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Global Exchange Programme

First, it is important to have a clear picture of where you want to go, with what purpose, and what study programme you would like to attend. Start well in advance to compare different destinations. Here are a number of tools to help you make a well-informed choice for one of the universities in the Global Exchange Programme.

Compare destinations

Consult the Digital World Map to explore your options. Select a university and find a clear overview with its basic information. Below you will find some things you should keep in mind while making a choice.

  • Application open for: the level of study, either bachelor's or master's courses.
  • Possible Study Areas: the study programme/departments that are open to UvA exchange students as well as restrictions that might apply for certain areas.
  • Academic Calendar: an indication of the semester period at the host university. Please note! Please use the UvA academic calendar indication for your online application. For example, if you apply for an exchange at University of Auckland from July to November (their session 2 or second semester), you should apply for a first semester exchange (i.e. the UvA semester) in our online application system.
  • Credit & Grading: an explanation of a full-time course load. Compare this with the ECTS system to convert the number of credits you should obtain.
  • Language of Instruction: the medium of instruction during courses and the language requirements for exchange students. It is not necessary to sign up for a language test yet. If you will officially be nominated, you will receive instructions to take a language test.
  • Accommodation: the housing options and the possible assistance the host university offers in arranging accommodation.
  • Costs: the estimated expenses as indicated by former exchange students.
  • Important websites: visit the website of the international office for elaborate information about the exchange programme.

The University of Amsterdam will always follow the travel advisory of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Travel to a region for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given a travel advisory classified orange or red, is not allowed. Up-to-date information on travel advisory related to Covid-19 can be found on the UvA coronavirus website.

Explore cultural differences

Through study abroad you gain experience in adapting to different cultures and habits. If you want to develop your cultural skills, you will need to deepen your understanding of your own culture and compare it with the host culture.

Examining different destinations and visiting host university websites is a first step. You will soon discover that other universities are structured differently, lessons are taught in other languages and professors are using other teaching styles.

For more insight into cultural differences, you can compare two countries based on the cultural dimensions of Geert Hofstede.

Compile a list of desired courses

The Digital World Map will tell you which study areas are open for exchange, and it will refer you to the website of the host university. To find your desired courses, you will need to carefully search the website of the host university.

It may be possible that some courses and fields of study are not made accessible for exchange students. Remember to only choose courses on the host university website that fall within the specified guidelines on the Digital World Map. You are responsible for checking the ‘possible study areas’ as outlined on the digital world map, and determining whether these possibilities meet your expectations for your exchange.

Try to compile a list of about ten courses and list the most preferred courses on your application form. Please note that you can still make changes in your course list after application, as the actual course registration will take place after you have been granted a place in the global exchange programme.

It is your own responsibility to check whether your chosen courses can be brought into your UvA study programme. To be sure, you should always contact your study advisor and/or contact person at the International Office of your faculty.

Please read the FAQ for more tips on picking courses, study level, course codes, and recognition of courses.

Check your possibilities

BIS does not check whether your exchange preferences fit into your UvA study program. To be sure, you should contact your study advisor and/or contact person at the International Office of your faculty. You are also responsible for determining whether your wishes for the exchange fall within the outlined possibilities as described on the digital world map.

Estimating costs

Studying abroad often costs considerably more than studying in the Netherlands, including travelling costs. Prepare your budget well in advance to control your spending. Find the estimated expenses of an exchange in the Digital World Map.

In addition, most university websites also provide information about the likely costs of your stay, your visa and so on. Refer to ‘Financial matters’ in the ‘Practical Matters’ menu for information about possibilities to fund your study abroad and preparing a budget.

Language skills

The Digital World Map specifies the language of instruction and the required proficiency level. Although you may already sign up for a language test, this is not yet necessary.

Are you in need of language support? Then check out the course offerings of UvA Talen or sign up as a language buddy for ESN Amsterdam.


A number of universities requires students to take an English language proficiency test. However, this is only required after you are placed for the global exchange programme. It can be useful however to already research the language requirements before applying, as some of the tests can be costly and require preparation. Depending on the university, you may be asked to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

  1. TOEFL: This test approximately costs 240 USD and is administered by computer at various locations in the Netherlands. Students are advised to practice, this can be done online.
  2. IELTS: The UvA offers students who are nominated for an exchange the possibility of a reimbursement after doing the IELTS test. 

Spanish, Portuguese

For an exchange in Latin America you are required to have proficiency in the Spanish or Portuguese language at an academic level. English courses are usually not open to exchange students or are very limited.

Please bear in mind that for roughly most destinations in Latin America, you will need to show evidence of your language proficiency.

Curious whether you have mastered the required level of Spanish or are you seeking expert advice on learning opportunities to achieve the required level? Please contact the institute for Spanish language and culture, Molinos de Viento, for an intake appointment. The costs for this initial interview are 25 euros.

Searching for inspiration?

Are you curious about how other students experienced their study abroad adventure? Please check the socials of our Cultural Exchange Ambassadors, a mixed group of recently returned exchange students and international students currently on exchange at the UvA. They will tell you why they went abroad and what the benefits are.

They also publish the Exchange Express twice a year; a digital newsletter intended for UvA students who are on exchange and international students studying at the UvA. The newsletter covers several fun stories and photos from students who spent a period abroad.

Helping you choose your study abroad destination

International Student Affairs (BIS) offers a lot of support to help you choose your study abroad destination To help you to decide if going abroad is the right choice for you and what type of experience best meets your needs, we offer three helpful online courses:

  • Module 1: Going Abroad? Thinking about going abroad? Check out this module for more information.
  • Module 2: Is Going Abroad Accessible to Everyone? Discover resources that can help you for your journey and information for your circumstances.
  • Module 3: Cultural Awareness. Find out how you can develop your cultural awareness for your global experience.

In addition to these online resources, you may also attend one of our information sessions and workshops about the Global Exchange Programme. These sessions will be organised several times, and will also be announced in the Events calendar.

Need more help?

Have you read all information, and do you still have questions? Then please read our FAQ, or contact the Office of International Student Affairs (BIS).