How to go abroad as university student – Asia

This is a guide for everyone who’d like to study or intern abroad. If you know other projects please let me know – let’s make going abroad easier!

When I enrolled in university I planned to go abroad studying at least a semester, but I didn’t know much about the many existing opportunities. I wish I knew at the time what I know now about these projects, and that’s why I’m listing here all the opportunities I am aware of – to help students find the right one!


Joint degrees

Who’s it for? Regular students

Duration: 1 year+ abroad, 3+ years total

How to apply: refer to your own university

Most universities offer joint degrees, but unfortunately they’re available only for few majors. These programs are based on agreements between your university and another specific university that provides a similar or complementary course. Once your application will be accepted, your situation will be this:

  • you will study for one (or more) year in your university and for one (or more) year in the other one. Studying in both universities is compulsory to graduate.

  • You will likely have to write two dissertations or take two graduation exams (one for each university).

  • At the end you will get two different degrees, one for each university (and country).

Joint degrees are usually harder and more expensive than “normal” degrees, but it’s definitely worth the struggle.


Who’s it for? Regular students enrolled in EU or Switzerland universities

Duration: up to 1 year, or 2 years for one-cycle courses (Erasmus+ and Erasmus+ traineeship included)

How to apply: refer to announcements of selection in your university website. Application usually requires your grades, a cover letter and sometimes an interview.

International Credit Mobility is an EU initiative that allows students enrolled in EU universities to study in extra-EU countries. This project is based on agreements secured by universities; scholarships  and other agreement implications vary from university to university. Unfortunately, at the moment the project is supposed to end in 2017.


Who’s it for? Regular students, in particular foreign language students

Duration: 1 semester+

How to apply: refer to announcements of selection in your university website. Application usually requires your grades, a cover letter and sometimes an interview.

Overseas programs are based on agreements between universities worldwide. Agreement implications and refunds vary from university to university.

Confucius Institute and Hanban –

Who’s it for? Regular students willing to study in China

Duration: 1 semester+

How to apply: refer to the nearest Confucius Institute or to website. Hanban scholarship application usually requires to be aged 16 – 35, HSK and HSKK certification and other documents.

Confucius Institute Kŏngzĭ xuéyuàn 孔子学院 is an organization affiliated with Chinese Ministry of Education that promotes chinese language and culture; its offices are in lots of cities all over the world. One of its main purposes is to facilitate cultural exchange, and that’s why some branches help students to go to China through affiliations with chinese universities – this is among the most expensive solutions, since you have to pay two university fees (your university’s and host university’s), in addition to board and lodging fees, but it doesn’t involve a selection process.

Getting an Hanban scholarship, offered by chinese government, is maybe the cheapest way to study in China. Hanban allows students to choose two among lots of universities listed on the website, some of which would like to have an interview with candidates before making their decision.

Visiting Students program

Who’s it for? Regular students

Duration: 1 semester+

How to apply: refer to your university International Mobility staff

It works like Erasmus and Overseas programs, but it’s not based on preexisting agreements: you’ll have to look for host university and courses by yourself and, depending on the university you choose, you might have to pay a fee. This program is more expensive than Erasmus or Overseas, but has an advantage: since you will choose the university, it allows you to study where you really want.

EF Education First

Who’s it for? Young people in general

Duration: 2 weeks – 1 year

How to apply: refer to website

EF Education First is a company that provides language courses in UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malta, South Africa, Germany, Spain, France, China, Singapore and Japan. It is mainly famous among high school students, but it also has lots of opportunities for university students: it offers summer courses, general (everyday communication) courses, intensive courses, language certifications preparation, career oriented courses and internships, as well as annual programs. The type of accomodation (campus or host family) is also up to you.

Fulbright Scholar Program

Who’s it for? American students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists

Duration: 2 weeks – 1 year

How to apply: refer to website, or your university website

Fulbright Program is meant to increase understanding and collaboration between Americans and people from other countries. Different kinds of scholarships allow students, teachers and scholars interested in various fields to take part in a exchange program in 155 countries, encouraging creativity, knowledge and innovation about global issues.


Who’s it for? American students enrolled in a US university

Duration: 8-10 weeks

How to apply: refer to website

Critical Language Scholarship is a U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs project that offers opportunities to study fourteen critical languages in the countries where those languages are spoken. The scholarship covers almost every expense you would have.


University opportunities

Who’s it for? Regular students

Duration: variable

How to apply: refer to your university Placement staff

Maybe you don’t have to look too far to find internships: you could check if your university provides some internships and abroad programs. Mine, for example, does: the project is called Ca’ Foscari Desk in the World – students go all over the world to promote the university and its International Placement project.


Who’s it for? Regular students and recent grads

Duration: 4 weeks – 1 year

How to apply: refer to website, or to your university committee. It usually requires your CV, an interview with your committee staff and one or two interviews with the host committee and the company you are applying for.

AIESEC is a global student organization that provides volunteering opportunities and internships worldwide, mainly in developing countries. Lots of universities have their AIESEC committee held by students. Volunteering opportunities provide board and lodging, while paid internships, often available only to recent grads, don’t always provide it.

AIESEC opportunities concern lots of different fields. There are teaching opportunities, cultural and social work positions, marketing and tourism internships, technology, engineering and electronics companies and lots more. It’s a really good way to practice what you’ve studied, getting work and life experience abroad and even learn a language. Three birds with one stone.


Who’s it for? Everyone

Duration: 1+ months

How to apply: refer to website

CRCC Asia provides programs in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and, I don’t know why, Manchester – these programs include internships, travels and studying in different combinations. Traineeship positions concern lots of different sectors. The downside is high fees, but lot of stuff is included (accomodation, visa process, language courses, arrival and orientation, support network and more), and CRCC Asia also offers scholarships.


Who’s it for? Everyone who’s interested in a sustainable way of life, as well as who’d like to experience a different kind of travel

Duration: depending on your wish and farmer’s needs

How to apply: refer to website

WWOOF is an international organization which main aim is to bring people to a sustainable way of life, but it can also be a good way to visit a foreign country and discovering its daily life. By joining WWOOF you will get the opportunity to live with locals of many countries all around the world while working in their farms – this experience could be a one of a kind!

EF Education First –

Who’s it for? Young people in general

Duration: variable

How to apply: refer to website or the nearest EF committee

EF Education First also recruits couriers and group leaders every year: you could have the chance to accompany students during their excursions and activities, and you could choose among your own country or another one, depending on your skills and wishes. Moreover, this experience could be the beginning for a long-term cooperation.

Jinhua Homestay –

Who’s it for? Young people interested in China and its culture

Duration: 3 weeks

How to apply: refer to website. A 600 words essay is required, and students need a recommendation letter as well.

Jinhua Homestay offers the unique opportunity of living for three weeks in villages of Jinhua, a rural area in Zhejiang province, near Shanghai: participants will be experiencing homestay in rural China and help local communities by accomplish one among some tasks (depending on the location they choose).


Chambers of commerce

Who’s it for? Everyone

Duration: variable

How to apply: refer to your own country chambers of commerce website

Chambers of commerce often sponsor internships abroad. Just connect to your own country’s chambers of commerce website and look for the list, find your city and then read through the advertisements, you may find the right one.

Besides these opportunities, plenty of scholarships are offered by governments and universities worldwide – just do a little research, apply and pack your stuff!

This is a guide for everyone who’d like to study or intern abroad. If you know other projects please let me know – let’s make going abroad easier!


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