During the exchange
Please read these well in advance before your exchange or at the latest during it.
Before returning to Finland, you must obtain the following documents and do the following:
Transcript of records
- Please remember to ask for or find out how you can get a transcript of records for the completed courses before you leave the host university. You must deliver the official transcript of records to Aalto after your exchange and it is used for trasferring your credits to Aalto University student register.
- Find out where you can find the course descriptions of the courses you completed. You may need these when transferring your studies to Aalto.
- In some universities the teachers might give you a separate course certificate for each of the courses. The main thing is that the name of the course and the number of credits is marked in the document.
- The transcript might also be sent to you or to Aalto University by post after your exchange; please check that the host has the right contact information.
- Please ask for a signature and a stamp for the Letter of Confirmation before you leave the host university. The exact duration (dates) of your mobillity period are used to calculate your Erasmus+ scholarship.
- The Learning Agreement for Erasmus+ programme must also be approved by the host university. The best time to take care of this is at the beginning of your exchange. Get your study plan approved by the host university at the latest before returning to Finland.
If you make changes to the approved Learning Agreement / study plan either at enrolment or later on during the semester, you must contact your own Aalto school and get the changes approved. Please save the approval for the changes for yourself, you will need it after the exchange. This way you make sure that there will not be problems with the credit transfer. You will receive more detailed, exchange programme specific instructions from your Aalto school.
Please remember the Aalto Univeristy aim and minimum requirements for the completed credits during your exchange. Leisure courses (e.g. sports) will not be transferred to your degree in Aalto, and thus they do not count towards the requirement for credits / semester. If your host university is not using the ECTS system, please check the correspondence of the local credits/units, so that you will complete enough courses.
The exchange scholarship Aalto University has granted to you is dependent on the lenght of your stay in the host country, as well as to the credits you complete during your stay. If you do not fulfill the requirements, you will need to return the scholarship partly or fully.
If there are changes in the duration of your exchange period (e.g. due to sudden illness) or if you have difficulties in fulfilling the credit requirements., please contact your exchange coordinator at Aalto as soon as possible.
The Learning Agreement for Erasmus+ programme must also be approved by the host university. If your make changes to your original Learning Agreement, remember that you need to get the changes approved by Aalto University and the host university. At the same time you will get confirmation whether the new couses you selected can be approved to your degree in Aalto University.
The approved final learning agreement has to be returned to Aalto after your exchange.
Despite careful planning, everything might not go as you have planned. In problems related to courses and arrangements at the host university, you should first contact the exchange coordinator of the host university. Please also contact your School's exchange coordinator.
Other problem situations and emergencies
- In emergency situations that require immediate attention (fire, sudden illnesses, etc.), contact the local emergency number.
- Submit a travel notification, if you have not already done so.
- If you get ill for a longer period or face any other problems that may affect your course performance significantly, please inform your exchange coordinator. Please remember to obtain a medical certificate.
- Aalto expects all students who are travelling or visiting abroad longer than three months to register with the local or nearest Embassy. Also, in any exceptional situations at the host country, you should be in contact with the local Finnish embassy (or, if there is no Finnish Embassy in the country, an embassy of another EU country).
- In any exceptional situations caused by epidemic, natural disasters or other emergency situations students are contacted through email, sms-message or Internet. Aalto University cannot be held responsible for the safety of its students in exceptional circumstances. The final decision to leave the country and return to Finland will be left up to the student.
- Aalto University has AaltoAPUA Helpline (+358 50 46 46 462), which also students can call if they needhelp. In case of emergency always contact the local emergency number.
Studying and living abroad means you will face changes and new situations that might make you feel a bit stressed. Most of the exchange students experience the so called culture shock when they move to a new country and start the adaptation process in a new culture. Culture shock means anxiety or feeling of not belonging, which is caused by facing a foreign culture.
In the middle of all the confusion, it is good to remember that the culture shock is the beginning of an adjustment process during which you will gain valuable tools for improving your self-knowledge and understanding different cultures.
Phases of culture shock
- Honeymoon period – When everything is wonderful and new, you are enthusiastic and active.
- Frustration – Everything is better in your home country! Taking care of the practical matters might seem complicated. You might feel depressed, anxious and frustrated. You might also be tired and lose your appetite.
- Adjustment / acceptance – Your language skills have approved and you accept the differences between your home country and the destination. You feel more comfortable, maybe like at home.
- Returning home. At the end of your exchange period, also prepare for the emotions caused by returning home. Culture shock can also be experienced in reverse when returning home.
How to deal with culture shock
- Get to know your destination as well as you can before leaving Finland (from climate to religion and from political system to customs etc.)
- Be open-minded and willing to learn.
- Take a language course.
- Get to know new people, dive into the new culture - do not be alone!
- Travel within the host country.
- Maintain a sense of humour.
- Keep in touch with people at home.
- Read Finnish newspapers, listen to your favourite music, write a diary...
- Remember that by getting to know the host country, you will have an asset in the future when e.g. applying for a job.
The student exchange is based on reciprocity. We send our students abroad to partner universities, and in turn receive incoming exchange students from these universities. Therefore, it is very important to promote Aalto, your own school and Finland during the exchange.
Many universities organize exchange fairs or similar events where exchange students can present their home country and school. We strongly encourage students to take part in these events in order to promote Aalto in the exchange destination.