Outgoing Exchange Students

**Important Update on COVID-19**

7 October 2020 - Latest - The COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly impact the health and economies of communities around the globe. Currently, many countries are experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, and travel restrictions of various forms are still in place worldwide. After much deliberation and out of consideration for the health and safety of the NUS community, NUS President has made the difficult decision of a partial suspension of the Student Exchange Programme (SEP) for AY2020/21 Semester 2. Additional information is available at this webpage.


The opportunity to live and study in another country while earning credit towards your NUS degree is an amazing and exciting one. Priority for the Student Exchange Programme (SEP) will be given to NUS students who have not been on any overseas programme, and who show that they can be good ambassadors for NUS.

How does SEP work?

SEP works on a reciprocal basis. Bilateral agreements are signed between NUS and its partner universities to support the exchange of students every year. The objective of the Student Exchange Agreements is to achieve a balance in the exchange numbers during the effective term of the agreement.


Outgoing exchangers have to be nominated by NUS to study at an NUS’ partner university. Students have to remain both enrolled at NUS and at their host university for the full duration of their exchange. NUS students continue to pay tuition fees to NUS while the tuition fees at the host university is waived.

Why go on SEP?

The experiences you acquire during your overseas studies will be valuable to your future employers and you will develop other life skills which makes SEP all the more rewarding.

Experience an adventure

Here is your chance to trek through the Grand Canyon, look out from the top of the Eiffel Tower, or set foot on the Taj Mahal. You will make memories that last a lifetime as you see new places and experience cultures you might have only read about.

Spark your curiosity

Get a fresh perspective on the subjects you study. Learn an American's perspective on world politics or a German's insights into molecular biology. SEP provides the opportunity for you to study with students from top universities around the world.

Develop valuable language skills

There is no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in it every day. Learn how people on the streets use the language and get to know phrases and expressions from beyond the classroom.

Strengthen your resume

SEP gives you the skills your future employers desire such as versatility, maturity, confidence, independence, and the ability to work with people of different cultures.

Create a new and improved you

Make lifelong friends, experience a new culture and get out of the same old routine. SEP is what you should embark on, and many make it the time of their lives.

NUS Student Experiences on SEP

Excited to learn about the SEP experiences from the returning exchangers? Here's your chance. Read their accounts of life abroad and be inspired by their overseas experience!

Additional Information:


Before Exchange


A decision to go on SEP requires careful research and planning and should not be taken lightly. Before you decide to apply for SEP, there are some important areas of considerations:


Step 1: Check Eligibility

For NUS undergraduate students, the minimum criteria to be eligible for the NUS Student Exchange Programme (SEP) application are:


  • be enrolled at the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a full-time student;
  • have completed at least two semesters of study before embarking on the exchange programme;
  • have a sound academic record, i.e. minimum CAP of 3.0, and should not have any grade below grade ‘C’ (grade point of 2.0) in any module;
  • have sufficient financial means to cover the necessary expenses for the duration of the SEP;
  • obtain the Faculty’s approval for the SEP;
  • satisfy partner institution and host country entry requirements;
  • check with the issuer of any scholarship he or she is receiving to ensure there are no restrictions involving overseas study (e.g. Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Education); and
  • have a clean disciplinary record and be a strong ambassador for NUS and Singapore.

These are the minimum requirements and as each faculty does its own selection for SEP there may be additional requirements. Students should check with their home faculty for full SEP eligibility requirements.


The following categories of students are not eligible for overseas SEP:


  • students in their final semester of their degree; or
  • students scheduled for final year projects, internships or industrial attachments.

Should I go on SEP?


SEP is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a different academic environment and to see the world. It also offers opportunity for personal and professional growth. However, SEP is not for everyone. Students should consider their personality, maturity and adaptability. To participate in SEP, one must desire to interact and learn from foreign cultures, be flexible and take things in your stride when the going gets tough. Students on SEP must fulfil the role of an ambassador of NUS and Singapore.

Step 2: Select host universities / host destinations

NUS has existing SEP partnerships with top universities globally. The complete list of SEP partner universities is available in GRO Essential Guide to International Programmes. University-wide exchange partner universities are typically open to accepting students from more than one NUS Faculty/School; Faculty-level partner universities are open to accepting NUS students of specific Faculty/School.


Students can consult their home faculty/School for partner universities relevant to their NUS study programmes. When choosing SEP host university/host country, student should consider the cost of living at the host country or city and the course offering at the partner university.

Step 3: Preliminary Study Plan

SEP is designed so that NUS students can go on exchange for a semester or two and take courses for credit that transfers back to his/her NUS degree programme. The courses that students read while on SEP is a decision jointly made by the student and Faculty SEP Coordinator through “mapping” modules at the partner university to similar modules at NUS for credit transfer.


Most universities have their course catalogue online, or even a special list of courses available only for incoming exchange students. Use these lists to identify courses suitable to fulfil your NUS course requirements, paying special attention to any restrictions, credit limits and course prerequisites. Students are strongly recommended to save up free electives for his/her SEP semester to allow flexibility in their course selection at the partner university.


Students should work closely with his/her Faculty/Department SEP Coordinators when determining which courses to take while on SEP to ensure sufficient credits can be transferred back to NUS after the exchange semester. All questions about module mapping and credit transfer should be directed to the Faculty/Department SEP Coordinators.


When thinking about going on SEP, students should consider the following questions:


  • Will my degree programme allow me to go on SEP? (Some more intensive programmes do not)
  • Do I have enough credits earned to allow me to be flexible with the courses I take on SEP?
  • If I do not get a certain course at the partner university, will I still be able to go on SEP?
  • Are the courses I want to take offered at the university I want to go on SEP to? Is SEP at that university open to my faculty?
  • If I am learning in a foreign language will that affect my quality of learning?
  • Do the courses I want to take map back to NUS courses?
  • How many credits are the courses I want to take? How does my faculty transfer credit?
  • Does the university I want to attend have a maximum number of credits per semester? Will this affect my mapping?

Step 4: Initial Budget Plan

Students only need to pay the normal NUS tuition fees during their SEP overseas. They are not required to pay any tuition fees at the partner university.


However, you are responsible for the other costs involved with going on SEP, including but not limited to:


  • Round-trip airfare
  • Visa fees
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Daily transport
  • Books
  • Miscellaneous student fees at the partner university
  • Insurance (in some countries it is required to purchase the insurance of the host country)
  • Miscellaneous expenses such as travel, clothes, entertainment

Students must be responsible to ensure that they have the financial means to support their living cost during their SEP overseas and some countries require proof of adequate finances upon entry. The cost of living varies from country to country and among different cities in the same country. Students should research the SEP destination’s cost of living beginning with the estimate guide on the Where can I go? section of the site and then make realistic and sensible choices of partner universities they can afford to go to.


Students should also explore financial aid options offered by NUS and other local organisations to assist in covering the cost of their SEP. Please see the Financial aid section for more information on awards and scholarships and loans for SEP.

Step 5: Language Requirements

The SEP gives students the opportunity to study in an English-medium or foreign language university. If you intend to study in a university whose language of instruction is not English, we recommend you have a strong background in the language before going on SEP. Some partner universities may have a minimum language requirement to attend and students should be aware of this and prepare accordingly. Other partner universities may teach in English but have a different local language and we recommend students still study the language before going on SEP in order to integrate into daily life in the new country, as knowing some local phrases can greatly improve one’s experience in foreign countries.


Language courses are available through the NUS Center for Language Studies and through organisations like Alliance Francaise or the Italian Cultural Institute in Singapore. If you are thinking about SEP to China, there are two modules offered by CLS and the Department of Chinese Studies, one in science and technology (LAC3203) and the other in business and industry (CH2271) that are tailored to enhance your Chinese proficiency.


Freshmen without prior knowledge of French, German or Korean and would like to go on SEP to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Korea or Switzerland are strongly encouraged to apply for the Language Preparation Program (LPP).

Step 6: SEP Application

Students who have :


  • confirmed he/she is eligible to apply for SEP;
  • researched and found suitable courses to read from at his/her top five SEP partner university choices; and
  • adequate funds to cover the cost of SEP

are ready to begin the SEP application procedure.


NUS students apply for SEP through the Education Records System (EduRec) , under Global Education - External Study Application.


Each faculty has different application periods for its students to apply through the system. In general, the application system is open from September to June for SEP application in the following academic year, either in Semester 1, Semester 2 or for Full Year exchange. Students should consult the SEP Administrators at home faculty for the applicable application periods and take note that late applications will not be accepted.


The SEP application periods for AY2021/22 are indicated in the table below.

Faculty Round *Application Period
BIZ 1 Mid October to Mid November 2020
BIZ 2 Early May to Early June 2021
FASS 1 End August to Early September 2020
FASS 2 Mid February to Early March 2021
FoE 1 Early October to End October 2020
FoE 2 Mid February to Mid March 2021
FoE 3 Early April to End April 2021
FoS 1 End August to Early September 2020
FoS 2 Mid January to Mid February 2021
LAW 1 23 October to 7 December 2020
SDE 1 24 August to 10 September 2020
SDE 2 14 December 2020 to 1 January 2021
SoC / CEG 1 7 September to 9 October 2020
SoC / CEG 2 10 May to 11 June 2021
USP 1 12 September – 4 October 2020
USP 2 23 January – 14 February 2021

Note:

** Information accurate as at 20 August 2020. Please note that the application periods are subject to change.


You will undergo a selection process by your faculty and will be notified if you are given an offer for SEP.


For additional information or related queries, please click here.

Step 7: Accept SEP Offer

Students’ home faculty will review the SEP applications and manage the SEP selection processes. Students selected for SEP will be notified (by email) of an SEP ‘internal offer’ by the home faculty and be given approximately a week to decide whether or not to accept the offer. Offers not accepted will be rescinded and given to another student on the waiting list. Students are advised to think carefully before accepting the internal offer, since there is a considerable monetary penalty for withdrawing from SEP after accepting the internal offer. Withdrawing from SEP after accepting the internal offer will also prevent another student from utilising the SEP place resulting in an unused SEP place.


Students are reminded to update mailing address and contact details at Education Records System (EduRec) as student may be contacted via phone (if required) on SEP application matters. In addition, the SEP certification letter will be mailed to student as per mailing address in Education Records System (EduRec) after the acceptance of SEP internal offer. Students may require to submit the SEP certification letter when applying for student’s visa.

Step 8: Financial Aid

Students may start sourcing for financial support after accepting the internal offer for SEP. However, please note that SEP is not confirmed until students have applied and are accepted by the host university.


The Financial Aid page provides a list of NUS and external awards for outgoing exchange students, as well as loan options. Students are also encouraged to check with home Faculty on faculty-specific scholarships which supports SEP. Students who are existing scholarship recipient may check if the existing scholarship includes support or provision for SEP.

Additional Information:


Preparing For Exchange


Preparing for a semester or year abroad on exchange can be extremely exciting but also overwhelming, as for many students it will be their first time away from home. This experience should be treated like an adventure where anything can happen, but with plenty of preparation and patience, everything should turn out well.


Going on exchange gives students the ability to become independent and the first step is for students to do their own research on their destination. The potential of an experience overseas will be maximised when students’ expectations are well managed through research. To allow for the best SEP experience possible, NUS students going out on exchange should read all of the pages in this section for Outgoing Exchange Students and should research their partner university and host country’s websites for instructions, as well as review their faculty’s SEP website and attend all briefings offered by their department, faculty or by the GRO.

Step 1: Application to Host University

Once you’ve accepted the internal offer you will be prompted by your faculty to prepare your application to the partner university. Your faculty will share with you a link which contains the partner university’s fact sheet and useful information regarding application with the partner university or you can also refer to the partner university’s website for incoming exchange students for the application process.


Most partner universities have their applications online while some universities have hardcopy application forms that need to be submitted. Official transcripts are normally required as part of application and students are responsible for acquiring their own transcripts for application to the Partner University unless informed otherwise. You may request for your official transcript here. If a Partner University requires submission of hardcopy documents for application, please submit your official academic transcript along with the other supporting documents to your Faculty SEP administrator.


Different partner universities have different application procedures and deadlines so students will have to follow the respective procedure and date to submit their documents to their faculties.Please submit your application materials by the deadline or risk a delay in receiving your offer letter and possibly a delay in arriving at your SEP location.


Once your exchange application is submitted to the partner university, you may not hear anything from the partner university until two months before the start of the partner university’s semester. If you haven’t hear anything from the partner university two months before the start of the partner university's semester date, please contact your Faculty SEP Administrators or Contact Us.

Step 2: Prepare for SEP

While waiting for the acceptance from the host university, you may start preparing for your SEP by finding out more about your exchange destination and knowing what to do next.


Please also ensure to:

  • Check the visa requirements for your host destination and get the supporting documents ready.
  • Research on your travel arrangement (including flight options to your host destination, local transport, accommodation etc.)
  • Once you received the acceptance package from your host university, read through the document carefully and follow the instructions on the things to do. It is your responsibility to complete all necessary procedures and meet the deadlines.
  • Apply for accommodation at your host university. Most universities will provide information on how to apply for accommodation either at the point of initial application or upon acceptance. Read your acceptance packages carefully for instructions or refer to the partner university website. The accommodation for exchange students may be assigned based on first come first serve basis. Submit your housing application earlier to stand a better chance of securing a room.
  • Read the Pre-Departure Guide for information about the things to prepare before you go, what you need to do upon arrival, settling in (cultural adjustment, safety matters) and preparing for home.
  • Attend the Pre-Departure Briefing conducted by GRO, as well as any held by your faculty or department and take the opportunity to network with other outgoing exchangers and meet with the SEP returnees.
  • Attend the NUS Ambassador Training to learn how you can better represent NUS at your host university.

Additional Information:


SEP Ambassador Programme

Well done on being selected by your faculty for the Student Exchange Programme (SEP)!


We encourage you to attend the SEP Ambassador Training conducted by the Global Relations Office (GRO) before you depart for your SEP.

Why become an SEP Ambassador for NUS?

The SEP works on the concept of reciprocity, i.e. NUS hosts a number of students similar to the number we send out every year. NUS students selected for SEP are expected to represent and uphold the reputation of NUS and Singapore. In addition, you will be required to promote NUS as a preferred exchange destination to students at Study Abroad Fairs and Information Sessions held at your host university.


During the SEP Ambassador training, you will receive the latest and most accurate information about NUS and Singapore so that you can represent NUS and Singapore well. You will also learn more about the Outstanding NUS Exchanger Award, which recognises and rewards your contributions to the exchange community. Finally, the SEP Ambassador Training is also a great place to meet like-minded NUS students who are going out on exchange in the same semester.

When does the training take place?

The training sessions will be held in May and July for outgoing students in semester 1 and in December for outgoing students in semester 2. You will be invited to join the training sessions via email. Registration is needed and can be done through NUS Calendar of Events.


You are strongly encouraged to attend the training. For students who are not able to attend the training programme but wish to contribute as an SEP Ambassador for NUS, please contact us via askGRO.


Student Testimonials


NUS Students Experiences on SEP


Excited to learn about the experience from returning exchangers? Here's your chance. Read their accounts of life abroad and be inspired to go on an overseas exchange.


Individual Student Testimonials

My time in Tsinghua University has been the most memorable semester. Beijing’s vibrancy inspired me deeply.

My exchange semester at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has been more than rewarding with a constructive environment to learn, opportunities to encounter numerous firsts while indulging in the beauty of nature that Switzerland provides.

The exchange experience was an enriching one that broaden my horizons, beyond the shores of Singapore.

It was an eye opening experience to study and live in a foreign country which was very different from Singapore.

My exchange experience was very enlightening and it taught me a lot about myself and the world around me.

Looking back on the five months spent at exchange, I really enjoyed this rewarding experience. I was exposed to the authentic German culture as well as the academic atmosphere at the local university.

In addition, you may also join the activities organised by our Peer Advising Leaders to find out more about your preferred exchange destinations.


Queries:

For enquiries, please contact us via askGRO.