Frequently Asked Questions about Studying Abroad
Exchanges and Study Abroad
When do I have to decide if I want to go abroad as part of my degree?
You'll need to decide as soon as possible. The Study Abroad' option for most students is usually in the first teaching block of your second year of studies, so you'll need to start considering this during your first year. Contact your Erasmus+ departmental coordinator to explore your options.
I don't speak any foreign languages. Can I still do an Erasmus+ placement?
Most of our partner universities do provide courses taught in English, but you should check with your departmental coordinator when choosing your option. If you do find a suitable placement with modules taught in English, you should consider attending Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP) classes to learn basic language skills for the country you'll be living in.
The IWLP is a free programme open to every campus-based, full-time student at the University. Regardless of what you're studying, you can learn a language alongside your degree. You can choose to study a number of languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. To find out more about the IWLP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I take part in the Erasmus+ programme without it counting towards my degree?
The Erasmus+ programme is only designed for students who wish to take this option as part of a degree course. If you're in the final year of your studies, you could consider a Erasmus+ graduate traineeship to enhance your employability skills. Contact us at email@example.com for more information and to declare your interest before the end of your final year.
I may have the option to go on a placement abroad on my second or third year. How does this affect my degree classification?
You'll need to discuss this with your departmental coordinator. Each department has its own policies about degree classification, so you should check well in advance how the Study Abroad placement will count towards your degree.
How do the teaching methods overseas differ?
Styles of teaching can vary from country to country and class to class compared to Portsmouth, but don't worry, you'll adapt quickly, and the experience you’ll gain from a different way of learning will prove beneficial in the future, and even enhance your studies when you return to Portsmouth.
I've completed all the forms required. Am I ready to go?
No, you'll still need to attend any sessions organised by your department to prepare you academically and personally before you go. You'll also need to research any further requirements your host institution or company might have.
Is the British Council Language Assistantship categorised as a study or a work placement?
If you're taking part in the British Council Language Assistantship you must complete the documents required for work placements.
Living abroad and insurance
Can you help me find accommodation?
Unfortunately no – you'll need to make your own accommodation arrangements. However, the institution or company you'll be joining should be able to help.
What do I do in a medical emergency?
The University Travel Insurance (Royal Sun Alliance) is supported by 24-hour emergency assistance operated by Healix. Call +44 (0) 2086 084100 and quote Policy Number RTT306251. Please download a copy of the Healix Emergency Assistance Card and the Healix App and add your destination country to your watch list.
Healix will talk you through everything you need do, arrange the necessary assistance and keep in touch with you until the situation is resolved or until you return to the UK. You can ask them to call you back, which means that they will bear the cost of the call but you can't reclaim telephone costs as part of the insurance.
On your return, please notify the University Insurance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 023 92 843308. Please note, failure to contact Healix in the event of an emergency could lead to high costs being incurred, and the insurers may be entitled to reduce the amount you get, or even decline to pay.
What happens if I get caught up in a natural disaster or political uprising?
In the event of an incident like this, you should first speak to Healix, who will talk you through what to do next. You should then call the University Security Lodge on +44 23 9284 3333 to confirm you're safe and to make contact with your supervisor.
Am I covered for medical expenses incurred overseas?
You're covered by insurance for emergency medical or dental expenses, but not for routine expenses or checkups.
I will be studying in the USA and my host institution has advised me to buy their Healthcare Insurance – is this correct?
Yes. While the University Travel Insurance may satisfy the J1 visa requirement, it doesn't always satisfy the US college requirements for Affordable Care Act compliant benefits, and you may not be able to waive the US college or university offering with the RSA travel insurance. You can either consider the insurance offered by your host institution, or you can use the UKiss policy. This provides wider full healthcare cover (not just emergency expenses), but you'll need to arrange and pay for this yourself.
I will be studying or working abroad in Europe and my accommodation provider has advised that I have to buy civil liability insurance. What is this?
Some European destinations insist that students purchase specific civil liability cover. This is to cover your legal liability for any damage to your accommodation. You'll need to pay for this yourself.
I need to make an insurance claim for loss of personal baggage or cancellation/curtailment – what do I do?
Please notify the Claims team at Royal and Sun Alliance on +44 (0) 330 1024093 (lines open 9-5 Mon-Fri), or email email@example.com. You should quote policy number RTT306251, in the name of ‘University of Portsmouth’.
If I have my own travel insurance, do I need to use the University policy?
You don't have to use the University insurance policy if you have separate insurance – but because your time abroad is part of your degree, you'll still have to go through the process and complete the Permission to Travel form. You must ensure your policy is sufficient to meet the scope of travel and activities you are planning. You can check with our team, if you’re not sure.
Am I covered for hazardous activities?
If hazardous activities are part of your study or work abroad experience, you may be covered, but don't assume that you are. So contact the University Insurance Officer to check. If you’re carrying out a hazardous activity that isn’t part of your studies, you'll need to arrange your own personal cover, at your own cost.
I want to add a few days holiday at the beginning or end of my exchange visit – am I insured?
Yes, the University insurance will cover leave days added onto your study or work abroad programme, as long as you remain in your destination country. Specific cover is as follows:
|Length of Trip||Holiday Days covered|
|5–12 days||2 days|
|13–21 days||5 days|
|22–35 days||8 days|
|36–50 days||12 days|
|51–65 days||16 days|
|66–80 days||20 days|
|81–100 days||23 days|
|101–365 days||25 days|
|over 365 days||28 days|
I have a pre-existing medical condition. Am I still covered by the University Insurance policy?
The University policy does not exclude pre-existing medical conditions but it does exclude travelling against the advice of your medical practitioner. If you’re not sure if that applies to you, contact your GP to check that you’re able to travel. It’s also important that you discuss any special needs and requirements you may have, with your supervisor.
Where do I find specific travel health advice and vaccination requirements?
Please contact your GP or check the NHS travel advice pages.
I have a question that's not answered here. Who do I contact?
Please ask your Departmental Coordinator or speak to our Exchanges and Study Abroad Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a question about insurance, you should contact email@example.com.