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Student exchange programs

Frequently asked questions about student exchange.

  1. Where can I go?
  2. Which subjects can I take on exchange?
  3. When is the application deadline?
  4. What is "academic pre-approval" and how do I get this?
  5. Which expenses must I expect when going on exchange?
  6. Do I receive financial support for going on exchange?
  7. How do I find accommodation when on exchange?
  8. How do I apply for a visa?
  9. Which vaccinations must I have?
  10. Can I travel on exchange to institutions that HiB does not have an agreement with?

1. Where can I go?

Bergen University College (HiB) has student exchange agreements with a number of different institutions all over the world. Where you may go depends on what you are studying and which agreements your programme of study has. To find the institutions your programme of study has exchange agreements with, see the exchange programmes at the bottom of the main exchange page in Norwegian.

2. Which subjects can I take on exchange?

When travelling on exchange, the intention is that the courses you take at the hosting institution replace the courses you would have taken at HiB in the semester you are on exchange. An important part of the application process is that you demonstrate that you are capable of finding relevant subjects at the institution you want to go on exchange to. Visit the website of the institution you want to apply for, and find the programme descriptions for your subject area. The application form (in Norwegian) must include the subjects you would have taken at HiB in the right hand column, and the subjects you want to take at the hosting institution in the left hand column.

If you are taking a health-related course and want to take a supervised professional training period abroad, it is sufficient that you note “supervised professional training” in both columns. If you are having difficulty finding relevant subjects or have other questions related to the academic arrangement, you must contact your academic contact (link in Norwegian) and request guidance.

3.When is the application deadline?

Answer: Because there are many things to attend to in the time before exchange, the deadline has been set at 15 May for the subsequent spring semester and 15 November for the subsequent autumn semester. In other words, the deadline is almost one year before you may go on exchange. Note that if you are studying nursing, there is only one application deadline: 15 November for the entire subsequent year of study.

4. What is 'academic pre-approval' and how do I get this?

Answer: When applying for exchange at the deadlines of 15 May/15 November, you are actually applying for  academic pre-approval (link in Norwegian). Your application is received and registered by the International Office and forwarded to the department. Academic pre-approval is given by the head of department/programme supervisor and academic contact (link in Norwegian) and shows which institution you have been given approval to go to, which subjects that are approved for you and which semester you will travel on exchange.

The pre-approval is also a guarantee from Bergen University College that you have been approved for exchange. If any problems should arise with regard to admission to the host institution, etc., this approval will mean that we will assist you in finding alternative solutions/host institutions. Students who for various reasons fail to obtain academic pre-approval may not go on exchange.

5. Which expenses must I expect when going on exchange?

Answer: The are differences in exchange agreements that lead to different expense options. See the information page for the institution you are interested in to find out what applies where you want to go.

In short, there are three different agreements: Erasmus (link in Norwegian), Exchange and Study Abroad. Erasmus and Exchange are basic exchange agreements where students from HiB are not required to pay school fees to study for a semester. Study Abroad are agreements where students from HiB must pay school fees to study. School fees vary, and you must check with the individual institution to find out what applies. You must also take into account travel expenses, vaccinations, visa fees and so on. The State educational loan fund provides support for school fees and travel expenses (see item 6.).

6. Do I receive financial support for going on exchange?

Answer: Everyone who qualifies for study loans through State educational loan fund also receive these when going on exchange. In addition to the basic amount, you will also receive travel support (70% grant, 30% loan) and support for payment of school fees if this is required (shared between grant and loan). 

Travel support is based on State educational loan fund's rates for the various continents.

Students who go on exchange in Europe can in most cases receive support from  Erasmus (link in Norwegian). In this case this is a grant that comes in addition to the basic support and travel support from the State educational loan fund, and you will be provided with more information on this if you apply for exchange to an Erasmus partner.

Rates for school fee support
Rates for travel support (in Norwegian).

7. How do I find accommodation when on exchange?

Answer: All students who go on exchange are themselves responsible for finding accommodation during their stay. Most institutions we have agreements with either have lodging the students can rent on campus, or useful information for students who wish to find private accommodation.

There are major variations from place to place with regard to which extent the students use the accommodation services our various partners offer. If several students are travelling together, it can often be better to find private accommodation, as student lodging is not always competitive in terms of price. Remember nonetheless that the “international experience” can be far more interesting when sharing lodgings on campus or in student homes with students from all over the world.

8. How do I apply for a visa?

Answer: One generally applies for a visa once the final letter of admission has been received from the host institution. You cannot apply earlier, as you must prove that you are a student at a university in the host country to obtain a student visa. For this reason the visa application is often one of the last things one does in the semester before leaving, as it may often take some time to receive the letter of admission.

Students going on exchange to the U.S.A must book a visa interview at the embassy in Oslo. At this interview you must present documentation from the State educational loan fund and the host institution, as well as your passport and payment for the visa.

Otherwise there are different procedures for applying for visas to the various countries. If you are offered exchange, you will receive further information on the process as it applies for the country you will be going to.

9. Which vaccinations must I have?

Answer: In general, everyone should be vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus and polio (10 year immunity). Tanzanian authorities now require vaccination against yellow fever upon entry to the country. In addition, students travelling to Africa are recommended to have vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid fever and Meningitis A+C+W+Y. It may also be beneficial to take vaccinations for stomach infections.

If you are travelling to an area with Malaria, it is very important that you take malaria tablets for the entire duration. Remember that you can become infected even though you take preventive medication. Take care to cover arms and legs in the evening.

Recommendations and requirements may change without HiB being aware of this and it is therefore important that you consult a vaccination centre, the centre for disease control (link in Norwegian) or the Norwegian Institute of Public Health with regard to what applies for the area you are travelling to.

10. Can I travel on exchange to institutions that HiB does not have an agreement with?

Answer: Students are initially not recommended to go on exchange to institutions with which HiB has not entered into a formal exchange agreement. In such cases HiB has not had the opportunity to verify the academic and administrative arrangement and it is difficult to predict what the student will encounter.

If a student nonetheless wishes to attend such an institution, the student may apply to go as a so-called Freemover. The student must submit an application describing in detail the host institution and academic programme the student wishes to take, such that the head of department/programme supervisor and academic contact (link in Norwegian) can decide whether the student may go or not.