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:
- complete your final learning agreement based on your host university's course program
- submit the agreement to your academic advisor for them to check and approve
- 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.
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.
For world destinations, grade transcripts are usually sent straight to the Academic Exchange Office. You will be informed by email once they have been received so that you can come and pick them up and take them to your academic advisor in your faculty.
For European and Swiss destinations, please check with the host university to see how your grades will be sent.
SEMP – required documents
Once you have returned from an SEMP exchange, you must send the following 2 documents to the Academic Exchange Office.
- Certificate of attendance
- Exchange report