Assistance in special situations

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This article concerns all degree students regardless of whether they are studying in the new degree programmes or according to the old degree structures. 

Things do not always go as planned. If you must suspend or cancel your exchange, read these instructions. You can also find instructions for extending your stay and revising your learning agreement as well as for other special situations and challenges. Remember that you can always contact International Exchange Services if you have questions about exchange studies.

Changes to the original learning agreement

ERASMUS Exchange students

If your original learning agreement changes, you must complete the relevant form (Changes to the original Learning Agreement). Read your faculty’s credit transfer instructions to ensure that the credits provided by the new courses can be transferred to your degree in the way that best suits you. For more information on the recognition of studies, click here.

You need not complete the form for changes to the learning agreement when you apply to your target university and wish to update your original preliminary learning agreement. At that point, you can complete another learning agreement or update your previous learning agreement on your Mobility Online account.

Other exchange students

If your learning agreement changes, you need not complete the form for changes to the learning agreement. However, you should read your faculty’s credit transfer instructions to ensure that the new courses can be included in your degree in the way that best suits you. For more information on the recognition of studies, click here.

Challenges relating to the completion of courses or other studies during your exchange

If you experience study-related problems during your exchange, first contact the relevant department or international affairs unit at your target university.

If you wish to make special arrangements (e.g., to complete an individual course), agree on the matter with the course teacher, but also make sure that this arrangement is acceptable to the university and that you receive credits for the course once you return.

Cancellation of an exchange

If you must cancel your exchange studies before they begin, immediately contact International Exchange Services at studentexchange@helsinki.fi.

If your grant has already been paid to you, you must reimburse it in full to International Exchange Services. You will receive a decision on the recovery of the grant as well as related instructions via email.

Also remember to inform your target university about the cancellation if you have already applied there. If you have already submitted a notification of change of address or applied for student financial aid for your stay abroad, you must also inform Kela and the local register office about the cancellation of your exchange.

NB! A student who has previously cancelled his or her participation in an exchange without compelling reasons may be given less priority in future selection processes.

Extension of an exchange

Erasmus students can apply for an extension to their exchange and for a new grant decision. The extension must be requested from International Exchange Services at least one month before the end of the original exchange. The student must also simultaneously submit a new learning agreement. The credits to be completed at the target university must be transferrable in full to your degree at the University of Helsinki also during the extended exchange. International Exchange Services decides on the extension of the exchange based on the agreement quota and the learning agreement drawn up for the new exchange period.

If you wish to extend your exchange, follow these instructions:

Erasmus and Nordplus exchange:

  • First contact International Exchange Services to enquire whether the agreement permits an extension. The extension requires the submission of a new, approved learning agreement.
  • If International Exchange Services answers in the affirmative, contact your target university to confirm that it approves the extension.
  • Finally, submit the completed form for the notification of changes to International Exchange Services. You can print out the form from Mobility Online. You must state the changed duration of your exchange on the form, which may affect the amount of your mobility grant.

Other exchange opportunities (e.g., Bilateral agreements with universities outside Europe):

  • It is not possible to extend your exchange in the exchange programmes to destinations outside EU.

Grants if the exchange is extended:

Grants are always awarded for the months specified in the exchange agreement. In other words, an extension of the exchange does not automatically entitle you to apply for an additional mobility grant. In addition, no additional grant will be awarded once the target university’s second term has already begun. This means that the extension of an exchange does not always entitle the student to an additional mobility grant.

For more about the amounts of mobility grants, click here.

Can an exchange last over a year?

An exchange can last up to one academic year. It cannot take place over two separate academic years.

Can I complete a degree abroad?

University of Helsinki degrees cannot be completed outside Finland. Degree programmes usually accept only a limited amount of studies completed abroad for inclusion in a degree. If you find that you enjoy your studies at your target university so much that you wish to complete a degree there, find out more about the target university’s application process and dates, entrance requirements and tuition fees.

Shortening and discontinuation of an exchange

Contact International Exchange Services. Also inform your target university’s international affairs unit of your new return date.

Confirm with your target university that despite the shortening or discontinuation of your exchange, you will receive a certificate for any courses you have completed in full. Complete these formalities associated with your return.

Take into account that the shortening of your exchange may affect the amount of your mobility grant. If your exchange is shortened (e.g., from an academic year to a term or by a few weeks), the University of Helsinki must recover part of your mobility grant. If your exchange is shortened to less than three months, the University must recover your grant in full. In the case of Erasmus exchange, the shortening of the exchange by even a few days will lead to the recovery of the daily grant amount. 

Only very serious and unexpected reasons may allow for an amendment of the automatic recovery decision. Consequently, you should obtain a doctor’s certificate or equivalent if your exchange is discontinued. Recovery decisions are made in the Erasmus, Nordplus and Nordlys programmes based on the form for the letter of confirmation.

Also remember to inform Kela about changes that may affect your student financial aid.

Crises

If a natural disaster occurs at your destination or the political situation becomes precarious and studying is impossible, contact the Finnish embassy or consulate and follow its communications. In the event of a crisis, always contact International Exchange Services as soon as possible. For the contact details of International Exchange Services, click here.

For more information about the instructions of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, click here.