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Congratulations – your Global adventure is just around the corner!

The opportunity to go and live abroad is one to be grasped with both hands. We want your time abroad to be the best it can be, so please read this guide thoroughly. (Remember to do your own location-specific research too, the more you know about what to expect, the easier you will find it to settle in and adapt.)

We recommend that you:

  • Attend one of our pre-departure briefings
  • Look at websites – not just your host institution/organisation, but for the town/region it is situated in
  • Read some travel blogs e.g.  53 Best  Travel  Blogs
  • Buy or borrow a guidebook e.g. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide
  • Contact other students who are going to the same university or area as you – meet up before you go and maybe arrange to travel together. The In-Person pre-departure  event is a great opportunity to do so!
  • Read up on our Global Stories for tips from other students who have been abroad

Read the following information thoroughly, even the smallest piece of advice may prove useful.

We hope that you have an enjoyable and rewarding experience abroad! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Global Opportunities Team

Stay safe and enjoy yourself!

Immigration and Visas

Visa and working information; required for students studying/working outside of the EU or for International students who will be studying/working within Europe.

Check if an entry visa is required and the requirements for obtaining one.

Immigration laws are complex and subject to frequent change, contact the appropriate Embassy directly if you have any questions regarding this.

Any student who is not travelling on a British passport should check visa regulations for their home country and apply to the appropriate Embassy or High Commission to obtain a student visa.

Please note that post-Brexit, there have been changes regarding travel rules and restrictions for visiting Europe.

Check the website for more information and the links below for study/work visas required for some European countries.

Healthcare and Travel Insurance

You will automatically be covered for travel insurance and medical emergency cover through Ulster University’s Group Personal Accident and Travel insurance policy for the duration of your University-approved placement for studies/traineeship and there will be no cost for this.

Print and carry a copy of the Travel Cover Summary

Review the cover to check if this is sufficient for your planned activity. If this does not cover everything, you will need to take out additional cover (e.g. valuable possessions; extreme sports; dental, etc.).

Please note: If you have a pre-existing health condition, you will need to take out additional travel/health insurance. Ensure that you are aware of the health insurance requirements of your host institution and make the necessary arrangements to ensure compliance with those requirements. University’s travel insurance does not cover students for personal travel.  It only covers travel on authorised University business.

Medical Emergencies

In medical emergencies, medical advice should be sought immediately and the insurance company contacted directly at the following number:

  • +44 (0) 2920 662425  Quote reference UMAL/173

Visa Applications

For students who require visas to travel, confirmation of cover can be obtained by contacting Richard Morrow.

  • Prescriptions

    If you have a medical condition, or prescribed medication, discuss this in advance with your GP, checking if this is available overseas. You may wish to investigate taking sufficient medication supplies with you to cover the full period you will be away.

    Request a letter from your GP explaining any medication that you might need. You may also want to get this letter translated into the language of your host country.

  • Immunisations


    Check which immunisations, if any, are required for the country that you are travelling to at least six weeks before travel.

    Some vaccinations require to be given over a number of weeks so ensure that you have sufficient time to complete the full series before departure.

    Some countries require that you take vaccination certificates with you when entering/ departing.

    The following websites provide excellent information on travel immunisations and general advice to stay healthy whilst overseas.

  • Health Insurance - for EU/EEA Countries

    Health Insurance - for EU/EEA Countries

    The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are free and allow the holder to access medically necessary state-provided healthcare when visiting EU countries or Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge.

    Depending on which European country your placement is based in, you will be able to apply for either a GHIC or an EHIC. You can check on the NHS website which card would suit you.

    All students undertaking a placement in Europe must apply for a GHIC / EHIC before you leave the UK and remember to carry it at all times. The application form and further information about GHIC / EHIC can be found on the NHS website.

    If you already have an EHIC this will still be valid until the expiry date. At which point, you should then apply for a GHIC or a new EHIC.

    International students studying at Ulster University for 6 months or longer and who have a Student Visa for studying in the UK are able to apply for a GHIC and should complete the online application form.

  • Health Insurance - for Non-EU/EEA Countries

    You will need to arrange personal health insurance if you are due to study or work in a non-EU/EEA country. For the US, Canada and Australia this is required prior to applying for a visa.

    Information about the insurance will be included in the host institution's application form.

    Those studying through the ISEP programme must avail of insurance offered by ISEP. You will follow the guidelines provided by ISEP upon accepting your placement.

    Health insurance policies can vary in cost from £500-£1500 per academic year and students should always read policies carefully.

  • Before You Go

    Book a check-up at your opticians and at your dentist. Dental care can be very expensive, and generally isn’t covered by national health services. Try to have all dental work completed in advance of departure.

    If you wear glasses or contact lenses, ensure that you take spares in case of loss or damage, and take a copy of your prescription in case you need to obtain replacements.

  • Whilst Abroad

    If you need a doctor whilst abroad, get in contact with the International Office at your host organisation for more information on registering with a local doctor.

    In an emergency, access the appropriate emergency healthcare and contact the International Medical Group's 24 hour helpline, noted on page 3 of the UMAL Travel Insurance summary, for advice. Contact the Global Opportunities team at Ulster University and also the host organisation to keep them updated.

    Medical Emergencies

    In medical emergencies, medical advice should be sought immediately and the insurance company contacted directly at the following number:

    +44 (0) 2920 662425  Quote reference UMAL/173

Health and Safety

Your health & safety is important when visiting another country. Find advice to maximise your knowledge and reduce any risks. Be aware of emergency numbers in your host country.

Most students do not experience any safety issues in the host country, but we recommend that you do your own location specific research before you leave.

Discuss safety precautions with local students and always remember that it is better to be over cautious in the first few weeks as you adapt to a new environment. Be aware of emergency numbers (equivalent of the UK’s 999 in your host country).

Please read the following advice and tips carefully, they are there to guide you and to help maximise your knowledge while reducing any risks that you may encounter.

  • General Advice
    • Take photocopies and electronic copies of all your important documents before you depart (e.g. passport, birth certificate, insurance policy). Consider leaving a copy of your documents with a relative or a friend, as well as saving electronic copies on Google Drive for example.
    • Keep details of all important contacts in-country, for example: bank contact details in case of lost or stolen credit cards, the British Embassy, emergency services and travel insurance contacts. Save these contacts into your phone before departure.
    • Do not carry your passport around as a means of identification. Use a valid driving licence or student card, on a day-to-day basis. If your passport is lost or stolen, contact the police and your country’s embassy immediately.
    • Be mindful of your behaviour; the laws and customs in your host country may be different from those at home.
    • Lock your accommodation and be cautious about inviting casual acquaintances home with you.
    • Tell friends and family and your host institution's International Office staff about your travel plans so that you can be contacted, or need to contact them, in case of emergency.
  • Staying Safe Overseas
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables with you. Try to divide up what you do carry on you. *In the unlikely event that someone tries to mug you, don’t fight back, give up your valuables - your personal safety is more important than any amount of money you may have on you.
    • Speak to a local or the host accommodation office about where the dangerous places are in the area.
    • Beware of taking taxis from unlicensed operators.
    • Familiarise yourself with any potential risks and the local customs of the country that you’ll be living in.
    • Check for travel advice at and subscribe to their email alerts.
    • Read the Support for British Nationals Living Abroad web page by the FCDO as this contains lots of practical information.
    • Follow FCDOtravel on Facebook and @FCDOtravelGovUK on Twitter for regular updates from the Foreign,  Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
    • Make sure you read through any information that your host university or employer sends you. *Talk to returning students – and those currently abroad.
    • Make sure we have the most up-to-date contact information for you.
    • Take useful contact details with you, such as the contact information for your travel insurers, as well as the local British Embassy or Consulate. Store these somewhere easy-to-access (TIP: Email them to yourself for ease).

Passport and Certificates

  • Birth Certificate

    Some countries may require you to bring a birth certificate. You should check with the relevant embassy or consulate to confirm if the original is required.

  • Passport
    • Must be valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK, some host institutions may request a copy of your passport.
    • Scan your passport and send the scan to your own email address. This will come in handy if you lose your passport.
    • Check visa regulations.
    • There must be sufficient space for visas and stamps in your passport.
    • Complete next of kin information at the back of your passport.
    • Keep another form of photographic ID with you in case you lose your passport.
  • Dual Citizenship

    If you have dual citizenship, please be aware of any potential issues in your host country as you may be subject to increased scrutiny from immigration in some countries when travelling with two passports.

    In some countries, possession of a second passport can result in its confiscation or a fine, and you may be prevented from leaving the country.

    If you have two passports, ensure that you take with you the passport that you have used for booking your flights.

  • Medical Examination Certificate

    This may be required. Check with the relevant embassy or consulate to make yourself aware of any requirements.

  • Power of Attorney

    You may wish to assign power of attorney to someone that you trust in your absence. This will enable them to act on your behalf for important actions, such as:

    • Signing your student loan documents.
    • Dealing with your bank.

    For more information, visit (This process does incur fees.)

Managing your Finances

Before you depart for your study or work placement abroad ensure you have carried out your research, so you know the costs involved to better prepared you. It is useful to do a country comparison check so you know the cost of everyday items such as food. You will need to save in advance if you are wishing to visit other countries during your vacation periods to make the most of your global experience abroad.

Ensure that you have enough foreign currency to last until you have access to a bank account in your destination country. Research whether it would be valuable to open a new bank account whilst abroad or consider setting up an online bank account that can be used world-wide.

Good examples are:

Some UK banks allow commission-free foreign transactions and internet-based accounts may be advisable to allow you more control. Commission rates do vary and some countries e.g., France, have extra charges on bank accounts. You may wish to withdraw larger amounts of cash to avoid multiple charges but be very wary of carrying large sums of money on your person. You may need to access quite a bit of money initially to pay for any administration costs, accommodation deposits, homewares, books and travel passes.

Your UK credit/debit card will be accepted in most places but remember to check with your bank if there are any additional charges for using your card abroad. It might be worthwhile checking about a pre-paid money card from the Post Office before you leave.

  • Turing Scheme

    If you have been awarded Turing Scheme funding it is not meant to cover all your living costs, but it should help with the additional costs of living abroad.

    Find out more about the Turing Scheme

  • International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP)

    If you are studying on the ISEP programme, you will pay Ulster University an ISEP programme fee as agreed in the terms of the ISEP Fee Declaration Form. This fee will cover your accommodation and meals whilst at your host institution, for your full time studying abroad.

    Find out more about ISEP Fee

  • Tuition Fees

    Students studying on a direct exchange programme with one of the university’s exchange partners only pay tuition fees to Ulster University; no tuition fees will be charged by the host institution.

    Tuition fees for students participating in an exchange programme will be as follows:

    Tuition Fees
    Duration of Placement Fee paid to Ulster University
    One Semester Full tuition fee to Ulster University
    Full academic year 

    *Placement Tuition Fee

    *Students who are in receipt of Turing funding for a work or study placement more than 24 weeks may be eligible for a placement tuition fee waiver.

    Please note that students will continue to receive Tuition Fee Support (Loan / Maintenance Grant) from Student Finance NI as usual.

  • Student Finance

    Students will remain eligible for tuition fee support as well as means-tested maintenance loans and maintenance grants. A separate Travel Grant may be available from Student Finance NI. It’s also worth checking with your local Education Authority office to find out what additional funding may be available.

    Students are advised to discuss all student finance matters with their relevant Student Finance body directly or contact the Student Wellbeing team for further information.

Travel Arrangements

You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements to reach your placement abroad. You should begin considering travel arrangements as soon as your host institution/organisation confirms the date by which you should arrive.

  • Air Travel
    • Shop around and look at lots of options!
    • Some airlines offer much cheaper one-way fares from London than those on offer by the regular carriers.
    • Research airport shuttle buses or public transport to take you to the town/city centre closest to your university/ host organisation.
    • Some universities provide transport from the airport contact the International Office at your host university to check.
    • Be aware of baggage restrictions when travelling.
    • Please note that for some visas, you must be in possession of a return ticket.
  • Rail or Coach
    • Rail Europe specialise in Europe train travel and offer student fares.
    • Travelling by coach can be an inexpensive way to reach your destination.
  • Duty and Customs

    Generally, you may take personal computers, cameras, small electronic devices, radios and other similar items, which will be duty-free, provided they accompany you and that you declare them at the time of entry.

  • Weight Restrictions

    Investigate the weight restrictions in place on the airline you will be travelling with.

    It may be worth enquiring with your travel agency about sending extra luggage unaccompanied or taking a more expensive flight which allows a greater baggage allowance.

    Be mindful of these restrictions while packing.

  • Electrical Appliances

    You may need to buy a transformer and adaptor plugs in advance to be able to use your own appliances in another country.
    Travel irons, shavers, blow dryers, and many laptop computers are available with built-in adaptors for all electrical currents.

  • Some Additional Important Advice
    • Make sure you know the date your host institution/ organisation expects you to arrive.
    • Make sure not to arrive on a public holiday as public transport may be affected.
    • Think about travelling with other Ulster students who may be going to the same destination. Ask the Global Opportunities team if they can put you in touch with any other students.
    • If you can afford it, buy tickets that give you flexibility in case you need to reschedule your flight.


Some institutions offer a variety of accommodation, such as student halls, residences and city apartments.

However, it is a good idea to carry out thorough research beforehand, since the quality, availability and cost of this accommodation can vary considerably.

Talk to previous students who have lived / studied there for tips and contacts.

This is particularly advisable in capital cities and popular tourist destinations, where they often experience shortages of cheap short-term accommodation.

  • Accommodation Options
    • Private accommodation – recommended by your host university/organisation.
    • Uniplaces
    • Alternatively, arrive early and arrange temporary accommodation like Hostelworld or Airbnb whilst you look for somewhere suitable.

    Please note

    ISEP students will be placed in student accommodation at their Host Institution.

    If you opt for student housing other than what is offered by the Host Institution, it is your responsibility to pay any additional money required to facilitate this request.

  • Before You Leave the UK

    Ensure that you have enough money to cover any deposits and know where you will be collecting your keys from.

  • Before You Sign Anything

    Make sure you fully understand any contracts and that you get a receipt for any monies handed over.

    Beware of Scams

    Only book accommodation from reliable sources.

    Do Not

    • Visit potential lodgings alone.
    • Advertise your telephone number in public places.
    • Sign any contract with an agency without finding out if there are any fees to pay.
    • Sign a contract that does not include a notice period should you wish to change accommodation during the year.

Useful Information and Travel Tips

Useful information and travel tips to consider before, during and after your Study Abroad trip; Consular assistance, equality and diversity, culture shock, making new friends.

  • Consular Assistance

    Your local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate or Irish Embassy if you’re travelling on an Irish passport, offers a range of services, including the following:

    • Contacting family or friends on your behalf
    • Issuing a replacement passport
    • Providing information on transferring funds
    • Providing help if you are a victim of crime, or hospitalised

    Locate the nearest British/Irish Consulate in your host city and save this on your phone. See British Embassies/Consulates or Irish Embassies for more information.

  • Equality and Diversity

    Remember, the same laws and customs as we have at home do not necessarily exist overseas. This applies if you have a disability, are LGBTQ+ or from a minority faith or ethnicity in your destination country. Please ensure you have researched the laws, customs and beliefs of your host country ahead of your placement.

  • Culture Shock 

    Living in an environment that is culturally different from what you are used to is exciting but can also be confusing making you feel emotionally and even physically unwell at times. This experience is called ‘culture shock’. If you go through a period of homesickness, just remember it’s completely normal! Feelings of culture shock are experienced by many people as they get used to living in a new cultural environment.

    Some common feelings experienced during cultural transitions include:

    • Homesickness
    • Loneliness and the desire to withdraw, feelings of alienation or difficulty participating in conversation
    • Fatigue, frustration and anger

    Being able to share experiences with friends can help you cope with culture shock so for health reasons make sure you spend at least some time socialising, even if you are very busy with your studies. Your host university can help you find out about social activities during your time abroad where you can have fun and meet like-minded people. If you think you are experiencing culture shock, do not hesitate to ask for help from your host university’s International Office.

    The UKCISA web site gives advice on culture shock and some tips on how to deal with it.

  • Making new friends

    This can be daunting, particularly in a new country. Previous students have advised:

    • Show sincere interest and enthusiasm in the culture; look into the music/film/sport.
    • Educate yourself so that you avoid making social faux pas that could make you seem rude or inconsiderate.
    • Ultimately, take up new opportunities, they will be just as interested to learn about your culture and way of life as you are of theirs.
  • Travel Tips
    • Buy a map of the local area to acquaint yourself with the area before you arrive.
    • Be responsible for your own decisions and actions.
    • Be respectful of laws and customs, respect the rights and wellbeing of others.
    • Take heed of health and safety advice offered by the partner institution.
    • Report any problems to your host institution, and the Global Opportunities Team

Things to remember

While studying abroad there are key things to remember which will make your stay and return to Ulster easy.

Even though you will not be studying at Ulster University for the year, you must still confirm you are a student by completing the enrolment process.

You must enrol to enable you to have access to online facilities (Blackboard, library resource, etc.), prevent delays with your Student Loan or other grant payments and maintain your insurance cover. Dates for online enrolment and instructions on how to enrol will be sent in August to all students’ Ulster University email accounts.

Check your University email account regularly. If there is anything missing or incorrect, amend it online or email your School Office with the correct information quoting your Student ID number.

  • Academic Matters

    For all academic matters relating to your placement, please contact your Course Director at Ulster.  You will have a Studies Advisor at your host institution but any questions relating to module choices, number of credits required for your placement, grades, etc., should be directed to your Course Director.

    Please ensure that you know all relevant contacts in your destination school, with regards to the modules you are taking, or your year abroad project.

    It is important that you know how you will be assessed while on your placement, how this will count towards your degree and what would happen if you fail.

  • Notice of Withdrawal

    If you are considering withdrawing after arrival, then you must contact your Studies Advisor immediately to seek advice about your options.

    You should give us sufficient notice of your intention to withdraw, we will then inform your host institution if appropriate or necessary.
    Please note you may incur costs associated by withdrawing early such as fees, grants etc.

  • Keeping in Touch

    You should let your friends and family know your new contact details as soon as possible, and also update the term-time address on your Ulster University record.

    You must continue to check your Ulster University email account while you are away.

    If you would prefer to be contacted via an alternative email account, please let us know so that your record can be amended.

  • Mobile Phones

    If you are travelling with your mobile, contact your service provider for advice, your mobile may not operate unless your provider registers your phone for international access.

    Talk to your supplier and be sure to shop around for the best deals. Consider getting yourself a SIM card specific to the country you are staying in.

  • 24 hour contact with Ulster

    Our counselling service, Inspire, is available 24/7, 365 days a year: +44 800 0280 5510

    In an emergency, you can contact Ulster University Security on:  +44 28 70 123456

  • Returning Home 

    Remember to enrol as normally for your return to study. If you notice your Banner record is not correct, please let your course director know so your record can be amended.

    Enrolment Information

  • Reverse Cultural Shock

    Returning home after growing accustomed to a new environment can produce reverse cultural shock. These feelings can surprise returning students and may prove more difficult to deal with than the original culture shock. Your interests and values may change during your abroad experience while those of your family and friends remain the same or change in a different direction.
    Be prepared that people may not be as interested in hearing about your experiences as you will be in sharing them!

    Re-entry shock should be acknowledged as part of the experience, and you should allow yourself time to adjust to your old home environment. Keep in touch with friends that you made overseas and attempt to find likeminded people in the UK. Join an international society, take a language course or register for courses where you can apply what you have learned on your travels.
    You should not be surprised if life back home seems somehow trivial, your goals and priorities may have changed, and you may be experiencing reverse homesickness and negative feelings towards the UK. These are all common feelings experienced by those readjusting to life back at home after a long stay overseas. The UKCISA website gives more information about reverse culture shock along with some tips on how to deal with it.

The Checklist

There is a lot to remember when studying abroad, check you have everything ready before you go. Use this checklist to make your planning easier.

  • Preparation Checklist
    1. Complete your application with the host institution and await acceptance documents. When your exchange placement is confirmed, the next step is to apply directly to your host institution within the respective deadline.
    2. Organise your finances. Make a budget plan, and apply for available funding.
    3. Arrange for the appropriate Health and Travel Insurance
    4. Arrange your transportation/travel
    5. Arrange accommodation
    6. Let your Course Director / Studies Advisor / Placement Tutor know of your plans
    7. Complete any additional paperwork requested by the Global Opportunities Team and/or host institution. These will include Turing paperwork, ISEP documentation and Direct Exchange paperwork.
    8. Passport. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6+ months post-return date, or does not expire while you are away.
    9. Photocopies of Passport. Photocopy your passport and take one copy with you when you go away, leaving another copy with family or a friend. Also scan your passport and save it to your Google Drive or on your email inbox. This may prove invaluable if your passport is lost or stolen.
    10. Another form of Photo ID. You should supplement your passport with a photo ID such as your driving license or Ulster University student card.
    11. Ulster University Insurance Certificate. This details of what is covered by the Ulster University insurance.
    12. Passport Photos. These are often required for student ID cards and other admin; having some with you will ensure that you don’t have to locate a photo booth in an unknown city.
    13. Visa Documentation
    14. Apply for your health care cover abroad (EHIC or GHIC).  Further Information on healthcare cover abroad.

Ulster EDGE Award Accreditation

The Ulster EDGE Award is an award that students complete alongside their degree through the completion of developmental extracurricular activities.

The objective of the Ulster EDGE Award is to provide a wide range of activities that will support students in developing their employability alongside and complementary to their academic programme. For employers it provides a great opportunity to engage students in activities that will enhance your reputation and visibility.

For your global experience to be EDGE eligible, the programme must be in addition to your degree programme i.e., in no way contribute to another module of your degree.

Register for EDGE

Through our Global study abroad and cultural awareness programmes, students will develop the independence, autonomy and professional skills to succeed in the global workplace. Submit your Global Story to receive accreditation for the EDGE Award.

Find out more about the Edge Award

Contact us