Checklist: preparations before leaving
Have you made your choice and have you been selected? Great! Now you can start your preparations.
Planning to go on exchange? How are you going to finance your studies and living costs?
Don’t get us wrong: we think it’s great that you’re considering to go abroad!
Thinking about your finances however, should happen before you apply. You don’t want to run into surprises like not being able to continue studying because you ran out of money. So plan ahead!
Visit the finances webpage for the information you need, when thinking about financing your travels.
If you are a national of a European country, you might not need a visa or work permit for EU/EEA countries.
For students coming from other parts of the world, most countries require you to arrange your visa or work permit before leaving. You must arrange your own visa. Bear in mind that this is a time-consuming process. Please inquire at the embassy or the consulate of the host country concerning the formalities with which you will need to comply.
We advise international students to also contact the embassy or the consulate of their home country. If you are going to the United States for study or practical training, you must get a special visa.
More information is available on the American consulate’s website.
Remember that, if you are planning to leave your host country, you might have to obtain other travel documents for the new countries you are visiting. You may not be able to get these in your host country so, if you are planning to travel outside your host country, contact the appropriate consular representatives well ahead of time. In addition, remember that if you leave your host country, you may need a multiple-entry visa to get back in.
Interns and volunteers
Interns or volunteers sometimes need work permits, which is something your employer or organisation will have to arrange.
Usually the host university will provide you with guidelines regarding visa information.
Looking for accommodation abroad
If you are going abroad on an exchange programme, the partner university often arranges housing. Your faculty coordinator can tell you more about this. If no accommodation can be arranged for you, you should report your arrival date to the international office of the host university and/or your contact there as soon as possible. If the host university cannot assist you, you could talk to students who previously studied in the same place or refer to your faculty’s website and read reports from students who have been abroad before. You could also refer to the following websites:
Finally, if you have the opportunity, try to visit the area yourself before classes start.
Arranging accommodation for the first night
In some cases, your accommodation might not be available upon your arrival; for example the rental period might start on the first of the month. Ensure you have a place to spend your first night or two and that you know how to get there.
Subletting your accommodation in the Netherlands
Ask your accommodation provider whether you're allowed to sublet your room.
To ensure that your period of studying abroad is successful, it is essential that you understand the language that is spoken during the lectures and tutorials and that you are able to communicate. Your faculty’s international office or the partner university will tell you which criteria you have to meet or which language assessment test you have to take to check your level of the required language.
Many host universities require foreign students to take and pass an accredited international language test as part of the admission process. For the English language there are the following tests:
- TOEFL (American English);
- ITP-TOEFL (check with your faculty whether this test is accepted);
- IELTS (British English);
- Cambridge exams and certificates (British English).
For students going to Spanish-speaking countries outside Europe, a certificate of proficiency in Spanish from the Language & Training Centre may be needed. Please contact your faculty's international office for more information.
The Language & Training Centre (LTC) offers language courses in Chinese, Dutch, English, Italian and Spanish. All courses are classified according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The entry and exit levels are clearly indicated to show you which level is required at the start of the course and which level you will have reached by the time you have successfully completed the course. For more information about languages courses, intakes, study skills and other services, please refer to: www.eur.nl/ltc.
Below you can find an overview of other institutes that offer language courses:
If you are going abroad for a study or an internship, make sure you are properly insured. Requirements differ from country to country, but it is recommended you consider supplementary insurance, special statements from your insurance company and third-party liability insurance. You can take out good supplementary insurance through IPS or AON. IPS is the so-called Insurance Passport for Students. These forms of insurance are valid internationally, apart from the country of origin.
In some countries you are even required to take out a new insurance policy locally. If you are going to study at a university in the United States or Australia, it is often compulsory for you to join their “Health Insurance Plan”.
For more information about insurances, refer to:
Are you leaving for a period longer than 8 months during one year? Then you have to deregister from the Personal Records Database of the municipality you are living. Students registered in Rotterdam find more information on www.rotterdam.nl/deregistration. Do not forget to register again at the moment you return.
Before your departure, check with the GGD/Municipal Health Service (in Dutch), the vaccination clinic of Erasmus MC,, LCR or the Travel Clinic whether you require any specific vaccinations for your travel destination and what you need to know and do to stay healthy in your host country. More information can be found on: www.ggdrotterdamrijnmond.nl (in Dutch) or www.lcr.nl. If you are planning to go to an extremely warm country, it is wise to read some background information about dealing with extreme heat.
It is advisable to appoint a representative while you are abroad. This could be one of your parents or another family member. A representative can check whether the person to whom you sublet your room is paying the rent or whether there are any problems. The representative can also be your contact in respect of the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO), your faculty’s international office, the bank and other organisations. You should arrange this before leaving to avoid any unnecessary problems.
In addition to having a representative, it is recommended to stay in touch with your faculty, family and friends at home. Do not let them worry unnecessarily about you while you are abroad.
Some of the laws in your host country may differ from those you are used to at home. You can familiarise yourself with your host country’s laws and regulations on: www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations.php.
Before travelling to your host country, you should check whether, and for how long, your driving licence is valid in that country. It is possible you may require an international driving licence. Dutch students should refer to: www.anwb.nl. International students should contact their own embassy for more information.
Prior to departure, it is important to go through the 'Safety & Security travel abroad checklist'.
Additional we want every student going abroad to register in Osiris student. Choose 'Stay abroad' > 'Shortlist ICE stay abroad'.
It is also recommended to check if it is safe to travel to your destination on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
In order to avoid a culture shock or to ensure you do not offend any local customs, you may want to consider doing some background reading on your host country before your departure. You could read this country comparison by Hofstede.