Study abroad

Your exchange

Once your exchange has been confirmed, you will have to start getting ready to go. The host university will be your main point of contact concerning the various steps you need to take.

What to think about

  • How to get there and when to go.
  • Your budget: see the types of grants available
  • Where you'll stay: most host universities have an accommodation office to help you find somewhere to stay (check the host university's website). Your host university will send more information about this along with the confirmation of registration.
  • Visa or permit requirements.
  • Insurance: You must have repatriation insurance. We also recommend that you take out accident insurance and personal liability insurance. If you're going somewhere in Europe, you must have a European health insurance card from your health insurance provider.
  • What to take with you for a long stay.
  • Your language skills – you might need to brush up before you go.

To help you prepare

  • Check the documents available from the Academic Exchange Office:
    • Student reports from previous years
    • Documents from partner universities.
  • Check the host city and host university websites.
  • Contact your host university if you have any questions about local administrative requirements.
  • Check the eligibility criteria to see if you can apply for an additional grant.
  • Set up a tandem to improve your language skills.
  • If you're going to a high-risk region, make sure you are aware of UNIGE's policy on high-risk regions.


Get your final learning agreement approved

The learning agreement you completed for your application is usually based on the previous year's courses and is therefore provisional.

Once you're there, you should:

  1. complete your final learning agreement based on your host university's course program
  2. submit the agreement to your academic advisor for them to check and approve
  3. send the approved document to the Academic Exchange Office.

Please note that your final learning agreement may still change depending on whether the courses you've selected are available to exchange students.


Let your host university know you've arrived

Welcome meetings are usually held before the start of the semester. It's always good to attend these meetings.

We also recommend that you visit the international relations office at your host university to ensure that your registration is in order. You could introduce yourself to the host department's exchange coordinator, for instance.

SEMP exchange students should also get the host university to sign their certificate of attendance and their learning agreement (NB: this document is different every year).


Leaving early or staying longer

If you have a good reason, you might be able to shorten or lengthen your exchange.

> Extending your stay

If you'd like to extend your exchange, please contact the international relations office at your host university to find out whether you can stay for an extra semester.

If you can, you will have to submit a request to the UNIGE Academic Exchange Office and contact your academic advisor to complete a full-year learning agreement.

Your learning agreement will then have to be approved by your academic advisors both in Geneva and at your host university.

The additional SEMP grant for your extended exchange will be paid once you've submitted your learning agreement. If you're entitled to a Swiss exchange grant, you'll receive another one for the second semester.


> Shortening your stay

If you have to shorten your exchange, you must inform the Academic Exchange Office at UNIGE and the international relations office at your host university.

SEMP students must get their certificate of attendance signed by the host university's international relations office, as this document counts as the official record of the length of your stay and is used to determine how much of the grant you'll have to pay back.


> Canceling your exchange

If you have to cancel your exchange, you must immediately inform the academic advisor of your Faculty/Centre, the person in charge of your file as well as Daniela Sauge of the Academic Exchange Office of the University of Geneva. Please note that regardless of when you cancel your stay, the exchange place is lost for that year.


Academic side: getting your credits recognized

When you get back, you must make sure that the grades you obtained while on exchange are submitted to your faculty at UNIGE within the the given time.

You should have checked with your host university at the beginning of your stay to find out how the results are to be sent. There are three possible scenarios:

  • Sent directly to your faculty
  • Sent to you or made available on the host institution's student portal.
  • Sent to our department. In this case, the results will be sent by email to you and your faculty.

Required documents for the Academic Exchange Office

If you are in receipt of SEMP Scholarship, don’t forget to take the steps indicated in the email you received:

  • Certificate of attendance
  • Round-trip proof of eco-responsible travel, if applicable
  • Exchange report

Share your experience with future Outgoing students

Don't hesitate to share your experience through :

  • Report on your stay, photos, video if applicable, to be sent to us by e-mail in accordance with the instructions you have received.
  • Testimonials as part of the speed exchange sessions at the beginning of October during our International Week
  • Responding to requests from future OUTs who pass through our department.