Who can apply?
Discover if you are the right candidate for a free mover semester
A free mover semester is a the study abroad semester choice that gives you the maximum flexibility as an applicant. However, universities have entry requirements for free mover students. Bear in mind that those requirements, if they exist, are usually stated in the destination webpages of the universities that you find in the university finder. In order to make it easier for you, let’s discuss some of the possible ones here:
1) You should be a currently enrolled student
Some institutions require you to be a student, while others accept also non-students. Obviously, if you want your credits to be recognized once you come back from your study abroad experience, you should be enrolled as a student at a higher education institution. Nonetheless, you could also be a passionate ex-student, or non-student, who wants to expand its knowledge in a specific field without committing to a full degree program, with the bonus of doing it abroad in a new and exciting environment.
2) You usually can’t leave during your first year of study
This has to be specified for obvious reasons: you’re not able to leave your institution during your first year of bachelor. That applies even to organized mobility programs. Leaving during the first year of master is way more common, but you should always check with your institution if you could do it.
3) Have clear in mind whether you're leaving for studying, writing your thesis or doing research at the hosting institution
It should be clear which kind of applicant you are: sometimes institutions have specific program options for incoming free movers. You can see if a university is seeking “research only” applicants by its title on this website, or either on its landing webpage.
Furthermore, if you’re planning to study at a foreign institution, make sure that the level of the selected courses matches yours at your current one. For example, if you are enrolled in a master program, you’re usually not allowed to take bachelor level courses, while the opposite can hold true.
Also, make sure to check the semester: courses at the hosting institution could be offered during a specific semester. Pick the right ones!
4) Check the language requirements
The vast majority of universities that you find on the university finder offer courses in English. Alongside, other prominent languages such as German, French, Spanish and Portuguese are included. In each case, the hosting university could ask you for a language certificate, to prove your ability to attend properly the courses that you’re going to choose.
I can assure you that if you’re reading this webpage without any difficulty, you shouldn’t have problems during your next experience abroad if you select English-taught courses. However, if a language certification is needed for the selected destination, you should be ready with one in hand.
While it’s not common, there are some universities that only accept students from specific countries/regions. Usually this requirement is clearly stated on the selected university’s landing page.
6) Money could matter
There are cases of universities that require you to prove that you have sufficient funds for sustaining your expenses during your free mover experience.
7) GPA could matter
Even if this is usually not the case, since a free mover semester should be the most open and least competitive option for a student wishing to study abroad for a semester, there are some universities that require a certain GPA for their applicants. It can happen in highly-requested institutions, as they receive too many applications, and this could be the only method for them to select a predefined number of students out of the crowd.
I hope I haven’t scared you out. It’s not as difficult as it seems to be. All of these requirements could emerge as well while preparing an organized study abroad period such as the Erasmus+ one. It’s not a matter of free movers, it’s a matter of institutions and regulations. If you feel lost or if you see any new strange requirement that I have not covered in this article, please write me.