Who can apply as a free mover student?
Well, practically everyone. A free mover semester is a the study abroad semester choice that gives you the maximum flexibility as an applicant. However, some universities have entry requirements also for free mover students. Bear in mind that those requirements, if they exist, are 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 them here:
1) You should be a student (or not)
Some institutions require you to be a student, while others accept also non-students. I would say that, if you want to get the best out of the free mover experience, you should be a student, as your credits are going to be recognized once you come back and hence you will not lose a semester in your study journey. 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) In case only students are allowed to apply to that specific institution, make sure that you're not planning to go abroad 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 even with organized programs. Leaving during the first year of master is a way more common procedure, but you should always check with your institution if you could leave in this case.
3) Have clear in mind whether you're leaving for studying, writing your thesis or doing research at the hosting institution
As you see in the University Finder, some universities only accept research students. Furthermore it’s easier to be admitted for research even if the selected university hasn’t posted an announce targeted only to research students. If you’re planning to study at a foreign institution, make sure that the level of the selected courses match yours at your current one. For example, if you are enrolled in a master program, usually you’re not allowed to take bachelor level courses. Also, make sure to check the semester: courses at the hosting institution can be offered only in a specific semester or in both semesters. Pick the right ones!
4) Check the language requirements
The vast majority of universities that you find in the University Finder offer courses in English. Also other prominent languages such as German, French, Spanish and Portuguese are included. In every case, the hosting university could ask for a language certificate in order to prove your ability to attend properly the courses that you’re going to take there. If you’re reading this webpage without any difficulty you shouldn’t have problems during your next experience abroad if you choose English-taught courses. However, if a language certification is mandatory for the selected destination, you should be ready with one in hand.
5) EU/EEA citizen?
While it’s not common, there are some universities that accept only students from the European Economic Area, or that have other citizenship requirements for their applicants.
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 less competitive option for a student wishing to study abroad for a semester, there are some universities that require a certain GPA to applicants. Maybe they receive too many requests and this could be the only method for them to select only the necessary 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 have any new strange requirement that I have not covered in this article, please write me.
I wish you the best,