Students at the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada.

Before you depart

Travel expenses

Travel will be one of your biggest expenses. The earlier you get your application accepted and your visas arranged the sooner you can book your flights and the cheaper they will be. Shop around for the best deal. The British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Organisation (BUTEX) also offers travel scholarships to UK students studying in the US or Canada for a semester or a year.


It is your responsibility to find accommodation for the duration of your time abroad. Most exchange partners will provide you with full information on booking University accommodation but you must ensure you follow their procedures and deadline dates.

You may wish to rent private accommodation. It makes things easier if you go out early and book yourself in to a hostel or hotel while you look for private accommodation. Be sure to read the contract carefully, including the small print, and question anything you are unsure of. If you pay a deposit get a receipt.

Birth certificate

It is advisable to take the original (and a copy) of your full birth certificate with you. Do not part with the original. Some authorities require a certified translation of this document. Students going to France should ensure that they hold a certified translation of their full birth certificate.


It might seem obvious, but please check your passport is valid with an expiry date of at least 6 months beyond the end of your year/semester abroad. If your passport is near its expiry date we recommend that you apply for a new one in plenty of time. As always when travelling abroad, it is advisable to keep a copy of your passport at home with other copies of documents and take a spare copy with you but don’t keep it in the same place as your passport.


Always take plenty of passport sized photographs for use abroad on official cards (student IDs, hostel cards etc.)


It is the responsibility of the individual student to ensure that he/she has adequate insurance cover. We strongly advise that travel insurance be taken out for medical expenses, personal accident, cancellation, luggage, personal effects, money and personal liability. Some of our international partners will require you to take out their own health insurance. The University has no liability for these matters but can provide advice and assistance if required, please email the Insurance Office. Please note that you will be asked to sign a statement confirming that you have adequate insurance cover for your period of study abroad.

Costs for flights and travel insurance vary enormously, so shop around, be resourceful and use the internet to find the best deals

Email and Data Protection

It is important to check your Exeter e-mail regularly.  Some students have experienced problems accessing their MyExeter portal whilst abroad so we recommend you setup email forwarding from your Exeter email to a personal email account, information can be found here.   You must inform the university of any change of address, you can do this via the student portal. You should also feel free to contact your Exeter Study Abroad Co-ordinator if you encounter any problems. The International Office and your Study Abroad Co-ordinator will help and support you as much as possible while you are abroad, provided we are made aware of any problems. In line with the Data Protection Act (1998) no member of staff at the University of Exeter is able to discuss details of any student with a third party (including parents). It is therefore your responsibility to contact your Study Abroad Co-ordinator and/or the International Office regarding any significant change in circumstances or serious difficulty you encounter. If you are happy for the University to discuss any issues/problems with your parents you should inform the University. You may also want to consider making arrangements such as giving power of attorney to a parent/guardian which might facilitate matters while you are away, eg dealing with finances.

Please ensure that you register on-line with IT Services so that your Exeter e-mail address is activated while you are abroad as this is the ONLY address we will use to contact you with updates throughout the year. This can be done using the IT account activation webpage. You should also check the International Office website at regular intervals for latest news.

Mobile phones

If you are intending to take your mobile phone with you remember to check that you can make international calls. Also check the call rate as you may find it very expensive. If you do decide to take it, ensure you have adequate insurance or call barring above a certain limit should the phone be lost or stolen.

Information from other students

Talk to students who have already been abroad during their degree or to visiting students from the relevant university and try to pick up some useful advice. Returning students may have been asked to write a student guide for those who follow them - ask for a copy from your Study Abroad Co-ordinator. Some Schools make these available on the web.

The Erasmus Society was set up in 2001 for all students involved in exchange programmes. For details please contact the Erasmus Society by email.

Packing and shipping

Students are advised against shipping materials in advance. Most universities cannot store student packages prior to students' arrival or when you travel outside of term time. Remember that what you take you will have to bring back - and that also includes all those 'essential' local souvenirs you buy when you are there! Always check what your airline luggage restrictions are and stay within them unless you have the money to pay excess baggage or the heart to discard your beloved items at the airport. Also remember to check UK customs about any items purchased from abroad.


Before going abroad to an EU country you must obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is available online. For more detailed information see the leaflet Health Advice for Travellers which is available from any Post Office or visit the Department of Health website .

Further information