The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

The best exchange programmes in the world

Experience a new culture, lifestyle and make life-long friends with a student exchange programme.

share image

Not sure you want to commit to a full degree abroad? Want to study mostly in your home country but still spend some time in another country? An exchange programme could be the right choice for you. Develop greater confidence, independence and a worldlier mindset, without the high fees. If you are looking to spend a semester or year abroad during your degree, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’re going to explore some of the most prestigious and well-known exchange programmes in the world for international students.


What is an exchange programme?

An exchange programme is a set period of time that a student spends in another country at a partner university where you will usually be attending lectures or working. This is an opportunity for university students to learn the local language and immerse themselves in a new country and culture. In terms of accommodation, you might be offered lodging with a host family or live in student halls of residence. This is a great opportunity to experience a different way of life, new perspectives and alternative academic practices.


How long are exchange programmes?

The duration of exchange programmes differs depending on the one you choose. For example, you might decide to study in another country for a couple of weeks, one semester or for a whole year. It’s important that you check which options are offered by your home university. Some courses will offer exchanges while others will not, so you want to make sure you have done your research before starting a course to give yourself the best possible opportunities.


What are some of the best exchange programmes?

Erasmus Programme

This EU-funded programme enables students to study or work in a European country. Popular destinations include France, Spain, Germany and Italy but there are 33 destinations on offer in total. The programme encourages students to improve their language skills and provides exposure to global education.


The Erasmus scheme is offered from anywhere between three months to a year. If you are interested in this programme, you should speak to your university’s Erasmus office or coordinator who will be able to advise you on your options.


Cost of Erasmus

Luckily, you won’t be required to pay any additional tuition fees during an Erasmus exchange programme. You can also apply for a grant to help with the cost of living or renting if you require additional financial support. Again, for more information, you will need to contact the person in charge of organising your university’s Erasmus programmes.


Chevening Scholarships

As studying abroad can be expensive, another great way to study in a new country is by obtaining a scholarship. The Chevening scholarship programme is particularly well known, offering to fund students who want to study for a postgraduate degree in the UK. Since 1983, more than 50,000 people have studied in the UK with a Chevening scholarship.


To be eligible, you will need a 2:1 grade (or equivalent) in your undergraduate studies, in addition to possessing the necessary skills and personal qualities needed to succeed as a global leader. You should also check that your country of citizenship offers the Chevening scholarships as these are not available across all countries.  


Global Undergraduate Exchange Programme

If you’re interested in experiencing American culture without spending the international student fees, you might want to consider applying for the Global Undergraduate Exchange Programme. This scheme is designed to give students the chance to experience the U.S. education system and culture for one semester.


During this programme, you will have the chance to improve your English language skills and will be required to complete academic coursework and take part in cultural enrichment activities. As part of this programme, you will also be awarded a scholarship to cover the costs of international travel, accommodation, tuition, a monthly allowance and funding for books. Successful students are chosen based on their academic excellence, leadership potential and interest in studying in the U.S.


ISEP Exchange

If your university is an ISEP member, you can swap places with a student from another ISEP exchange institution. You will have a choice of up to ten partner universities/colleges and the programme coordinators will find you the best option depending on space and your preferences.


The ISEP exchange programme is run across 50 different countries, but opportunities will depend on where you have signed up. You will pay tuition and fees to your home institution as normal but will be required to pay an application fee of USD 100 plus USD 395 when you accept your placement. These fees will be paid directly to your home institution.


Fulbright U.S. Student Programme

Operating in more than 160 countries worldwide, the Fulbright programme offers around 8,000 grants on an annual basis. This scheme is both for U.S. citizens who want to study or conduct research in a different country and for non-U.S. citizens with a desire to study in the U.S.


Funding is provided to cover the cost of accommodation, travel to the host country/U.S., a 24/7 support line and more. For further information about the different awards on offer, check out our guide about the Fulbright programme.


When should I apply for a student exchange programme?

Application deadlines differ according to each university and scheme so you will need to check the specific dates according to the year you intend to pursue an exchange programme. As an example, if you wish to apply for an exchange in semester one or for a full year programme with ISEP (starting July, August or September), you must apply before February 15th. Make sure you check the application deadline with the university or exchange programme well in advance to avoid last-minute stress.


Why should I apply for a student exchange programme?

Before you go, take a look at some of the key reasons for undertaking a student exchange programme to get you feeling motivated and inspired:


  • Experience a new culture
  • Learn within a different education system
  • Broaden your mind
  • Improve/learn a language
  • Meet new people and make friends
  • Gain independence
  • Add to your CV
  • Try new foods
  • Develop self-reliance
  • Learn about yourself
  • Face your fears
  • Have an adventure


Interested in applying for one of the above student exchange programmes? You can check out their websites for more information, or alternatively, you can contact universities directly to find out what opportunities and advice they can provide.  


Must read

article Img

Should students work part-time while studying?

With the increasing costs attached to the pursuit of higher education, working part-time while studying has become a necessity for many students – be it for the sake of covering daily expenses, paying for tuition or miscellaneous academic fees, or just for extra allowances. This issue has become more and more apparent in our society today. More than just being apparent, it has also become a dilemma for many students. In this article, we will weigh the pros and cons

article Img

The 5 most surprising scholarships

You’re probably aware that scholarships are highly sought after by prospective students as studying at university is not the cheapest and the bills do add up. However, many students are not aware of the funding options available to them or feel they wouldn’t be eligible. We’ve done some investigative work and found five unusual scholarships and bursaries that you probably didn’t even know existed. Just a little research into scholarships could end up saving you a