What is a free mover?

By definition, a Free Mover is a student participating in credit mobility outside an organized student mobility program. A Free Mover chooses a host institution and organizes their credit mobility at that institution. A Free Mover can pick a destination anywhere in the world.

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Free mover mobility is short-term and independent. Let’s dig deeper into these two essential terms that define the format of a free mover experience.

When studying abroad, you have two options:

  • Long-term mobility
  • Short-term mobility

Historically, economists and other social scientists have greatly emphasized what should be considered long-term and what belongs to the short-term. Here, as a helpful turning point, we can consider one year.

So, long-term mobility is when the stay abroad period lasts more than one year, while short-term mobility is a study abroad experience of one year or less.

Why opt for short-term mobility?

Enrolling in a multi-year program abroad might be daunting, especially for candidates who will have their first academic experience overseas. It takes good faith to commit to spending the next 3 or 4 years of your life in a place you may have never lived.

You are bound to a big-time and financial investment that cannot be interrupted before its natural end. You can lose several academic years and a significant portion of your savings if you quit for whatever reason.

On the other hand, short-term mobility offers a fantastic alternative for those who want to experience the benefits of living in a different country without a long-term commitment for a variety of reasons:

An ideal blend between a vacation and a relocation

A semester abroad is the perfect sweet spot between a vacation and a complete relocation.

A vacation might be really cool, but it is just a stay in a place as a tourist for a short period of time, without any actual involvement in the local life. Hence, it represents a great experience for people wanting to have fun and sightseeing. However, because of its shortness, this does not imply a deep dive into the destination’s culture.

On the other hand, a complete relocation allows you to experience life in the selected place as a real informal citizen. This is the complete opposite of a vacation, and you will be able to deeply immerse yourself in the new culture you are living in. Still, it usually requires a great commitment, such as enrollment into a full degree program or the decision to work permanently in a specific place.

Conversely, a semester abroad lets you experience the best of both worlds: the carefulness of a holiday, blended with the more serious part of living abroad as an expat, without taking the responsibility of a full relocation.

A practical choice for your CV

You can proudly showcase your study abroad semester on your CV. Employers see an international experience as a sign of maturity and ambition. Should you want more, a semester format allows you to have multiple experiences during your academic life, making your profile even more appealing and unique.

A convenient time format

Costs sustained abroad are time-dependent: the more you stay abroad, the more you spend. On the other hand, short stays, like vacations, are also pretty expensive since you stay in hotels, and travel expenses are divided into fewer days. Hence, a semester is a very cost-effective choice since you get the benefits of a longer stay, for example, a long-term accommodation option, without staying too long abroad, lowering the costs.

Organized vs independent mobility

Now that we have described short-term mobility as an appealing choice, let’s dig deeper into the two options you have when choosing a semester abroad:

Organized mobility

Organized mobility is an incredible opportunity for students. It allows partially or fully subsidized study-abroad periods for thousands of students and researchers worldwide. Destinations are based on pre-made bilateral agreements between participating institutions. Governmental and extra-governmental entities usually fund these programs through scholarships awarded based on merit.

This study abroad choice has some known potential issues, such as:

  • Only some people can or want to participate in an organized mobility program, as scholarships can be challenging to obtain or even completely unavailable.
  • The destination choice might be unappealing, especially for students who have not secured a top spot.
  • Due to its bilateral nature, an organized exchange implies that two students are swapping their spots in their respective alma maters, bounding them to the agreement. Hence, it might happen that a student from University B is willing to go to University A because of its prestige, English-taught courses, and interesting subjects, while University A is struggling to send students to University B because of the latter’s non-English taught curriculum, weak course offering, and bureaucratic admission procedures. This creates imbalances between the two counterparts, which might be unable to fulfill the agreed-upon exchange numbers, often resulting in unfulfilled exchange quotas and limited opportunities for students at less favored institutions.

Independent mobility

Independent mobility is an alternative to organized mobility. If we define independent mobility, it basically means any mobility that is not organized.

Independent mobility is totally flexible and tailored to the applicant. Participants can design their own adventures without being tied to specific agreements. Academic reputation, language of instruction, and unique locations are some of the key drivers considered while planning an independent experience abroad. This freedom eliminates the imbalances often found in organized mobility, making independent mobility a unique international adventure.

Pros and cons of free mover mobility

As said, free mover mobility is short-term and independent. As such, it has its own advantages.
Let’s define them:

Free mover pros

Complete freedom of choice on the destination: That’s right! You can go wherever you want as a free mover, with the sole condition being that the hosting institution accepts independent short-term mobility applicants. With wearefreemovers, you can effortlessly apply to over 500 top-notch institutions worldwide.

Ease of application: Navigating the application process for organized mobility programs can be quite demanding, with numerous requirements and complex procedures. Free mover mobility, on the other hand, is now easier than ever. On wearefreemovers, you can select your ideal destination and send applications with just a few clicks using a single profile on the platform. It’s a breeze compared to the traditional routes. Try it for yourself to see how simple planning your free mover journey can be on wearefreemovers.

Tailored academic experience: As a free mover, you have the flexibility to choose courses and programs that align perfectly with your academic goals and interests. This ensures that your study abroad experience is the best one you can ever wonder. Unlike some organized programs where course options might be limited, free movers can customize their education to fit their needs perfectly.

Free mover cons

Financial burden: One of the biggest drawbacks of being a free mover is the cost. Unlike organized programs that often come with scholarships or financial aid, free movers usually must cover their tuition fees, travel expenses, and living costs independently. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if you choose to study in a country with a high cost of living. However, by carefully selecting affordable destinations and planning your budget, you can manage these expenses effectively. wearefreemovers provides resources and tips to help you find cost-effective options and plan your finances wisely, making your study abroad experience more attainable.

Administrative challenges: Organizing free mover mobility by yourself can be complex and overwhelming. There are many steps involved, from finding the right institution and sending out applications to securing accommodation and navigating visa requirements. Additionally, transferring your credits back to your home university can be tricky and require thorough planning and coordination. These challenges can be daunting. We are here to simplify the process by providing guidance and support at each stage, helping you manage the administrative workload, and ensuring a smoother experience.

Studying abroad for a semester has never been easier

With wearefreemovers, you can arrange an entire semester abroad, or even an academic year, with a simple and easy platform. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, and it is also a useful one since the credits obtained as a free mover abroad count towards your degree. You’ll get to study and take exams just like you do at home, but in a whole new environment with fresh faces and exciting opportunities. Get ready to explore new cultures, make friends from around the world, and experience education in a completely different setting: an experience you will forever remember.