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Information for Parents

Outgoing Students

Information for Parents

Answers to the questions you'll be asking if your child is undertaking Study Abroad as part of their RGU course.

About the Experience

Why should students study abroad?

There are many benefits to studying abroad and these include:

  • Increased confidence
  • Experience a different culture
  • Becoming more independent
  • Develop life skills
  • Increased employability
  • Students who have studied abroad tend to have higher graduate starting salaries than those who have not been abroad

How long do students study abroad for?

The majority of study periods abroad offered by RGU are for one term only – this can range from 3 months up to 6 months. Exceptionally, some students may study abroad for a whole Academic Session.

Do students have to be fluent in another language to go on study abroad?

No. RGU has developed partnerships with universities which teach in English. While students will find it useful to have some knowledge of the host language to help them in everyday life, it is not essential for their learning.

Will studying abroad add extra time to their studies at RGU?

No, with the exception of students in the School of Computing who have to switch to the 5 year route. Providing students successfully pass their study period abroad, no additional time will be added to their degree. However, if they fail to achieve the learning outcomes, they may have to repeat that term.

Will studying abroad be recognised as part of their RGU degree?

Providing students follow an approved course of study at a partner university and successfully pass, their study period abroad will count towards their RGU degree.

How do students express their interest in studying abroad?

We have 2 main deadlines per year, usually in January and April. These are advertised around the University. Students will have the opportunity to choose up to 3 destinations. However, we cannot guarantee that students will be allocated a place at one of their selected destinations as places are limited.

Can students go to any university abroad?

No. As academic work undertaken on study abroad counts towards a student's RGU degree, staff check that the curriculum on offer is an appropriate match to the relevant RGU degree course. Consequently, we can only exchange students with universities where we already have an exchange partnership in place.


Is the Erasmus grant guaranteed?

No. There is no guarantee that students going on a study period abroad will receive Erasmus funding. Funding is awarded on an annual basis and the University applies for this every year. Providing the University is awarded funding, we will endeavour to award an Erasmus grant to as many eligible students as possible. The availablity of Erasmus funding for 2021/22 will be dependent on the outcome of the UK-EU Brexit negotiations.

Is the Erasmus grant available in any country?

No. Erasmus funding is only available for mobility periods in Erasmus participating countries. Students going to Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the USA will receive no financial assistance. If the mobility is a mandatory part of their course, students may be able to apply to SAAS for travel costs. You would need to contact SAAS directly for guidance.

How do students apply for an Erasmus grant?

Students apply for their Erasmus grant when they apply to go on study abroad.

The application contains basic information such as name, address, date of birth etc. As we write to students by post, it is important that the postal address they provide is correct. There is an option to include more than one address.

If a student is selected to go on an Erasmus mobility, the International Exchanges Manager will write to students in due course with additional paperwork.

What does the Erasmus grant cover?

The Erasmus grant is designed to be complementary to any funding that the student already receives.

It is not intended to cover all additional costs.

It is expected that any funding/loans etc. will carry on while the student is abroad as if they were still here at RGU.

How is the Erasmus grant calculated?

The British Council is the UK National Agency for the Erasmus+ Programme. They advise institutions on the maximum grants that can be paid to students. In the event that RGU is not awarded sufficient funding to give grants to all outgoing students, some students may be given a grant which includes 0 grant months. For example, they might be abroad for 6 months, but will only receive a grant for 4 months. If this does happen, it is to ensure that all students are in receipt of a grant.

Grants are calculated on the official term dates of the host university AND the physical dates that a student is in country. If they arrive prior to the start of the term, their funding will commence on the first day of the term. However, if they leave before the end of the term, they will only receive funding until that day. More information on early departure is below.

Students have to have a form signed on arrival overseas to confirm their start date and also have it signed again when they leave to confirm their end date. They must return this form to the Study Abroad within 2 weeks of their arrival in country and then again within 2 weeks of their departure.

How is the Erasmus grant paid?

Erasmus grants are paid in 2 instalments. The first instalment represents 80% of the total grant.

The second instalment is released once a student’s study period has ended and the student has returned their Attendance Certificate and submitted an online report to the European Commission.

The amount of the second instalment will depend on the actual dates on the student's Attendance Certificate.

Erasmus grants are calculated in EUROs but are paid in sterling, directly into students’ bank accounts.

Do students have to pay tuition fees to the overseas university?

No. One of the conditions of the Erasmus Programme is that no fees are charged by the host institution. However, fees may still have to be paid to RGU. The majority of our non-European partners do not charge RGU students tuition fees, but there are some exceptions such as Curtin University, Boston University and Southern Utah University. Students going to these institutions will have to pay tuition fees. There is no financial assistance towards these fees.

Who pays for their travel expenses?

Travel expenses are not paid separately – the Erasmus grant can be used towards these. If mobility is mandatory, SAAS may pay travel expenses. Please contact SAAS directly for more information.

What happens to the Erasmus grant if they return early from their study period abroad?

It depends on when the student returns. If it is after a period of longer than 3 months (2 months for students on work placements), they will be allowed to retain a pro-rata amount of grant, providing they submit a completed Attendance Certificate to confirm their start and end date.

If the student returns before the 3 month mark (2 months for work placements), it may be possible for them to retain a pro-rata amount, however, the British Council will make the decision. The student will have to provide evidence for their early return as well as a completed Attendance Certificate. These are then submitted to the British Council who will decide whether a pro-rata amount can be retained or not.

In the event of an early return, the student may have to repay some, or all, of their Erasmus grant. If this is the case, arrangements can be made for this repayment to be made in instalments.

What is the easiest way for students to access money while they are abroad?

There are many pre-paid credit cards available specifically designed with travellers in mind. Many of these do not charge withdrawal/transaction fees when used abroad and it is easy to add money to these.


Are there any deadlines which students have to meet?

For students who wish to study abroad in Term 1, the deadline is usually in late January.

For students who wish to study abroad in Term 1, the deadline is usually in mid-April.

Students will also have to apply to their host institution to become a student there. Deadlines vary depending on the host institution – some of them are very early. This information is sent to the students by the Study Abroad Team but is also available to them on CampusMoodle.

Do students going on Erasmus have to complete any paperwork?

If a student is going abroad under the Erasmus+ Programme, prior to departure, the International Exchanges Manager will write to them with the following documentation:

  • Erasmus Student Charter – this describes both RGU’s and the student's responsibilities under the Erasmus+ Programme.
  • A Grant Agreement – this contains the rules and obligations of the funding. This includes the dates on which the grant has been calculated and the amount in EUROs (not sterling). The student has to sign and return this to the International Exchanges Manager. NB It is imperative that students sign this BEFORE they go on study abroad. Failure to sign and date the Grant Agreement before the study period will result in students being ineligible for funding.
  • If they are a UK national, an application form for a second EHIC and a letter to present to the NHS to confirm the details of the student's study abroad details. (See the "Welfare" for further information)
  • An Attendance Certificate – students have to have this signed by a representative of their host institution both when they arrive, and when they leave and return it to the International Exchanges Manager by email. This is important for all exchange students to ensure their period abroad is officially recognised. Additionally, for Erasmus students, this is important as the grant is calculated on actual dates. If there is a difference between the dates in the student's Grant Agreement and the Attendance Certificate, this may result in an increase or decrease in the amount of funding they are entitled to.
  • A Contact Details Form – this is to ensure that we have a correct address where the student can be contacted. They have to sign and return this to the International Exchanges Manager by email.
  • A Student Travel Information Card – students should carry this with them at all times on their study period/work placement abroad as this provides contact details for Medical Assistance, Travel Advice and Support and handy hints. If they lose it, they should inform the link to Study Abroad Team who will arrange for a replacement to be posted to them.
  • These are usually posted in hard copy.

Do students going on overseas exchange have to complete any paperwork?

Students going abroad on an overseas exchange will receive the following from the International Exchanges Manager.

  • An International Exchange Agreement - students are asked to sign this to confirm that they will abide by all necessary rules and regulations and also that they will inform relevant staff if they decide to withdraw from study abroad.
  • An Attendance Certificate – students have to have this signed by a representative of their host institution both when they arrive, and when they leave. This is important for all exchange students to ensure their period abroad is officially recognised..
  • A Contact Details Form – this is to ensure that we have a correct address where the student can be contacted. They have to sign and return this to the International Exchanges Manager.
  • A Student Travel Information Card – students should carry this with them at all times on their study period/work placement abroad as this provides contact details for Medical Assistance, Travel Advice and Support and handy hints. If they lose it, they should inform the link to Study Abroad Team who will arrange for a replacement to be posted to them.
  • These are normally posted in hard copy.


Where do students live when they are studying abroad?

This will depend on where they go to on their study period abroad. Some institutions will provide halls of residence, others will provide private accommodation, and in some instances, students may have to find their own private accommodation. However, the host institution is bound to assist the students in finding accommodation – although this can range from allocating them a room in a hall of residence through to simply providing a list of private providers, and everything in between.

Will students live in student accommodation?

This depends on where the student goes as not all institutions have halls of residence.

You should be aware that the term “student accommodation” can vary from country to country – e.g. in some Dutch institutions, private flats that are rented out to students via an external agency other than the institution itself may be classed as student accommodation.

It should not be assumed that exchange students will be housed with other students, exchange or full-time.

How do students find accommodation?

This will vary from institution to institution.

Some may only provide accommodation in student residences. Others may work with external agencies and will pass these details on to students. Some may simply provide a list of internet links to private providers.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that they apply for accommodation, in whatever guise it is offered.

What standard of accommodation will students be housed in?

Standards of student accommodation vary from country to country.

In some countries, it is common for students to share bedrooms.

Kitchen facilities may be limited in some student housing as students usually eat on campus where food is sold at a subsidised price.


Do students need to buy an insurance policy?

RGU's Insurance Policy will provide some cover, but not if the student travels outside their host city before, during or after their mobility period. Consequently, students are strongly advised to take out their own Study Abroad Insurance policy. Natives returning to their home country (e.g. a French person returning to France) are unlikely to be covered by RGU's insurance policy.

What does RGU’s insurance policy cover?

Do we need to take out a separate policy?

  • Students are strongly advised to take out a Study Abroad insurance policy. Travel insurance policies do not always cover extended periods of stay abroad. Students should also check if there are any specific clauses related to COVID 19.
  • If students do not take out their own policy and are taking any items with a value in excess of £1,500 with them, you should check with whether the item(s) will be covered.
  • Dangerous sports (e.g. skiing) are not covered by RGU's insurance policy.
  • If students plan on travelling for personal purposes while they are abroad, they should take out a separate insurance policy (e.g. if a student is studying in Berlin and travels to Hannover and they fall ill while in Hannover, they will not be covered by RGU's insurance) as RGU's insurance policy will only cover them for academic purposes. If they are travelling for academic purposes and require to make a claim on RGU's insurance policy, students will be required to produce proof that travel was required for an academic reason.
  • Some US universities require that students take out their insurance policy.
  • We cannot recommend any insurers, however, some companies do offer specialised study abroad insurance. These can be found by undertaking an internet search.

Further questions?

If you require any further information on RGU's insurance policy, please contact


What happens if students become ill while they are abroad?

Students are strongly advised to take out their own Study Abroad insurance policy.

In the event of a medical emergency, students should contact their insurance in the first instance wherever possible, especially before incurring any substantial costs for hospital admissions, surgery etc.

If it is a routine medical problem, they should go to a local doctor. The host institution should be able to provide information on providers that they recommend.

Will they have to pay for treatment and/or medication?

This depends on the country the student is in. It may be that they will have to pay medical fees, fees for prescriptions etc. up front and then make a claim on their insurance policy. In this event, they must obtain receipts for all costs incurred as these will be required by the insurance company. 

As with all insurance policies, there is no guarantee that all claims will be paid. Students are strongly advised to take out a Study Abroad insurance policy as RGU's insurance policy will only cover a student when they are in the city where they are studying. If they travel for personal reasons, they will not be covered.

If a student is going to study in Europe, do they need an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)? Will this cover all medical treatment and medication?

Students who are UK nationals going on a study period to Europe which is longer than 6 weeks need to apply for a second EHIC. They must apply for this by means of a paper application form which they send directly to the NHS, along with an official letter from RGU confirming the details of their study period abroad. This letter will be sent to the student along with their Erasmus+ documentation. Further information is avaliable on the NHS website:

The EHIC entitles the bearer to the same treatment as a national of the country where treatment is being sought. It should not be presumed that medical treatment and/or medications will be given for free.

What happens if a student is homesick?

It is very common for students to become homesick when they first start their exchange - there is so much to negotiate including a different culture, language, lifestyle, food etc.

Although homesickness can be tough, it can be worked through and it does go away after a few weeks.

We would always encourage students to try and work through their homesickness - and, if they need to, seek professional help from their host institution. Usually after 2 weeks, these feelings settle as students become more used to their surroundings.

Students can also access the wellbeing services and online support platforms offered by RGU.

In the event that a student does return home and they have received an Erasmus grant, there is a chance that they may have to repay the full sum awarded.

What support is available to students while they are away?

Although the student is not physically on the RGU campus, they are still an RGU student and staff here are still available to support them and provide advice.

Students will also be classed as full-time students at the host institution and all facilities available to their full-time students will be available to the RGU student - this includes counselling and other services.

What happens if there is a family emergency and the student has to return home?

We understand that emergencies happen and sometimes students have to return home.

If the student returns for a short period (e.g. from a couple of days to a couple of weeks), this should not be an issue, but it is always wise to ensure that both RGU and the host institution are kept informed.

If the student has to cut short his/her study period for an emergency, you should let RGU staff know as soon as possible as there may be repercussions:

  • depending on when the exchange is terminated, it may be that the student has to repeat that term
  • if the student is in receipt of an Erasmus grant, they may have to repay some or all of the funding they have received (please see the Finance section)


Should students inform SAAS that they will be studying abroad?

Yes, SAAS should be told when a student is undertaking an exchange.

SAAS have asked for someone at RGU to sign a form, who can I sent this to?

You can send this to the International Exchanges Manager:

Study Abroad Team
Employability and Professional Enrichment Hub
Ishbel Gordon Building
Robert Gordon University
Garthdee Road
AB10 7QG

or by email to

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