Study Abroad Guide 2016
Business School | International Office
Content 4 Studying Abroad 7 Your Opportunity 9 7 Steps Process 10 Information & Support 14 Application Process 15 Further Procedure 17 FAQ
Are you looking for a challenge? Studying abroad will definitely be enriching and offers you a unique experience. Studying a semester abroad during your bachelor’s programme is a fantastic opportunity to develop new skills, in and out of university, and to meet new people from all around the world. There are many reasons and benefits to study abroad, such as: Getting to know yourself better
Develop intercultural competencies
Getting insights into a different learning environment
Experiencing another life style
Connecting with different people (networking)
Gaining points towards your Certificate of Global Competence
Improving your foreign language skills
Making your CV unique
If you are enrolled in one of the bachelor programmes (Business Administration or Business Information Systems) at the BFH Business School you can go almost anywhere – depending on your commitment, time and finances – to study either one or two semesters abroad. The aim of this guide is to support students who are interested in an exchange semester with the most important aspects of studying a semester abroad.
Keep in mind: start planning early. If you are a full-time student, start right at the beginning of your study programme, during your 1 st or 2nd semester, by collecting all relevant information. As a work-study / part-time student, you should start at the beginning of your 2nd or 3rd semester.
BFH students during their exchange semester at Universitat de Vic, Spain
The experience of studying a semester abroad gives you the opportunity to explore a new country, a new culture and a new way of living that will broaden your comprehension about foreign people as well as about your own people and culture. If you finally like it or not, it is up to you. But for sure it is an unforgettable, unbeatable and enriching experience that everyone should have! Carmen, Taiwan
Studying abroad for one whole year was definitely the right decision. It was an intense and challenging time but in the end an extremely life-enriching experience. It was simply the best time of my life. Thanks for providing such an amazing opportunity! Manuela, UK
Exploring a new culture... meeting lovely people… making new friends... travel through amazing landscapes... reckless culinary adventure... unconventional learning methods... discovering a new way of life… to sum up; an experience we will never forget! Anita, Jolanda and Melanie, China
Your Opportunity Destination
The BFH Business School has numerous partner universities all over the world. The nature of these contacts varies, not only in formal terms of the exchange contracts, but also in the area of co-operation, which can be related to student exchanges, teaching staff exchanges or joint projects. Places at our partner institutions are limited. An overview with links to our partner universities can be found on the SharePoint site and on our website business.bfh.ch
The library at LNU university in Sweden | The Campus of the Ewha Womans University in South Korea | Seoul, South Korea
The table below gives you an overview of the specific semesters when you can go on an exchange semester: Full-time programme in semester
Work-study / Part-time programme in semester
Bachelor Business Administration
Bachelor Business Information Systems
3, 4, 5
5, 6, 7
Important: Please keep in mind that semester dates from partner universities can differ from the dates of BFH and therefore not every partner university is suitable for both spring and autumn semesters. Information about the semester dates are available in the Overview of Partner Universities on SharePoint or at the partner university’s website directly.
Every student has the opportunity of studying either one or two semesters abroad, depending on the contract with each partner university.
You can study either at a university where a formal agreement between the BFH and the partner university is in place (“Exchange Student”) or at non-partner university (“Freemover Student”) The agreements may be bilateral agreements between the two univesities or they may be part of the Swiss European Mobility Programme SEMP.
7 Steps Process You are only seven steps away from a great experience: Before 1 Inform yourself (via SharePoint, website etc.) 2 Make an appointment with the International Office for a counselling interview 3 Apply online for your semester abroad (MoveOn link available on SharePoint) 4 Get selected and nominated by the International Office 5 Register at university abroad and plan your semester During 6 Acting as our ambassador of the BFH abroad After 7 Sharing your experience with interested students and the Business School
Information & Support
There is a lot of information material available, take a look at: SharePoint: You will find all the important information and documents about your semester abroad on our International Office SharePoint site: http://studium.wgs.bfh.ch/business/home/iOffice Documentation: You can download the Study Abroad Guide as well as the Overview of the Partner Universities from SharePoint. Brochures from Partner Universities: Please feel free to come and read through the brochures from our partner universities during our open office hours in the International Office. First-hand Experiences: We highly recommend reading the blogs and experience cards from our former outgoing students during their semester abroad. The links and documents are available on SharePoint. You can also get in contact with our incoming and outgoing students and ask questions you have regarding studying abroad. You will find their contact details on SharePoint.
The International Office organises one information event per semester and recommends that every student planning to go abroad attends this event. It offers you the opportunity to ask questions and get in contact with former outgoing students. Since organising a semester abroad takes some time, you should attend such an event at the beginning of your study programme in order to have enough time for research. Please read the SharePoint announcements for further information about the dates and times of the events.
Some important Questions
When starting to think of a semester abroad, you may consider the following questions: –– In which semester can I go abroad? ––What is the application deadline? ––Which requirements do I have to fulfill? ––What language would I like to improve and what language requirements do occur? ––What monthly budget am I likely to need during a semester abroad? ––What is my current job situation and when should I talk to my supervisor? ––Which countries and cultures would interest me?
BFH students during their exchange semester in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in London (Ontario), Canada and in Catalonia, Spain.
The International Office has open office hours during the semester: Monday – Friday from 11.30 – 13.00 During the counseling hours, please feel free to drop by, no appointment is needed. For more detailed and specific questions, students should make an appointment with the Outgoing Mobility Coordinator/Academic Advisor of the International Office Please note that one appointment with the Outgoing Mobility Coordinator/Academic Advisor of the International Office is mandatory before submitting your application for a semester abroad. International Office: room H101 Tel: +41 31 848 34 79 E-mail: [email protected]
Support from the International Office The International Office supports outgoing students in the following areas: ––Contracting study places abroad ––Informing students about options to study abroad ––Providing information and procedures in terms of planning a semester abroad ––Nominating students to our partner institutions ––Counselling students in academic issues such as module selection, repetition of modules etc. ––Supporting students during their planning time and during their time abroad with special issues ––Connecting former exchange students with interested students at the BFH
Internal application to the International Office.
Deadline for Online Application
For Autumn Semester: Week 2
––Proof of one counselling appointment with the International Office ––Studying on level 2 at the time you are abroad ––Necessary language skills required by the host university
For Spring Semester: Week 32
In case we have more applicants than places available, the following selection criteria will guide our decision making: ––Evidence of motivation to study abroad (preparation for counselling interview etc.) ––Academic performance ––Language skills, depending on the destination ––Extra-curricular engagement at BFH (e.g. International Family Metor Programme etc.)
One appointment with the International Office is mandatory before submitting your online application for a semester abroad.
Online Application on MoveOn
Every student has to submit the online application on MoveOn within the deadline. The link for MoveOn will be announced on SharePoint. The following documents must be uploaded (mandatory): ––Motivation Letter (1 A4-page, in English) –– Copy of the latest Transcript of Records
Further Procedure After having been accepted for a semester abroad, all relevant information will be available on the Moodle platform for outgoing students (you will receive the respective access link together with the allocation of your study place). Below we give you a short overview of the next steps.
After submitting the online application on MoveOn, the International Office will allocate the applicants to the available study places. The aim is to confirm students their first priority, however, sometimes there are more applicants than places available. The International Office would therefore have to make use of above listed selection criteria.
After submitting the signed commitment to the semester abroad, the International Office will nominate you at the partner university.
Application at Partner University
Based on the nomination, you will receive further information about the application at the partner university. Every student has to apply at the partner university independently and within the deadline.
Further, you will receive a link to enroll on the Moodle site for Outgoing Students (mandatory), where all information regarding your semester abroad is available.
Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea
Application for Transfer of ECTS Credits
Further, you are required to submit the “Application for Transfer of ECTS credits”, where you will have to list the modules from the host university which you would like to have credited at the BFH. The application will only be valid once the head of the degree programme has approved and signed it.
Before leaving Switzerland, all Outgoing Students will be invited for the mandatory Pre-Departure Briefing.
Transfer of ECTS Credits
After the termination of your exchange semester you will have to hand in your ToR from abroad to the International Office. It will then be compared with the “Application for Transfer of ECTS credits”. The credits achieved abroad and stipulated in the agreement will be acknowledged and stated in the BFH ToR. Deadlines: Autumn Semester: CW7 Spring Semester: CW37
Feedback Round & Study Abroad Fair
You will be invited to a mandatory Feedback Event and the Study Abroad Fair of the next semester (optional), in order to share your experiences with interested future outgoing students.
Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile
FAQ What is the difference if I study abroad as an “Exchange Student” or as a “Freemover”? The differences between these 2 options are:
EXCHANGE Studying at a partner university of BFH Business School
FREEMOVER Studying at a non-contracted university
Places to go
Overview of partner universities on SharePoint; Website BFH with lists and direct links to universities’ websites
Upon students’ choice; depends if the university accepts them as a Freemover and whether the BFH Business School accepts the modules students want to get credits transferred for. Note: Some of the Universities have a high level of requirements and / or charge high tuition fees.
Information and nomination by the International Office.
Students organise everything on their own. Only very limited support can be offered by the International Office. Important: Students have to apply internal at BFH Business School like all other students for a study place abroad.
Students pay the regular tuition of the BFH
Regular tuition fee of the BFH plus tuition fee and other fees of the foreign university have to be paid.
Grants / Scholarship
Application for grants from the Swiss European Mobility Prgramme SEMP can be handed in for an exchange in EU/EFTA countries. No scholarships for Non-EU / EFTA partners.
No scholarship paid by BFH
Transfer of credits
Our partner universities offer modules within the business area. Transfer of credits, if the required modules are on offer, can be guaranteed.
Depends on the university chosen, Credits can be transferred if the content of module is approved and if the university is accepted by the BFH.
How much does an exchange semester cost?
All outgoing students have to pay their regular tuition fee at the BFH. Additional costs during a semester abroad depend mainly on the destination and whether students study as exchange or freemover students. In most of the countries the cost of living is lower than in Switzerland. However, there are exceptions, e.g. Sweden or Paris. It’s very important to inform yourself about the cost of living, especially if you are considering studying at a non-partner university. Tuition fees can be several thousand Swiss Francs per semester, which have to be paid additionally to the BFH tuition fees. Some of the things you have to think about when calculating the costs are: ––Tuition fee ––Books/photocopies ––Travel/transportation ––Medical checks ––Visa ––Housing ––Insurance ––Living (Food, leisure…)
How can I apply for grants?
If you are studying at a university which is a member of the Swiss European Mobility Programme you are eligible for a monthly allowance. The amount you receive depends on the destination and averages between CHF 360–420 per month. The grant application and organisation is done by the International Relations Office (Central IO) at Falkenplatz and you will receive further information on what documents you have to submit in a separate e-mail. This will be around December for the spring semester and around July for the autumn semester. If you have specific questions about the grant payments, please contact the International Relations Office directly ([email protected]
Which questions should I answer before applying for a semester abroad? When deciding on a university, answer the following questions: a) Can I apply for the preferred semester (spring or autumn)? See overview of partner universities on SharePoint. b) Is there currently (or was there in the past) a student from the BFH studying at a university I am interested in? The International Office offers name cards with contact details of former outgoing students on SharePoint. Additionally we recommend consulting their experience cards and blogs, which are also available on SharePoint. c) In which city/part of the city is the university campus located? Some of the universities might have various campus locations. Consult their webpages for further information. d) Is there on-site accommodation available or is it the responsibility of the student to find accommodation? If there have been BFH students at that university, get in contact with them and ask for information. Most universities also publish this information on their website; please consult these for further information. e) What would it cost: ––Accommodation ––Living ––Travel ––Visa (if required) ––Health checkup (if required) – –… Check the cost of living of the respective country (e.g. www.expatistan.com) and think about the personal budget you might have for a semester abroad. Finally, decide on your three first priorities of universities abroad.
How can I contact former Outgoing Students?
You find their contact details on SharePoint. Get in touch with current or former outgoing students, it offers you a very good way of getting firsthand information.
How can I inspect my exams when I am studying abroad?
In case there is an inspection of your exams taking place while you are absent, you can look at your corrected exams by sending an e-mail to [email protected]
and ask the Administration Office to send you the respective exams (please state the exam required).
Students promoting the BFH during the Study abroad fair at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China
During my semester abroad, I would have to take a re-examination. Can I postpone this exam?
Yes. You will automatically be deregistered for failed level 1 modules which you would have to repeat at the time of your exchange semester. You will be contacted by the Administration Office regarding the new date of the repeat examination. If you have level 2 modules, which you want to repeat it is your responsibility to register.
Can I get ECTS-credits transferred for language courses?
Studying abroad offers a great opportunity to learn the language of your chosen country. Most of the universities offer language courses. In some cases, credits achieved from language courses can be transferred; but this needs to be approved in the “Application for Transfer of ECTS-credits” and depends on (amongst other things), language, level, number of ECTS.
What about the credit transfer for working hours (work-study students)?
If you are studying abroad for one semester but you can prove you have been working for 6 months between 1.9. and 31.8. for at least 20 hours per week, you will get the working hours (3 ECTS) acknowledged.
How will my credits achieved abroad be indicated in the BFH Transcript of Records ToR
The transcript of the BFH will not report the single modules from your semester abroad, but the whole amount of credits achieved and accepted according to the agreement. For later use, you will have two transcripts – the one from BFH and the other from your host university. Please note that your grades from your semester abroad will therefore not count into the average of the results achieved at the BFH.
What do I do if I fail an assessment / exam at the university abroad?
Failing an exam at the university abroad can happen, and it is up to you to check the options available to you for re-examination. It might be a possibility to repeat the failed exam at the BFH if both universities agree. Additionally, a failed exam will have an effect on your module agreement, therefore please contact the International Office immediately.
What does the BFH expect from me in terms of representing the BFH abroad?
During your semester abroad you will act as an ambassador for the BFH and you will represent not only our university but also our country. You can help raise awareness of BFH at our partner university and we expect you to be talking about our country and the opportunities to study with us!
What tasks do all outgoing students have to complete?
––Counseling interview with the International Office ––Online application for an exchange semester (MoveOn) ––Application at partner university ––Application for Transfer of ECTS credits ––Submission of Name Card ––Participation at the pre-departure briefing at BFH Business School ––Acting as an ambassador abroad and promoting the BFH abroad ––Submission of Experience Card ––Participation at the feedback round at BFH after your return
Victoria Park in London (ON), Canada.
Bern University of Applied Sciences Business School International Office Brückenstrasse 73 CH – 3005 Bern
Telephone +41 31 848 34 79 Fax +41 31 848 34 01 [email protected]