad and for how long
  • Attend any information meetings organised within your School / department
  • Get your tutor's approval and the International Co-ordinator to participate in the scheme
  • For the host university find out information for international students, get contact details of the Institutional Co-ordinator, Departmental Co-ordinator and the Accommodation Office

Courses:

  • What subjects do you need to take and how many credits?
  • What courses are available at the host university?
  • Do you need any prior knowledge?
  • What is the language of instruction?
  • How are the courses assessed?

Expressions of Interest:

Let the International Office know you are interested in participating.


Page last updated: Wednesday 29 August 2012