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Outgoing students

The University of Southampton is a truly international University which offers opportunities to study abroad as an exchange student as part of our degree programmes. These opportunities are available at our partner institutions across the globe. 

Use this page to find out how to apply and where you can go on exchange during your degree.

Thumbnail photo of Sonia Yick, full year exchange at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

“If you are considering a year abroad, I strongly recommend that you do it! It’s not only about growing academically in the field of your degree but you will also learn things about yourself along the way whilst creating the most memorable chapter of your life!”

Sonia Yick, full year exchange at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Who can go on exchange

To study abroad as an exchange student you must:

  • Study in a faculty or academic unit which has a link with one of our exchange partners.
  • Be registered at the University as an undergraduate, postgraduate research or doctoral student.
  • For undegraduate students to have successfully completed your first year of study and that you mantain a degree classification of 2:1 (60-69)
  • Have sufficient academic and linguistic ability to be able to benefit from an exchange.
  • Be selected by your faculty or academic unit to take part in an exchange.

How to apply

  1. Choose your exchange institution and consider alternatives as a back up.
  2. Arrange to see your exchange coordinator to agree a suitable programe of study for your time abroad.
  3. Submit an expression of interest or application form to your exchange coordinator/student office.
  4. If your application to the Faculty is successful you will be selected to go on exchange and you will be nominated to your exchange institution.
  5. You will be contacted by the exchange institution with instructions on how to complete their application process. 
  6. Attend a pre departure session before the start of your placement.

Financial considerations

Tuition Fees

If you study abroad as an exchange student you will only pay tuition fees to the University of Southampton. No tuition fees are payable at the exchange institution. 


You will need to do some research about your financial position and the cost of living in your destination of choice to work out if you can afford to do the placement that you are interested in.

Costs will vary depending on where you are going. As a budget starting point, you should factor in the cost of tuition fees, insurance, visa, flights, accommodation, as well as food, local transport and social events.

Please be aware that whilst the University of Southampton can provide you with free Travel Insurance there are some countries where you will also need to purchase additional Health Insurance. These countries are Australia, USA and Canada where specific Health Insurance is needed as part of the Visa application.

You may also be required to pay initial deposits and costs before receiving your grants, or show that you have the required funds for immigration, so you must ensure that you have sufficient funds in your bank account to cover these.

The host institution can help you forecast for some of these expenses and it is very advisable that you speak with returned exchange students too, they might also have some tips as to how you can be clever with your money and make it go further!

Find out more about tuition fees and the financial support available in our Fees and Funding section.

Work placements

Some of our degree programmes are able to offer work placements abroad as part of your course. Often, these placements take the form of a research project within a University, teaching placement or internship at a company overseas.

Work placements in Europe may be eligible for funding under the Erasmus+ scheme. Read more at the British Council Work Placement Guide to help with planning a work placement in Europe.

Please contact your personal tutor or exchange coordinator to find out whether this opportunity is available to your course.

Other international opportunities

Year in Employement

The Year in Employment programme is an opportunity to complete a work placement between your penultimate and final year. This is a terrific chance to try an industry aligned to your degree or explore something completely different.

Find out more about the Year in Employment Programme.

British Council - StudyWorkCreate

The British Council's StudyWorkCreate resource has information on various study and work abroad options, including funded opportunities in the Erasmus+, Generation UK China and UKIERI Study India programmes.

Find out more about StudyWorkCreate

Summer schools

Study abroad at a summer school over the summer break. Schools can last four weeks and some entitle students to a full or partial fee waiver.

Find out more

Related information


Language proficiency



Additional support and personal safety

After your exchange

Accommodation at the host country

Depending on where your destination is and whether you are studying or working, you may be able to live in a university residence or you may need to look for private rented accommodation. 

You will be responsible for arranging your accommodation at your host country, although your exchange institution will provide you with details about housing options.

It is essential that you do not arrive at your destination without any accommodation for your first few nights.

Accommodation in Southampton

Before applying for an exchange you need to assess your accommodation situation in Southampton.

If you have signed a full-year contract for a room in Southampton with your friends but are exchanging for a semester, you might be able to sublet your room and you can advertise it to incoming students in SASSH:

  • Incoming students arriving in Semester 1 will start looking for accommodation between April and July.
  • Incoming students arriving in Semester 2 will start looking for accommodation between October and December

If you sign a half year contract for private rented accommodation you can apply for a room in University Accommodation for the other half of the year and your application will be prioritised. 

Find our more about accommodation in halls at the University of Southampton.

Language Proficiency

Find out the language of instruction at the exchange institution as you may be required to be proficient in the host language, although the majority of our partner institutions in East and Southeast Asia, Australasia and North America all teach in English. Check their websites to find more details.

Your exchange coordinator will advise you on the level of language proficiency you need in order to study abroad or work abroad successfully.

How to improve your language skills

  • Plan ahead!
  • Take a language option as one of your credit-bearing units.
  • Do a free evening or lunchtime course at the Centre for Language Study at Avenue Campus with the Southampton Language Opportunity.
  • Use the self-study facilities and materials available at the Centre for Language Study.
  • Find out whether you can take an intensive language course in-country when you first arrive, to help you get by in everyday situations.

Erasmus funding may be available for language courses if you are not studying a language as part of your degree. Contact us at for more details.


Currently, if you are a UK, EU or EEA national and you are travelling to Europe you will not require a visa to visit most of the countries which participate in the Erasmus+ scheme. However, if you are planning to go to Turkey, you will need to make arrangements with the Turkish Consulate in London. If you are travelling outside of Europe, it is very likely that you will need to obtain a visa. Please see the embassy website (UK Office) of the country you will be studying or working in for more information.

International students:

If you required a Tier 4 visa to come and study in the UK, you still need to comply with any monitoring requirements relating to your visa. Please get in touch with the Visa Advice Team to check how they will do this while you are abroad.


It is essential to have suitable insurance to cover you for any eventualities while you are abroad.

Travel and health insurance policy: All students must be covered by a suitable travel / health insurance policy which includes travel to and from your destination and for all the activities you intend to undertake for the whole duration of your stay. If you are going to Europe, your EHIC card will not be enough to cover your expenses! You must leave a copy of your insurance policy with your faculty office before you leave the UK. 

If you intend to go travelling during your period abroad, check if you will need additional cover for any trips longer than 7 days. Activities such as winter sports normally require additional cover. Some countries may require you to have additional health insurance on top of the insurance offered by the University. Please check when researching visas and insurance requirements for your destination.

Please contact your Insurance Company before having any medical treatment while you are abroad.


Free Travel Insurance: If you are undertaking a recognised period of study or work abroad, both inside and outside the EU, the University of Southampton is offering cover with their insurance policy free of charge to all outgoing students undertaking an exchange, work placement or summer school activity. For information about the Free Travel Insurance.  

If you are studying abroad in the USA on a J1 visa you may need to purchase additional USA based Health to comply with visa requirements. This can often be purchased from the host institution or alternatively you can purchase it independently. The University's brokers have a compliant product details of which can be found via this link

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): If you are studying or working in Europe, you must take with you a valid EHIC which will entitle you to access to medical facilities whilst visiting or studying in Europe.  Please note that the EHIC you need for Study (or Work) Abroad in Europe is different from the EHIC for holiday travel.  You cannot apply online for the Study Abroad EHIC - it requires a paper application - see link below.

More information on how to apply for a Study Abroad EHIC

Additional insurance for work placements: Many employers do not cover work placement students as part of their standard employers’ insurance. You will need check with your employer if you are fully insured to work on their premises. You can also contact the University's Insurance Services  or contact the International Office for advice.

Students with disabilities

Disabilities, mental health problems or learning difficulties do not need to be a barrier to study or work abroad. 
If you require additional support and are interested in going on exchange you need to contact your personal tutor and the exchange coordinator for your subject, who can help find out what support is available at different universities, as this will determine your exchange institution/s selection.

We also advise you contact our Enabling Services for confidential advice. You can find more detailed guidelines for exchange students on the Enabling Services website. You can also contact our Exchange and Study Abroad team in the International Office, who are also happy to meet with you to help you prepare for your exchange.

Further information on exchanges in Europe for students with additional needs can be found at:

If you are going on an Erasmus exchange you can apply for additional funding on top of the standard Erasmus grant to aid with additional needs.

Personal safety

Studying or working abroad is not in itself a dangerous experience but, like every person travelling abroad, you may need to be more aware of your personal safety than when you are at home.

It is advisable that you subscribe to the FCO travel advice alerts to receive real-time travel advice updates. 

Before you go:

  • attend an International Office pre-departure information session
  • read the insurance and country information provided by the international office
  • discuss personal safety with your tutor when you are completing your Risk Assessment form
  • visit third year abroad for more pre depature guidance

While you are abroad:

  • take similar precautions to those you would when living or studying in the UK
  • don’t take any unnecessary risks
  • be aware that you may stand out as a foreigner, especially when you first arrive
  • seek local advice where necessary, such as local areas to avoid
  • be alert when travelling alone or at night
  • In case of Emergency follow the Emergency Actions Points provided by the International Office

Please be aware that the first weeks of your time abroad might be stressful and challenging and sometimes you may experience cultural shock, but you will eventually settle in. If you feel homesick or unhappy during your time abroad your should first contact the support services at your exchange institution. You can alternatively contact the University's First Support (emotional or medical crisis):

9am-5pm: +44 (0) 23 8059 7488

After 5pm and weekends: +44 (0) 23 8059 2811


While visiting a partner university or an employer you will participate fully in the academic or work life of the organisation concerned. What you do while you are abroad is an integral part of your Southampton degree and not an additional element.

At the end of your exchange your host institution will issue a Transcript of Records which should be sent to our office or your Faculty's Student Office. The grade conversion and credit equivalence will be done by your Exchange Coordinator or Student Office.

Please be aware that you are reponsible to ensure that your exchange institution sends your final Transcript of Records to the Study Abroad and Exchange Team or to your Exchange Coordinator.

Adjusting to your life back at home

When your time abroad is over and you come back to the UK you may find the first two weeks very exciting as you will be seeing friends and family whom you have not seen for a while and tell them about your experiences abroad. Nonetheless, after this initial excitement you may experience the so called 'Reverse Cultural Shock'. This is a temporary stage that happens while you readapt to your life and routines back home, which will not last for long. For some tips on how to cope with Reverse Cultural Shock please read the post on our blosgsite written by one of our outgoing students.

Contact us

Contact us

Contact the Study Abroad and Exchange Team

ESN Southampton
Generation Study Abroad
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