Internationality and Exchange Abroad

You will not regret your decision to go international!

The best time for going on exchange abroad is during the second or third study year. A general principle is that the student should have first year studies completed. This is because when the basic knowledge of field of study has been studied, the student will benefit more from the exchange. As an exchange student a part of the studies will be completed abroad and with good planning of studies it should not prolong the study time in VAMK. The exchange format can be either studies or practical training.

The International Office also arranges Exchange Abroad- info sessions in January/February and September/October, where students can obtain information about the latest exchange possibilities abroad.

Why should I go abroad?

Is a very common question in students’ minds when considering exchange abroad. There are so many good reasons for “why”, so the question should instead be “why not?”. Some of the reasons may be that language skills will improve, the student will gain international experience or that one will be able to get more options to finalize specialized studies. Experiences from abroad will also be helpful for the future career; international experience and knowledge of a foreign language are highly valued by employers today. Exchange abroad will give a competitive edge for job assignments in the future. When going abroad, one will also find new friends and learn more about different cultures and oneself.

During the mobility period, you will make new friends and learn more about foreign cultures and customs, but you will also learn to know and look at yourself and your own culture in a new light.

You can apply for student exchange if:
  • You are enrolled at VAMK
  • You have successfully completed at least one year of studies prior to the exchange period, at least 55 credits/year
  • The studies/training undertaken during the exchange are accepted as part of the degree, student needs to have acceptance and reference from his/her department
  • To be able to receive grant from VAMK, exchange period or practical training needs to be done during normal study time (3.5 or 4 years in full-time education).
Double degree studies
  • The length of student exchange is one semester. Double degree studies in Business (Cracow, Mannheim, Heilbronn or Kiel) last one academic year (60 credits).
  • The target group of the double degreen is primarily International Business students, secondarily International Trade students.
The duration of the exchange studies is one semester

Student shall plan the exchange period so that it she/he will graduate on time. This means that the scope of exchange studies is 30 credits/semester. Take some time to find information and do the preparations for your exchange. The exchange experience is certainly worth it. When a student first decides to complete a part of their studies abroad, one of the most important and crucial steps has already been taken; the decision to go international!

Please fill in the Application Forms electronically.

  1. Students Application Form for Nomination (only for study abroad)
  2. Learning Agreement For Erasmus studies in Europe: Learning agreement (Subject Area Codes) or For Erasmus traineeship in Europe: Learning agreement for traineeship
  3. Transcript of records in English (from PAKKI/Atomi) (only for study abroad)

Additional documents which may be needed:

When you have been accepted by the receiving institution it is time to apply for grant,
please check the instructions from Financial Issues.

Application Process

The main application period for student exchange is at the end of February each year (last Friday before the Independent Study Week). After the February application round, the available places for the following spring can be applied for continuously until the 15th of September. Please note that some partner Universities have their application deadline early and thus you need to submit your nomination documents to VAMK international office well on time.

It is important that you get familiar with the application process before you apply, so you know what to expect and when. Please remember to follow the deadlines for applying so there will be no surprises and both institutions, and also you, will have enough time to arrange your exchange abroad.

We aim to send abroad all students who meet the requirements and whose learning agreement has been signed by their Study Counsellor. However, as the number of places for certain partner university may be limited, some selection may need to be done. In that case we will compare: 1. the study year 2. number of credits completed 3. grades 4. motivation. This applies the application round in February. After that the applications are handled first come-first served basis.

Applying Step 1

Consider your timing and goals as well as your country of interest. Check the academic calendar of receiving institution.

The lenght of the exchange period depends on the semester of receiving institution. VAMK does not pay grant if the length of the exchange is less than 3 months.

Applying Step 2

Discuss your exchange plans with your Group Leader / Head of Degree Programme / Study Counsellor and the International Coordinator or in the case of practical training with the training advisor of your department.

Applying Step 3

Discuss with the Study counsellor and work out a study plan and fill in the Learning Agreement.

Training agreement needs to get approval from the teacher who is responsible for practical training in the department. They may also have good ideas or recommendations for the exchange destination. Familiarize yourself with the study guide of the host institution, agree on the preliminary study plan, timing and courses to be completed. When you return to VAMK, the Learning Agreement helps the accreditation process of courses completed abroad.

Applying Step 4

Submit the Application for nomination.

Fill in and submit the Application for nomination form including all required appendices to the International Coordinator. Students accepted by VAMK will be nominated to the host institution by the International Coordinator. Host Institution will contact you how and where to fill in their application and which appendices are needed. The host institution will make the final decision. Please note that this may take some time.

Studies and Credits

Studies and practical trainings abroad will be considered a part of your degree at VAMK. Studies completed abroad can either compensate some of the compulsory studies/trainings or they can be credited to the optional studies. Please note anyhow that the scope of Optional Studies is only 10 credits. Learning the language and culture of the specific country are also important objectives.

Language Certificate

One of VAMK’s language teacher’s will evaluate the language skills of the student applying for exchange if needed. On the basis of the interview the teacher gives a language certificate to be included in the application.
In some cases an official language test is required (e.g. for exchange in the USA) to prove the level of knowledge of a specific language and to make sure that the student is able to undertake their studies.The language tests that are most common when applying to foreign higher education institutes are:

  • English language: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (The International English Language Testing System), CAE (Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English), CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • German language: ZdaF (Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache), KDS (Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom)
  • French language: DELF 1 and 2 (Diplome Elemetaire de Langue Francaise), DALF (Diplome Approfondi de Langue Francaise)

Language preparation is of course always advisable. In some countries and host institutions, intensive language courses are arranged before starting studies or during the semester.