Why Go Abroad and When?
A unique experience with proven merits
Studying or training abroad is a unique opportunity. Whether you are a true globe-trotting cosmopolitan or someone who has, until now, preferred to stay in your home country, going abroad during your studies is an experience you are likely to remember for the rest of your life.
Regardless of whether or not you are planning to work abroad or in Finland after your studies, gaining experience in another country is sure to be beneficial. Studies have shown that you accumulate qualities that are valued by most employers through studying or training abroad: tolerance, confidence, problem-solving skills, curiosity, determination and awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses (read more: Erasmus Impact Study confirms EU student exchange scheme boosts employability and job mobility).
A new dimension to your degree
At a foreign university, you can study your own field from a different perspective. On the other hand, during an exchange period you can add some spice to your elective studies by completing courses that are not available at your home university. Academic exchange studies completed through the exchange agreements of the University of Tampere will be recognised as part of your degree upon your return. A degree that includes foreign studies is a competitive edge on the job market – it provides you with a more distinct profile and distinguishes you from other jobseekers.
An internship abroad is also an excellent way to try your wings and build proficiency at communicating in a different cultural environment using a foreign language – possibly with an aim to further your international career aspirations. Through a summer internship, for example, you can combine travel, summer-time employment and furthering your studies, which can be an excellent solution when your schedule is too tight for going abroad during either semester. An internship abroad does not always need to be in the field you are studying. Instead, your studies can include voluntary training that meets the competence-related goals through other activities. Please check the degree requirements of your own degree programme.
When going abroad during your studies through exchange or internship programmes available at your university, the financial concerns can be alleviated with grants provided by the university.
When to go abroad?
It is a good idea to begin planning the timing of the exchange period by answering two questions: when would the exchange best fit your studies, and at which point in your studies is it possible to apply for exchange. To be eligible for exchange, a student must have completed at least one academic year of studies at his/her home university. At this point, the student has obtained sufficient capabilities for completing academic studies abroad. It is prudent to also discuss the timing of the exchange period with your HOPS/tutor teacher, for example.
Depending on the exchange locations and programme, students may, in some cases, be required to have completed at least 2–3 years of studies at the home university before going abroad. Especially with regard to places in the most popular bilateral exchange universities, competition is often fierce, and, more often than not, students who are further in their studies have the upper hand. In addition to this, developing sufficient language proficiency takes time.
The Erasmus+ programme requires at least one year of studies at the home university before beginning the exchange. In addition to this, those looking to participate in the Erasmus+ exchange programme through a minor subject must take into account that they are also required to complete the basic studies in the subject in question at their home university before applying for exchange.
You can go abroad for exchange multiple times during your studies. Always ensure that you have a valid right to study at the University of Tampere for the duration of your exchange period.
For more information on possible programme- and location-specific limitations, please contact the mobility coordinators!
An internship abroad usually takes place during the master’s degree phase of the studies. You should also discuss the timing of the international internship and the related study attainment with the internship contact person of your degree programme/discipline!
An internationally structured degree is considered highly competitive at today’s labour market and also provides you a possibility to profile yourself and stand out from other possible job applicants.
The University of Tampere wants to offer its students the possibility to internationalise and have their international capabilities recorded regardless of their degree programme and even without actually going abroad for an exchange - or a work placement period. You can include an internationalisation module in your degree and request a certificate on mobility for your exchange and work placement periods from the Registrar’s Office. By completing the internationalisation module, you will gain skills in intercultural learning, understanding of the themes of your field on a global level, and the ability to examine things from a variety of perspectives in working life. The certificate on mobility, on the other hand, will be useful when looking for a job because it enables you to provide proof of all mobility periods completed during your studies (exchange and work placement periods) in a single document.
Read more in the section Go international at your home university!