Last month I have finished my regular master program at Tilburg University, however, the study life has not yet come to an end. On the 22th of August a new challenge starts, an graduate exchange at the Sungkyunkwan University (Seoul). Going on exchange is a rare thing to do after your master, nonetheless, I have spoken with several students who were interested in this matter. Therefore, this article explains how you could arrange an exchange after graduating.
To start with, why should go on exchange at all? There various reasons why you should go:
- an exchange is a once in a life time experience;
- an exchange represents a great plus on your resume;
- an exchange grants you the possibility to enlarge your knowledge about specific subjects;
- an exchange enables you to dive in a new culture;
- an exchange allows you to meet many new people and broaden your network;
Hopefully you can confirm these advantages if you have been on exchange or maybe you are regretting the fact that you have not been on exchange yet. I am part of the last group, I started as a HBO student at The Hague University, where it was uncommon to go on exchange. In contrast, at Tilburg University an exchange is more common. Therefore, I decided to expend my study program and go on exchange after my master, but how is this possible?
Arranging your exchange after your master: An exchange after a master raises questions marks, but it is definitely possible. According to the dean – Mr. Niesten an exchange program is valid if you:
- do not register for the graduation ceremony;
- reregister for the next study year (if you started in September, otherwise it is probably not necessary);
- follow graduate courses worth 30 ECTS or lower if the exchange University has a maximum;
- complete at least one course abroad;
- after finishing your exchange, request your de diploma.
By following these steps you will be able to go on exchange after your master, while paying your first master rate. However, there are some matters to take into account. First, if you fail to complete one course you have to pay the second master rate (financial stimulation). If you request and receive your diploma before you go on exchange, you will formally leave Tilburg University, which makes an exchange impossible.
In short, it is not so hard to arrange an exchange program after your master, however, be aware of the requirements. It would be a waste of time and money if you accidently make a mistake during the process.
So what next? Obviously, it is impossible to plan an exchange for the fall of 2017. Thus, you should aim on the spring of 2018. In the text below, I have shortly explained how to prepare for the exchange selection process.
First of all, you have to decide where you want to go. Some factors to take into account are: language, cost of living, job opportunities, university ranking and availability.
- Language for some destinations a specific level of language skills is mandatory (e.g. Brazil).
- Cost of living there is a huge difference between living in Hungary and Australia, keep this in mind while calculating your budget.
- Job opportunities some countries provide many opportunities for exchange students or are relative more interesting for future jobs.
- University ranking this might be of interest for your resume and future academic career.
- Availability some countries are more popular than others (Kazakhstan VS New Zealand), take this into account when picking universities.
An overview of the available destinations can be found at this webpage: https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/students/studying/lectures/abroad/international-exchange/destinations/economics-and-management/
Based on these factors you have to select three universities ranked by preference. The next step is to prove why you are the right person to represent Tilburg at that specific university. This argumentation should for example encompass the following topics: country/culture, university ranking and course selection. All details can be found by clicking on the following URL: https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/students/studying/lectures/abroad/international-exchange/exchange/application/
The next and last deadline for the subscription of the spring semester 2018 is on Friday the first of September 2017. Bear in mind that it requires some time to prepare a well motivation letter and university selection. If you have questions regarding the motivation letter I could send you my letter as an example (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All together, the process is rather simple and going on exchange is far from impossible. So stop doubting and take this opportunity, because you do not want to miss this once in a life time experience. I wish you the best of luck and if you have any questions you can send me an e-mail.