Studies, traineeship or summer school abroad?

Each year, a large number of students at the University of Tartu spend time studying abroad. You can locate study abroad programmes on your own, or you may take advantage of one of the many opportunities offered by the university. While you are abroad, you remain enrolled as a student of the University of Tartu; the courses you complete there will be credited toward your studies at UT and your studies abroad will be reflected in your graduation documents. You can study abroad for one semester or for an entire academic year at a time, and with sufficient planning, you can even do it more than once.

As an exchange student, you will study for free at a foreign university; you may also receive a stipend or other forms of financial support. 

To ensure that your application for exchange studies and your subsequent studies abroad run as smoothly as possible and that there are no major obstacles, the application process must be carefully thought out and planned. Here are some recommendations.


  • Think about your aim – do you want to study abroad or would you prefer to gain experience by undergoing a traineeship abroad? 
  • Consider that the process of planning your time abroad can take a year to a year and a half. 
  • Keep in mind that your exchange studies are counted as a part of your studies at UT, i.e. contribute to the completion of your UT curriculum.
  • The majority of students at the University of Tartu study abroad with the European Union's Erasmus programme, through which specific departments of the university carry out student exchange cooperation with over 500 universities across Europe. The newest opportunity is Erasmus+ International, which gives students the ability to study at universities outside of Erasmus+ Europe programme countries. Program participants are guaranteed free tuition and a grant.
  • A significant number of student exchanges take place under student exchange agreements between UT and its partner universities in USA, Asia, Australia, Russia and Georgia. Funding options vary from university to university. 
  • In addition, the University of Tartu is a member of the ISEP exchange programme, which offers study opportunities in America and other parts of the world (over 300 universities in 50 countries). These universities guarantee free tuition, accommodation and meals (or an allowance to cover meal costs).
  • As a member of the Utrecht Network, the University of Tartu can also send exchange students to the universities of the AENMAUI and Reari-RJ networks. AEN is made up of 6 universities in Australia; MAUI comprises 18 universities in the United States; Reari-RJ is composed of 14 universities from the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Exchange students are guaranteed free tuition. Expenses for accommodation, food, travel, visa and study materials must be covered by the student.
  • Master's and PhD students can apply for support from the Kristjan Jaak programme (administered by the Archimedes Foundation) to study abroad for up to one year. Students are guaranteed a one-off travel allowance and a monthly subsistence allowance. To apply for support, the student must select a foreign university and secure the university's agreement to admit them as an exchange student. Students must contact the university they are interested in themselves.
  • It is also possible to study abroad as an exchange student with the help of grants offered by different countries and intermediated by the Archimedes Foundation. Grant rules vary by country, but in most cases students can apply via the Archimedes Foundation. In addition, there are several organisations and funds that support studying abroad as an exchange student - the important thing is to find the most suitable offer.
  • Keep an eye on the offers on the Competitions Currently Open webpage and on weekly student newsletter.
  • Familiarise yourself through the section for exchange students on the website of the foreign university of interest with what they teach and at which level and in which language they provide instruction, what the academic calendar looks like, what the possibilities are for accommodation, etc. If necessary, you can contact the foreign university. 
  • Think about the expenses related to living abroad and consider whether you will be able to manage. You can find information about the possibility of free tuition, stipends, free accommodation and other benefits in the programme's/university's info materials or in the competition notice.
  • When looking for a traineeship, find out whether the hosting organization offers monetary compensation. In addition, you can look over the scholarships offered by the University of Tartu Foundation.

Check the competition notice for the:
- terms and conditions of application and
- for which documents must be submitted in which manner,
- to whom and when to submit.
Follow the general recommendations related to application documents.
Make plans for proving your language skills – do you have an acceptable language certificate or do you have to register for a test? The competition notice specifies which certificates are acceptable (an international test, a test taken in the UT Language Centre, a certificate proving the completion of a language course, assessment of a language instructor).
Several competitions require a letter of recommendation from a teaching staff member of your specialization. Think about it early who you should turn to and give the teaching staff member sufficient information and time.

The following is basic information about transferring non-ECTS credits back to the University of Tartu. It is important to remember that these are just guidelines and credit transfer can vary from one institution to the next. Always consult with your host and home coordinators as you design your Learning Agreement and Study Plan. These credit transfers are not guaranteed.

Contact Hours = labs, lectures, seminars, time in a classroom, etc.

1 ECTS = 0,6-0,8 Australian Credits / 1 Australian credit =1,2-1,6 ECTS
In Australia, the credits system can vary by university. In some universities 12 credits is equal to 7,5 ECTS, in other universities 2 credits is equal to 7,5 ECTS. It is important to check which credit system your host university uses so that you may take the correct number of courses.

There is no unified university credit system in Brazil, even different programmes offered at the same university may have different standards of credits. Credits are usually determined by the number of study hours, both contact and individual. When studying at a Brazilian university, you should request credit transfer information directly from the specific faculty or department you will study with. In some universities 1 credit = 1.5 ECTS and exchange students generally take 20 credits per semester.

Canadian credit will transfer to ECTS differently depending on the type of institution and the province the institution is located in. For the most accurate information you should contact your host university coordinator or you faculty at UT.

1 ECTS = approximately .66 Chinese Credits / 1 Chinese Credit = 1.5 ECTS
There is not a standard university crediting system in China. Some universities follow the above conversion and other universities follow an American crediting system (1 credit = 2 ECTS). It is important to check which system your host university follows.

1 ECTS = approximately .66 Japanese Credits / 1 Japanese Credit = 1.5 ECTS
Some Japanese universities are adopting the UCTS (UMAP (University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific) Credit Transfer Scheme). UCTS are similar to ECTS in how they work within the region. 1 UCTS can transfer back as 1.5 or 1.6 ECTS. However, not all Japanese universities use this system. Some use a system similar to the US where 1 credit = 2 ECTS.

1 ECTS = 1 Russian Credit
Many Russian universities use a credit system (CU, credit unit) similar to ECTS and therefore credits are often transferred on a one to one basis.

South Korea
1 ECTS = 0.5 S. Korean Credits / 1 S. Korean Credit = 2 ECTS
Many universities in South Korea use a similar credit system to the US system based on the number of contact hours. Most classes are 3 credits (6 ECTS) and will meet three times a week.

The United Kingdom
1 ECTS = 2 UK Credits / 1 UK Credit = 0.5 ECTS
Similar to ECTS, the UK credit system (CATS in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales; SCQF in Scotland) is generally based on total number of study hours and not contact hours. Average courses are 10 credits (5 ECTS) or 20 credits (10 ECTS). Courses in the sciences tend to have more contact hours than courses in the humanities.

The United States
1 ECTS = 0.5 US Credits / 1 US Credit = 2 ECTS
US credits are most often determined by the number of contact hours. Generally, courses are 3 credits (6 ECTS) and will meet two to three times a week. More intense courses are often 4 credits (8 ECTS) and might meet four times a week. It is important to show up for all class meetings as participation and attendance are almost always part of the final grade.

The above is informational material to be used as a reference. Please be aware that not all universities follow the listed credit systems and that all final decisions about credit transfer will be made by your faculty at the University of Tartu. For more accurate information please contact your host university contact or your academic advisor.

  • Submit your documents to the proper person on time and in the manner specified in the competition notice.
  • All the documents must usually be (please read carefully what is needed):
                               - according to the competition original documents or certified copies and
                               - the letter of recommendation and letter of motivation must be signed by the author.
  • Keep in mind that the selection of UT is given notice of within two or three weeks, but the final decision is made by the foreign university and this may take several months, depending on the deadline of the university.
  • The compliance with the requirements of the foreign university after being selected by the UT often presumes very fast and prompt actions.

Traineeship Abroad

One of the best ways how to gain practical knowledge, professional work experience and put yourself to the test during your studies is to do traineeship abroad.

As you begin to prepare to go abroad, read about the application process, the requirements, and the documents that must be submitted before and after your traineeship.

It is highly recommended to speak first with your programme director or supervisor of your Institute, most likely they have contacts and partners in other universities, laboratories or projects.
There are also organisations who are mediating internship offers, one of them is AIESEC. We also recommend internship portal called ERASMUSINTERN, which has traineeship offers from all over the world. Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) offers traineeship to the United States.
We also recommend to check our Traineeship Blog where 
students who have returned from an international traineeship write about their experience. 

University of Tartu is announcing internship abroad offers in Student Newsletter.

The best way to finance your traineeship in Europe is to apply for the Erasmus+ traineeship grant. Traineeship planned to be carried out within the Erasmus programme can be done under any kind of traineeship course or as recent graduate traineeship. You can read more information and details from Erasmus+ traineeship website.

It is important to know what kind of documents you need to submit and prepare before and after the traineeship. Students who plan to complete a traineeship abroad must familiarise themselves with the University's general regulations for studying abroad Studies Regulations.

Before going abroad for the traineeship it is necessary to apply for the recognition of the traineeship abroad through study and traineeship plan (specifying the content of the traineeship) and prepare Online Learning Agreement for Trainees (trilateral agreement which explains activities, evaluation and monitoring plan of the traineeship in addition to the rights and obligations that the three parties have agreed). If you are planning to finance your traineeship through Erasmus+ traineeship programme, please use Erasmus+ OLA for traineeship and follow the guidlines on the Erasmus+ Traineeship website

Before going abroad for the traineeship it is necessary to apply for the recognition of the traineeship abroad and prepare Training Agreement. In order to do that, you need to submit to your Institute/College/School study coordinator:

  1. Study plan and a traineeship plan specifying the content of the traineeship
  2. Trilateral training agreement on paper (which explains activities, evaluation and monitoring plan of the traineeship in addition to the rights and obligations that the three parties have agreed).

For submitting the documents do like this:

  • agree on the content and program of the traineeship both with your programme director at UT and with the supervisor at the receiving organisation
  • add agreed traineeship program to your traineeship plan and training agreement and get it signed by UT
  • send the trilateral training agreement to the receiving organisation for signing
  • fill in the study plan and submit it together with the traineeship plan and training agreement to the Institute/College/School. The student will be registered as a student doing a traineeship abroad.
  • Please note that the trilateral training agreement doesn´t have to be an original, it can be scanned or faxed copy of the signed agreement.

It is advisable that all traineeship students have the accident and liability insurance because not all receiving organisations are providing this type of insurance to their trainees. You can choose yourself the most suitable insurance, but here are some packages by EduCare World, Crystal Studies and EduCare24.

- submit the transcript of records, traineeship certificate, evaluation sheets from the supervisor in host institution or traineeship report to your Institute/College/School study coordinator at UT;
- supervisor notes the result to the traineeship plan and signs it;
- show in your study plan the ECTS that you want to be transferred to your curriculum;
- the ECTS will be transferred by the institute or college ( PhD students who are doing the traineeship abroad within the Doctoral thesis will not have ECTS transferred but mentioned at the attestation).

Please note that students doing their traineeship abroad with Erasmus+ grant need to submit the copy of the traineeship certificate also to the Traineeship Coordinator at Study Abroad Centre. More information available here.

Summer Schools

You will find a selection of summer school offers. Each program has its own application process. Please visit the links below to find more information. If you are looking for summer school opportunities in Europe please see also the Summer School in Europe homepage