Introduction to ERASMUS

Time of reading: 5 minutes

Do you want to go on Erasmus, but the anxiety of administrative procedures is already sending you into crisis? … Don’t worry! Silvia and Vittoria are gonna take care of it giving you the tips you are looking for!

We are sure you have heard a lot about Erasmus, from friends or colleagues, or maybe even from older students who already went through this experience.

Initially, there may be a bit of confusion regarding the bureaucratic organization necessary to enroll in the Erasmus program, so here are some essential steps and practical advice that we would like to give you, so you can enjoy this experience peacefully and be prepared for what are the main steps you will have to face.

BEFORE LEAVING

  • Universities organize meetings with some professors who usually deal with experiences abroad, and who will explain to you the various Exchange programs offered (Study Abroad, Isep, Free Mover, and Summer Programs). However, if during the meeting you are struggling to take note of all the information and various details, do not worry. You will receive a summary email a few days later.
  • Another tip: participate with a prepared list of doubts regarding the more informal issues (such as: “I did not understand how to contact the students of previous years”), to clarify them in person with those who will chair the various meetings. It can often happen that when you go home after with countless uncertainties and then you have to ask for clarification via e-mail to the Erasmus offices, for issues that initially seem secondary to you, but which are instead useful to know. However, you must take into account that these offices mainly deal with the paperwork and that operators, despite their goodwill, may find it impossible to give you answers.
  • Try to inform yourself well about the destinations that the faculty offers (just write on Google “Erasmus destinations, the name of your University”). Five destinations can be chosen by each student, if none has been selected, they will assign you one randomly.
  • Check the programs of the two universities (Italian and foreign) directly from the official website of both. If you are in a Master’s degree check that your field exists (for example, the field of “Wellness Psychology” is a specialty of Università Cattolica, so it will be difficult to find a fully similar field). When you have verified that your field of study exists, look at the proposed exams and their program. If you don’t find it on the website, search for the name of the professor who is in charge of the courses you are interested in and contact him by e-mail. If he doesn’t answer, you can ask your university to contact the Foreign University in a more formal way. You must make sure that there are compatible exams before choosing your destinations (so as not to find yourself in a university with completely different and therefore not validate exams).
  • Be resourceful! It may seem like a bad idea to start during your undergraduate years because of the large number of exams and because you may not know the university system well yet. However, you will find out how instead, starting before the Master’s degree, you choose from more destinations. You would also be able to extend your experience abroad or to complete another one in the following years! If, on the other hand, you decided to start in the master’s degree, the most “strategic” period could turn out to be the first semester of the first year, since you will still have countless exams that you can replace with foreign ones and enough time to come back and catch up with the courses and why not … even with student’s lifestyle!
  • Check if specific certifications are required (eg: TOEFL or IELTS are required for all overseas destinations except Columbia). If you want to take one of those tests, you will have to consider the time for their preparation (basically two months), and their cost (which will be at your expense). Otherwise, for European destinations, you can take an internal examination at your University.
  • Check that your average score is higher than the minimum required by the foreign university (it is from 24 upwards for overseas destinations).

It’s often difficult to find foreign exams that are perfectly compatible with the Italian ones. You will therefore need to be able to explain your goals with the reference professor, to validate the most demanding exams of your Italian program.

Tip: contact students who have already taken those exams, to know better which ones you should validate. Remember that often exams abroad are less demanding than ours since in Italy there are fewer group projects. Furthermore, international students tend to have a different evaluation grid than local students, as it also takes into account the difficulty in taking exams in a foreign language. Finally, watch out for non-English-speaking destinations, because exams and courses may exist only in the local language. Often this happens with the French destinations.

Fill out the application on the university website

Registration includes:

  1. Application form (personal data and language skills);
  2. Attachments (upload of any valid language certificates or IB Diploma or self-certification of enrollment in the CdS delivered in English);
  3. Exams and average score (updated situation in line with your “libretto” or exams transcripts);
  4. The chosen destinations (it’s possible to indicate up to 5 destinations, in order of preference);
  5. Pre-Learning Agreement (indicate the exams of your interest identified at the foreign university);
  6. Confirmation of registration: The final confirmation takes place after the payment of the application fee (of 35 euros);
  7. Registration for language tests (if you do not have certifications or if you have them but they have expired and are therefore not considered valid, then you will have to book to take the language exam depending on the destinations you have selected, for example, if you have all destinations in Spain and France you will have to book the tests in these two languages);

Informal info: they are not difficult tests, quiet

In the next article, we will talk about what will happen once you pass the selection and therefore what you will need to do once you have finally received a precise destination.

Silvia Bolla e Vittoria Mirabelli

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