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​What to do before you go

​Read our helpful advice on what you need to do before you start your Study Abroad adventure

Once you’ve chosen where to go and contacted your course leader about starting your Study Abroad application, there’s plenty more to think about – from funding your time abroad, to sorting your insurance.

Funding your time abroad

If you're successful in your application to the Erasmus+ programme, you'll receive an Erasmus+ grant – although not all students travelling to Europe are automatically eligible for funding. Please check with us if you're unsure, by emailing erasmus@port.ac.uk.

The grant helps to pay for any extra costs of living overseas, such as your rent, food or bills - but you shouldn't rely on it as your main budget, or to cover your initial costs.

The exact amount you receive depends on your location and whether you're studying or working abroad. For example, for 2018/19, the Erasmus+ grants range from €300 - €350 for studies and €400- €450 per month for work.

In some cases, you can receive a top-up to your Erasmus+ grant if your annual household income is £25,000 or less. For 2018/19, the top-up is €120 for studies and €20 for work placements.

If you are a student who requires additional support or has a disability, there is also additional financial support through the programme. Contact us to find out more.

Please note, when you apply for your Erasmus+ eligibility and funding, we'll need your bank details. If you open a bank account in your destination country (European accounts only) and you want to receive the grant into this account, you’ll need to let us know in the first 2 weeks of your placement.

Your exact living costs will depend on the cost of living in the country and city where you’re studying, and your personal lifestyle. It's a good idea to do some of your own research – a good starting point is to check your host institution's website or to talk to your employer.

You won't pay any extra tuition fees for participating on an exchange programme. You're only liable to pay a reduced applicable fee to the University of Portsmouth.

You'll also have to pay any costs that a local student incurs. Most of the time, your host institution will provide you with a pre-arrival information guide, and a summary of the practical arrangements you'll need to make.

You can still apply for your tuition fee and maintenance loans as usual – but you must inform Student Finance England you'll be studying or working overseas.

Other sources of funding

You may also be entitled to an extra travel grant for your study abroad period. Find out more about this at the UK Government’s travel grants page. Lastly, most European countries use the Euro, but not all of them – so wherever your placement takes you, check the currency of your destination before you leave.

Important everyday information

  • Currency: Most European countries have introduced the Euro (€) but not all of them. You can check the currency you'll need on the Europa website.
  • Adaptors: Remember to check which type of adaptor you'll need when you're abroad. European electrical adaptors are 2-pin plugs, so if you're taking any devices with British electrical plugs, make sure you buy at least two electrical travel plug adaptors.
  • Metric system: Make yourself familiar (if you're not already) with the metric system. The UK is the only European country that uses the Imperial system.
  • Health cover: As an EU/EEA student you're entitled to reduced-cost treatments in all the European Union (EU) countries. Travellers to Europe should carry an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). To apply for the card, either call 0845 606 2030 or apply online.

Things to do before you go

  • Get a map and directions for the places you're going in your first few days. Have the address of your accommodation written down in the local language. Keep safe any useful numbers you might need, such as a local taxi company and your University contacts
  • Check with the host institution's International Office whether there's an orientation programme or a welcoming session. They may also have housing information too (if you haven't got a place already)
  • Get an EHIC card. As an EU or EEA citizen you are entitled to reduced cost or free medical treatment within the Eurozone
  • Many students also get the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). This is not the same card as the NUS. With the ISIC card you'll benefit from cheaper flights. For more information, please visit the ISIC website or if you're in Portsmouth, visit STA travel in Edinburgh Road
  • Always keep a copy of your passport separate from the original in case something goes wrong
  • Don't take unnecessary cards/papers with you that can't be used abroad
  • Make sure you have sufficient funds for the first couple of weeks while you're there
  • Always keep a contact book in case you lose your phone. It can happen, and you don't want to lose any important contacts
  • Make sure you've got enough supplies of any prescription medications you are taking

Your permission to travel and insurance while you’re overseas

When you're away on your placement, you'll need travel insurance. Our own Royal and Sun Alliance insurance covers all students and exchanges, with no additional cost to you. First, you’ll need to complete the Permission to Travel form, and download and keep the following documents:

There is a £50 policy excess.

If you don't complete the Permission to Travel form, you may not be granted permission to travel and you won't be covered by the university’s insurance during your placement.

You'll need to check that the University Insurance covers all your needs adequately – if it doesn't, you'll need to purchase additional private insurance.

For all queries about your insurance while overseas, please email insurancesupport@port.ac.uk or call +44 2392 843 308.

Erasmus+ Graduate Traineeships

If you've graduated and are going overseas on the Erasmus+ Graduate Traineeship programme, you need to organise your own insurance. You also need to provide a copy of the policy to the Exchanges and Study Abroad team when you sign the Erasmus+ Mobility Grant Agreement. If you don't provide proof of valid insurance cover, we won't be able to approve you for the programme.

PhD Legal Psychology students

If you're studying PhD Legal Psychology abroad, you need additional insurance cover to meet your grant requirements. Please contact the Department of Psychology for further information.

Travelling to higher risk countries

You can find a list of risk indicators for your destination at our insurers' travel advice website, Drum Cussac (registration required). All students must check the risk indicator on this website.

If any of the risk factors for the region you're going to are listed as 'Moderate' and have a risk score of 3.00 or above, you'll need to complete a full risk assessment, to be discussed and agreed with your supervisor. Download the Risk Assessment Form (.doc) here.

You have to show that you've fully considered the risks, can make an informed decision on whether or not to travel and make sure you are aware of the steps to take in an emergency. Please note, you won't be insured to travel to the following regions:

  • Iraq
  • Nigeria – Niger Delta and north of Abuja
  • Libya
  • Afghanistan
  • Mali
  • Somalia
  • Yemen
  • Syria
  • Any other areas where the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against travel

You'll also need to download and complete a Travel Review Questionnaire for Sanctioned Territories (.doc) if you're considering travelling to one of the following countries, due to current sanctions and restrictions.

  • Ukraine (Crimea and Sevastopol)
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • North Korea
  • Cuba
  • Sudan
  • Venezuela

If you have any further questions or need any extra assistance, please email insurancesupport@port.ac.uk.

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