Before you leave

The following is a collection of the most common things you should remember when leaving for an exchange or internship period abroad. Read the checklist carefully.

 

Housing

If you are going abroad for exchange, the coordinator of your exchange programme will inform you on whether or not the target university will arrange your housing or help you with the arrangements. In bilateral exchange arrangements as well as ISEP, north2north, FIRST and other separate exchange programmes, the target university usually handles or helps you with the housing arrangements. More often than not, you will be responsible for securing housing. In Tampere, you can sublet your apartment for the duration of the exchange period through the Opiskelijan Tampere service, for example. The TOAS website provides instructions on subletting your flat.

When going abroad for exchange, contact the exchange organisation’s contact person to determine whether it is possible for the organisation to assist you with the housing arrangements. More often than not, you will be responsible for securing housing for yourself!
It is a good idea to travel to the new city well before the beginning of work or studies and possible orientation events. In this way, you do not need to waste time on taking care of practical matters once your studies are already under way. Prepare yourself for the reality that, in some countries, handling formalities involves more bureaucracy than you may be used to, so try not to get too upset if your initial housing arrangements take time, for example. Handling things at the university or with authorities may also be more complicated than you expect. Remember the golden rule of every traveller: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Carefully consider what to take with you. You may initially need plenty of cash for the security deposit for your flat, for example. Passport photos are often needed for student cards and bus cards.
Determine the mains voltage and socket type in your country of destination beforehand. You can prepare in advance by purchasing adapters for a variety of electrical devices.

Find information on the country and university of destination

You can read about studying in the country in question on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s Maatieto pages (in Finnish and Swedish). You should also read about the experiences of others who have travelled to the same university or country for exchange or practical training in the travel report database of the Internationality in studies pages.

Follow the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland’s notifications for people travelling to your country of destination and take the instructions into account when preparing for your trip. If the destination is in an area where the situation is dangerous or less safe than usual, discuss the matter with the coordinator arranging your travel.
It is also a good idea to visit the website of your target university or internship location and study any other available information on the city and country in question. You should also join the Facebook group for University of Tampere exchange students (UTA Outgoing Exchange Students), which contains a variety of country-specific and general tips!

Enrolling in the University of Tampere

Remember to enrol in the University of Tampere. You can enrol as present or absent, at your discretion. If you enrol as present, you must pay the Tamy membership fee to receive a membership sticker for the academic year for your student card. This entitles you to student benefits in Finland (e.g. VR discounts) and access to YTHS clinics. Course unit completions can only be recorded for present students. You can also enrol as present for one semester only. The Erasmus grant will not be paid until you have enrolled.

If you have obtained your exchange position or Erasmus internship grant through the University of Tampere, the NettiOpsu electronic exchange application system automatically provides notification of your study or internship period abroad. In other words, you do not need to separately record your exchange period on NettiOpsu – filling in the grant agreement is enough. Your University of Tampere e-mail address will be active and accessible also during your stay abroad. You will be primarily notified of Erasmus matters through your university e-mail address. Remember to notify the Registrar’s Office of your valid address.
Remember to notify the coordinator of your exchange programme or internship about any plan changes!

In all matters concerning your exchange studies, you can turn to the coordinator of your own exchange programme (faculty’s mobility coordinators or the Erasmus coordinator). Questions regarding internships should be directed to the internship contact person of your faculty or degree programme. It is also a good idea to contact the Erasmus office (erasmus(at)uta.fi) in matters related to Erasmus exchange studies or internships. When the coordinator is unavailable, you can also send e-mail to the office of the Centre for International Education at intoffice(at).uta.fi.

International student cards and Europass documents

In some countries you may receive a discount on train tickets and backpacker accommodation by getting the international benefit card. Before obtaining the card, remember to check whether or not the card entitles you to benefits in your country of destination.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can be purchased from Kilroy Travels. By presenting the card, you can buy flight tickets at a student price and it also gets you other discounts within and outside Europe. For more information on the card, navigate to the Kilroy website –> Studies abroad.

The European Youth Card is also recognised in European countries. More information on the card’s benefits is available on the card’s website.

The Europass provides students and workers with a harmonised tool for demonstrating their expertise throughout Europe. The Europass consists of five documents. The documents can be used in the same format in all EU/EEC countries. The applicant can fill in the CV and Language Passport, to which the desired selection of other Europass documents can be appended. The Europass CV and Language Passport can be filled in online or the files can be downloaded to your own computer. Before assessing your own language skills, it is advisable to view the applicable European self-assessment grid.

The Europass documents also include the Diploma Supplement, which is a degree certificate attachment intended for international use. It contains information on the degree and educational institution in question as well as the education system in the country where the certificate was granted. Graduating students receive the Diploma Supplement automatically as an attachment to the degree certificate.

Europass website

Pre-departure orientation

The University of Tampere Centre for International Education organises an orientation afternoon for students about to travel abroad for student exchange or practical training. The agenda and presentations at the previous orientation are provided below as an example.

The purpose of the orientation day is to provide students with additional information on matters related to the exchange and prepare them to face sometimes surprising events. The programme includes lectures on adapting to a new culture, matters related to safety and health care as well as planning studies during the exchange and getting them recognised as part of your degree. The last part of the programme involves country-specific groups to which veteran exchange students are invited to talk about their experiences and answer questions.

Programme for the pre-departure orientation 20 April 2017, 12:15–5:00 pm

Opening of the orientation day
Learning Another Culture ,pdf
Presentation of the self-access centre
Health care nurse’s address ,pdf (Finnish)
Safe international travels: common sense, open mind ,pdf
Planning studies to be completed during the exchange and having them recognised             
(Coffee break in the main auditorium lobby)
Discussion about exchange experiences in country-specific groups (country groups in separate classrooms)

Emigration notification and travel notification

Submit a notice of move to the register office and Posti. You can submit the notification via the Posti online service, telephone or paper form available at post offices and register offices. Upon your return, you must remember to submit a notification of your arrival!

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland recommends preparing a travel notification before going abroad. This will enable Finnish authorities to contact you in possible crisis situations. You can issue the notification through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ electronic service.

You should also issue an emigration notice even when you move abroad temporarily. You can submit a notification on the Kela website.

Residence permit and visa, passport, embassies in Finland

First ensure that your passport will be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the country of destination. When travelling to certain countries, your passport must remain valid for at least six months after leaving the country, and for Russia, the passport must be valid for at least 18 months from the start date of the visa’s validity.

If your stay abroad will last longer than three months, you must obtain a residence permit for the country in question. The permit must be obtained from the embassy of the relevant country before leaving Finland, with the exception of EU and EEC countries, for which the right of residence is not registered until arrival in the country of destination. If you are not a citizen of an EU or EEC country, the residence permit requirements must be checked on a case-by-case basis based on your citizenship and country of destination. In EU and EEC countries, EU citizens can register their temporary residence within three months of arriving in the country. People travelling to Turkey must apply for a residence permit beforehand from the country’s embassy. Citizens of Nordic countries do not require a residence permit in other Nordic countries.

As a general rule, third-country nationals must always apply for a residence permit for their exchange period from the nearest consulate of the country of destination. Only third-country nationals going to another Schengen country for no longer than three months may reside in the country of destination with a residence permit granted for Finland.

Obtaining a residence permit may take up to a couple of months, so remember to apply for one in good time!

Currently, the instructions for applying for a residence permit or visa can usually be found on the website of the relevant country’s embassy or consulate. If you cannot find the information online, please contact the embassy or consulate directly.

Diplomatic representation of foreign states in Finland (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland)

Make copies of your passport and visa or residence permit and keep them separate from the original documents. If you lose your passport, for example, this precaution will facilitate resolving the matter with various authorities.

Student financial aid and other financial matters

Student financial aid can be granted for studies abroad if they correspond with supported studies in Finland or are included in a degree being completed in Finland. In other words, outgoing exchange students must ensure that the foreign studies are eligible for credit transfer towards a degree at the University of Tampere. Student financial aid can also be provided for an internship abroad if the student in question will receive credits for the internship period. Please note that the Kela credit requirement of at least five credits per month also applies to internships.

A certificate of the exchange period, pdf must be appended to the student financial aid application. Fill in the form electronically with an Adobe client and  append the signed certificate to the student financial aid application to Kela. The certificate is signed only in the context of a University of Tampere exchange or internship programme.

More information on student financial aid abroad is available on the Kela website

Contact your bank to find out the most affordable and convenient way of handling financial matters in your country of destination. Possible options are Debit and Visa Electron cards, bank transfers or international credit cards, such as Visa or Mastercard. Please note that student financial aid and Erasmus internship grants are paid to your Finnish bank account each month. Contact your bank beforehand for any information you may need to transfer funds to a foreign bank (for example, the bank’s SWIFT code and your IBAN account number and the time it takes to process payments).

Before leaving for your trip, write down all numbers of your credit and debit cards and keep them separate from your cards and money. If you lose your wallet, for example, this precaution will significantly facilitate resolving the matter with various authorities.

Health and vaccinations

FSHS provides health-related travel advice through an electronic service, for example. Read more on the FSHS website.

Also read the website that includes a collection of country-specific information on health care services abroad.

Apply for the European Health Insurance Card from Kela if you are going to a European country. The card is free of charge, and holders of the card are entitled to receive medically necessary health care during their stay in another EU or EEC country and Switzerland. Each country will provide the health care in accordance with its own legislation and system. You will receive the health care services with the same own risk payments and in accordance with the same procedures as the country’s citizens. Please note that the European Health Insurance Card does not entitle you to compensation for extraordinary transport from outside the Nordic region to Finland due to illness or injury. A proper travel insurance policy will cover such costs as well as additional fees and own risk payments related to health care. You should also check what else may be required in case of illness/injury in your country of destination. More information is available on the Kela website (Kela card –> European Health Insurance Card).

If you take specific medication regularly, take a sufficient supply with you and find out how to get more when necessary. Also remember to take any prescriptions you may need with you. When travelling abroad, it is a good idea to prepare with a small emergency supply of basic medication: for example pain medication, diarrhoea pills, possible motion sickness pills and adhesive bandages.

Ensure well in advance that your vaccinations are in order. It is also advisable to have your teeth checked before your exchange trip. Remember to book your appointment in good time as the YTHS dental clinic has long waiting lists!

Work permits and employment relationship matters (for interns)

In accordance with the principle of free labour mobility, EU citizens can work in another EU country without a work permit. Citizens of a Nordic country are entitled to live and/or work in another Nordic country without a work or residence permit. If you are planning an Erasmus internship in Turkey, you should resolve any work permit issues well in advance. Read more about work permits.

Where to find information on internships outside Europe?

The Eures service contains a wealth of information on employment relationships.

It is advisable to find out the regular working hours in your country of destination, how holidays are determined and what rights you have as an intern.

Documents related to exchange studies and internships

Remember to access NettiOpsu well before your exchange or internship period to fill in a grant agreement, i.e. information concerning your stay abroad and your banking information (for example Erasmus grant, FIRST or north2north).

When applying to your target university, you must prepare a preliminary study plan. Draw up the plan before leaving for your trip and negotiate in advance with the responsible teachers of your faculty and/or your own HOPS teacher about credit transfer arrangements regarding your studies abroad, and with your faculty’s head of study affairs about the incorporation of your exchange studies into your degree. A key principle of the Erasmus+ programme and bilateral or other exchange arrangements managed by the University of Tampere is that studies completed abroad are accepted in full towards degrees being completed at the University of Tampere.
When travelling abroad for Erasmus exchange, remember to fill in the Learning Agreement ,doc and ask your faculty’s mobility coordinator to sign it. After the exchange, the Learning Agreement must include the same courses as the official study register transcript received from the host university at the end of the exchange period. As a result, it may be necessary to make changes to the Learning Agreement at the beginning of your student exchange once you ultimately find out the courses you will be completing (Learning Agreement part II, doc). Always submit the amendment form (part II) with the original document (part I).

In the context of Erasmus exchange, remember to fill in the Training Agreement, doc, which is an agreement on your internship with the organisation and your internship coordinator.

The University of Tampere can provide you with a study register transcript in English with either number or letter grading. An official transcript can be requested from the University of Tampere Registrar’s Office. You can obtain a study register transcript (PDF) in English through NettiOpsu by changing the language to English from the side menu bar. More information on credit transfer for studies.

Insurance

Check your current insurance coverage with your insurance company. It is recommended to take out the appropriate insurance policies (including luggage insurance, travel insurance and legal expenses insurance) even if you are covered by local health insurance. The university does not insure outgoing exchange students. Also note that the coverage of movable property included in your home insurance is often applicable abroad. If you are travelling to Russia, find out which insurance companies’ travel insurance policies are accepted for visa applications.

The electronic grant agreement includes an appended University of Tampere liability form, the purpose of which is to clarify the personal obligations and responsibilities of students travelling abroad for student exchange or an internship through the University of Tampere.

Erasmus student exchange

The Erasmus grant does not include insurance coverage. The Erasmus student exchange requires health insurance as a mandatory insurance policy (at least a European Health Insurance Card granted by Kela, see Health and vaccinations). It is advisable to take out a private travel insurance policy for the duration of the student exchange or internship as the coverage of the European Health Insurance Card is insufficient in the context of patient repatriation and certain treatment cases. As a result, a supplementary health insurance policy may be necessary.

Erasmus internship

The Erasmus training agreement obliges the employer to insure the student for the duration of the internship period. This refers to liability insurance, which covers all damage caused to third parties during the work. If the employer does not take out liability insurance for its interns, please contact the Erasmus office. The liability insurance does not mean travel insurance, which is recommended to be taken out in all cases. You should also find out whether or not your travel insurance covers your movable property abroad.

The Erasmus student exchange scheme also requires health insurance as a mandatory insurance policy (at least a European Health Insurance Card granted by Kela, see Health and vaccinations). It is advisable to take out a private travel insurance policy for the duration of the internship as the coverage of the European Health Insurance Card is insufficient in the context of patient repatriation and certain treatment cases. As a result, a supplementary health insurance policy may be necessary.

 

The European Health Insurance Card ensures that you will receive the necessary care in all EU and EEC countries in the event of illness or injury. The card is free of charge. The form can be filled in and printed out on the Kela website. Holders of the European Health Insurance Card are entitled to receive medically necessary health care during their stay in another EU or EEC country and Switzerland. Each country will provide the health care in accordance with its own legislation and system. You will receive the health care services with the same own risk payments and in accordance with the same procedures as the country’s citizens. Please note that the European Health Insurance Card does not entitle you to compensation for extraordinary transport from outside the Nordic region to Finland due to illness or injury. A proper travel insurance policy will cover such costs as well as additional fees and own risk payments related to health care. You should also check what else may be required in case of illness/injury in your country of destination.

The University of Tampere has entered into an agreement with the If insurance company on accident insurance with regard to internships included in students’ degrees. This insurance policy covers any injuries of an intern during work or commute over the course of the internship period. If you get into an accident during your Erasmus internship, please contact the Erasmus coordinator immediately (erasmus(at)uta.fi).

Taxation (for interns)

Study the Finnish Tax Administration’s instructions on taxation on the Tax Administration’s website.

As a general rule, the pay of a person in the service of a foreign employer is taxed in the country of employment. However, a tax declaration on the pay must also be provided to Finland. If the income is taxed in Finland, the double taxation is removed. If, on the other hand, you work abroad for a Finnish employer and your stay abroad lasts no more than six months, your pay will be taxed as normal in Finland and the country of employment has no taxation right. In the case of a local internship, you must find out the taxation arrangements of your country of destination.

As regards Nordic countries, information is available through the service maintained by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Information on taxation in EU countries is provided on the Eures service.