Apply for a traineeship abroad

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

Almost all degrees can include a traineeship completed in Finland or abroad. If you wish to complete a traineeship outside Finland, you can apply for Erasmus traineeship funding, an international traineeship grant or the University’s traineeship funding.

These instructions offer information on how to find an international traineeship as well as about Erasmus traineeships and funding. Take a look also into wider Traineeships section, maintained by Career services, in instructions for students. 

Who can complete an international traineeship?

To complete a traineeship abroad as part of your studies

  • you must be registered as an attending degree student at the University of Helsinki during the traineeship; you can also embark on an Erasmus traineeship in Europe immediately after completing your Master’s degree
  • you must first find a traineeship position
  • you must agree on the timing of the traineeship and its inclusion in your degree with the traineeship coordinator of your degree programme, discipline, department or faculty; you do not necessarily earn credits for the traineeship, but the traineeship must be recorded on your diploma supplement.
  • All international degree students may apply for the grants for the traineeships abroad, even when applying for the Erasmus traineeship grant.

Finding a traineeship position

Students themselves usually search for suitable traineeship positions. You can visit your unit’s traineeship coordinator to discuss and ask for tips on traineeships commonly completed by students in your degree programme or discipline and on positions that have otherwise been found to be suitable. To agree on the timing of the traineeship and its inclusion in your degree´ the traineeship coordinator of your study programme is the best person to ask from.  Career Services provides advice on the completion of traineeships and how to prepare for a traineeship.

To find a suitable traineeship, use the databases of traineeship positions in the various countries. Do not focus exclusively on open traineeship positions – you can often find the best traineeship opportunities by contacting interesting employers directly. Few traineeship positions are advertised publicly, but many employers are interested in a motivated and skilled trainee when they come across one.

Career Services can help you draw up your CV and application. To get off to a good start, read the job seeking tips. You can search for traineeships outside Finland through RekryNet and other portal listed on the page Find a traineeship.

You can also find a traineeship position through the traineeship programme of another organisation:

International Exchange Services can advise you only on applying for an Erasmus traineeship grant or a travel grant for an international traineeship. When applying for university funding for the traineeship, please contact Career Services at traineeships@helsinki.fi.

Funding for a traineeship outside Finland

You can apply for an Erasmus traineeship grant or a travel grant for an international traineeship. The two grants are mutually exclusive, and no additional funding can be obtained from the Finnish National Agency for Education or the University of Helsinki. However, the trainee may receive a salary from the employer.

A rolling application process applies to both grants (during the academic year), and grant applications must be submitted through the Mobility Online system. Apply for a grant once your traineeship position has been confirmed and the inclusion of the traineeship in your degree has been agreed with your unit. Read the detailed application instructions below.

You can apply to International Exchange Services for one of the following grants for a traineeship outside Finland:

 

1. Erasmus traineeship grant

At least during the autumn 2021 we will follow the instructions and grant terms 2020-2021 below as the funding period has been exceptionally extended. Academic year 2020-2021:

Group 1: 620,00 € / month

Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom

Group 2: 570,00 € / month

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, North Macedonia,Turkey

Students who are guardians of underage children receive additional financial support in the amount of €200 per 30 days. The support is paid even should the child/children stay in Finland. This additional support is calculated on top of the Erasmus student mobility grant also when the traineeship is in question. 

A full calendar month is defined as a consecutive period from any day of the month to the day preceding the same date of the following month (e.g., 3 October–2 November). For any additional days, trainees receive a daily grant calculated as follows: 570€ / 30 days = 19€ or 620€ / 30 days = 20,66€. The European Union funds the Erasmus programme.

When agreeing on the timing of a traineeship with the employer, it should be noted that the minimum duration of an exchange is two full calendar months. The traineeship should be agreed to begin and end on a weekday if no work is performed on weekends.

The actual duration of an Erasmus traineeship is confirmed at its end by consulting the employment certificate. If the traineeship is shorter than planned, any additional amount of the grant will be recovered after the exchange. If the traineeship is shorter than the minimum duration, the grant will be recovered in full.

An extension of a traineeship must be reported to International Exchange Services one month before the end of the original traineeship. In such cases, a new traineeship agreement must be concluded. No additional grant can be given retroactively for an extension after the traineeship has ended.

A grant can be applied for after the traineeship has already begun, but will not be awarded once the traineeship has ended.

Erasmus traineeships can be completed in EU/EEA countries and Turkey in a company or a private or public organisation, but not in an EU organisation or in an organisation that administers EU programmes.

More information on Erasmus traineeships can be found below.

 

2. Travel grant for an international traineeship

 

€300 for Europe (instead of Erasmus, including Russia) and €900 outside Europe

Travel grant for international traineeship is meant for students who cannot apply for Erasmus funding for their traineeship or have not received university funding for the traineeship from Career Services or Ministry of Education (EDUFI).

For more information on applying for a travel grant for an international traineeship, please read the instructions for applying for an international travel grant.

 

Salary and student financial aid

Employers can pay trainees a salary or offer them an apartment or other benefits. The salary or benefits do not affect the receipt of a grant.

If you earn sufficient credits (5 cr per month), you can also apply for student financial aid for the duration of your traineeship. To obtain the traineeship certificate that must be enclosed with your application for student financial aid, please contact the traineeship liaison at International Exchange Services once your application for a traineeship grant has been accepted.

 

Are you employed by the University of Helsinki?

If a student who is employed by the University of Helsinki is awarded an exchange grant, the grant is paid to the student on the first possible payment day after the employment relationship has ended.

  • For tax reasons, university employees cannot simultaneously receive a salary and a grant. In such cases, the tax authorities may regard the grant as wage income, which is later subject to taxation. As a rule, no tax need be paid on grants.
  • To receive a grant, you must apply for a leave of absence from the unit in which you work or must prove that your employment will end by the payment day. The leave of absence can be applied for through the SAP HR portal. In addition, you must announce the last date of your employment (e.g., on a certificate of employment) to the exchange coordinator so that this information can be sent to the service centre.

What is Erasmus traineeship (SMP)

You may apply for Erasmus funding for your traineeship if it lasts from 2 to 12 full months, it is situated in an EU/EEA country or Turkey, Iceland or Macedonia and the traineeship can be included in the degree as compulsory or optional studies. The trainee’s working hours must amount to at least 30 hours per week.

Trainees receive an Erasmus grant that covers part of the traineeship expenses. There is a rolling application process with no specific deadlines. For application instructions, read the instructions on applying for Erasmus traineeship and for daily grant amounts, read the paragraph Funding for a traineeship outside Finland.

Erasmus traineeships can be completed in EU countries,Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia in a company or a private or public organisation, but not in

  • EU organisations (including special agencies at the bottom of the page)
  • organisations that administrate EU programmes (national Erasmus agencies) 

Organisations abroad that represent the student’s home country (e.g., cultural and scientific institutes, regional missions, schools and export centres) are accepted as receiving organisations. In such cases, the multicultural dimension of Erasmus traineeships must be ascertained.

For example, the Council of Europe is a political cooperation and human rights organisation separate from the EU and as such eligible as a receiving organisation for Erasmus trainees. In the contrast, the European Council is not eligible as a receiving organisation for Erasmus trainees because it is the EU’s highest political body.

A traineeship can also be completed at an institution of higher education (e.g., an independent institute), a hospital, a laboratory or a library. In such cases, the trainee’s home unit and International Exchange Services must together determine whether the student’s stay abroad constitutes studies or a traineeship and, thus, which grant the student receives.

NB! Switzerland does not participate in the Erasmus programme. Those wishing to complete an Erasmus traineeship in Switzerland can only do so at Swiss institutions of higher education. If you are planning a traineeship at a Swiss institution of higher education, please contact studentexchange@helsinki.fi.

 

University of Helsinki’s application criteria for Erasmus traineeships

Erasmus traineeship grants can be awarded to the university’s undergraduate (BA), graduate (MA) and postgraduate students (PhD)

  • who have completed at least one academic year of university studies prior to the beginning of the traineeship
  • who complete a traineeship with a duration that is suitable for the 12-month quota at the relevant degree level
  • whose right to study will be valid until the end of the traineeship
  • who do not receive other funding for the traineeship in question from the University of Helsinki or the Finnish National Agency for Education.

To students graduating from the University of Helsinki who apply for financial support for the traineeship before their graduation date

  • whose 12-month quota for the Master’s level includes a sufficient number of months for the duration of the traineeship
  • whose traineeship ends at least 18 months from their graduation date
  • who do not receive other funding for the traineeship in question from the University of Helsinki or the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Remember to indicate on your application that you are a recent graduate by the time of the traineeship (Recent graduate - Yes/No). Give also an additional email address that is valid also after your traineeship period. In the Learning Agreement, your sending institution will only approve the field of your traineeship period to be suitable for your study field. The traineeship will not be included in the degree, but you must still upload a copy of your Transcript of Work after the traineeship on your application account on Mobility Online. If you wish, we can report your accomplished traineeship on Europass-portal.

If you are continuing your studies as PhD student, the recent graduate traineeship uses the 12 months quota from the time of your PhD studies (3rd cycle).

 

Students who study in the joint Master’s programmes of the Erasmus+ programme with a grant cannot simultaneously receive grants for Erasmus student mobility or traineeships.

Bachelor's level students should not graduate during their traineeship. Instead, if a traineeship takes place both prior to and after graduation, it is regarded as two separate mobility periods that require separate applications.

How to apply for Erasmus traineeships grant

Application instructions for Erasmus traineeships

1. Traineeship dates

The Erasmus traineeship grant is calculated for each day. If you do not intend to work on weekends, agree to begin and end the traineeship on a weekday. The traineeship dates will be confirmed from the certificate of employment after the end of the traineeship. Also remember that the duration of a traineeship must not be shorter than two full calendar months.

2. Collection of information on the employer

You must obtain certain information on your place of traineeship to apply for an Erasmus traineeship grant. Collect the necessary information on the relevant form before completing the registration form through Mobility Online. After registration, you cannot edit the information on the registration form. Your employer also needs a list of the codes to describe the workplace. The list is included in the reference material.

You can save these documents on your computer and send them as email attachments to your employer.

3. Carefully read the following instructions and terms:

4. Log in to Mobility Online with your University of Helsinki username and password and complete the application form.

  • NB! The semester (‘term’ at the UH) depends on the first date of traineeship.
  • NB! The responsible person at the University of Helsinki is your unit’s traineeship coordinator or an academic who will take care of the credit transfer. It is not a person working at the International Exchange Services.
  • Please note that your workplace must also have a responsible person (e.g., the supervisor of your mentor).

5. Print out the learning agreement for traineeships and complete it together with your employer and your unit’s representative.

6. Submit the following application enclosures in electronic form (pdf) to your application on Mobility Online.

  • The learning agreement for traineeships completed and signed by the three parties. Keep the original agreement!
  • Unofficial transcript of studies from the University of Helsinki. This is to confirm the stage of your studies and the appropriate quota for your Erasmus months.
  • Remember to confirm that you've uploaded all documents ("Submit the application with attachments")

7. If your application need not be supplemented, you will receive an automatic acceptance message from Mobility Online. You must accept the terms of the grant electronically on your Mobility Online account. Your grant cannot be paid to you until you have accepted the terms.

8. After the acceptance email, you will receive an invitation to take the European Commission’s language skills test (OLS). Read more about this compulsory test associated with the Erasmus grant.

You should begin to draft your application in good time. Obtaining signatures and finding out about the necessary insurance may take a surprisingly long time. A grant can be applied for after the traineeship has already begun, but will not be awarded once the traineeship has ended. The processing of the application and the payment of the grant take at least two months from the submission of the application.

Language skills and Erasmus traineeship

The employer determines the language skills appropriate for an Erasmus traineeship according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Before receiving a grant, the Erasmus trainee must take a language test. The test results do not influence the receipt of the grant or the decision of acceptance by the traineeship organisation, but rather can help you assess your language skills. The European Commission provides university students who participate in Erasmus+ exchange with the opportunity to study most EU languages online.

If the working language of your traineeship site is one of the languages in the Erasmus area, International Exchange Services will email you an invitation to take the language test.

 

If you'd like to improve your skills in other language than your working language (language of the host country), send an email to studentexchange@helsinki.fi.

More on the compulsory language test and the voluntary online-language course here.

Digital skills and Erasmus traineeship

European Commission wants to encourage students to find traineeships places where digital skills may be improved. Such tasks could be for instance social media management, web analytics; digital graphical, mechanical or architectural design; development of apps, software, scripts, or websites; installation, maintenance and management of IT systems and networks; cybersecurity; data analytics, mining and visualisation; programming and training of robots and artificial intelligence applications.

There is a place in the Learning Agreement where you or your host organization must answer whether your tasks during the traineeship would fit in to this category.

 

Insurance

According to the European Commission’s regulations, a traineeship grant cannot be given unless the student has valid health, liability and accident insurance for the duration of the traineeship. A European Health Insurance Card, available from Kela, is sufficient health insurance.

It is recommended that the employer provide the trainee with liability insurance, but this must be negotiated with each employer. The liability insurance must at least cover all damage caused by the trainee in the workplace. If your employer does not offer liability insurance, you must take out a policy yourself and ascertain with your employer that it is sufficiently comprehensive. You can contact your trade union or insurance company to inquire whether liability insurance can be included in your travel or home insurance policy.

University of Helsinki degree students (i.e., not graduates) are covered by accident insurance, which does not reimburse the costs of travel associated with a traineeship or work-related travel during regular working hours. The accident insurance provided by your workplace is probably more comprehensive than that provided by the university. Graduates must arrange their own accident insurance coverage if the employer does not provide it.

We strongly recommend that students acquire travel insurance because the European Health Insurance Card does not reimburse, for example, the costs of air ambulance flights, and the university’s accident insurance does not cover the costs of accidents that occur outside working hours or, for example, cases of pickpocketing.

How to apply for a travel grant for an international traineeship?

Travel grant for international traineeship abroad is meant for students who cannot apply for Erasmus funding for their traineeship or have not received university funding for the traineeship from Career Services or Ministry of Education (EDUFI).

Amounts of the travel grants are €300 to Europe (instead of Erasmus, including Russia) and €900 outside Europe.

Application period for traineeships starting during the academic year 2021-2022 starts 1.9.2021 and ends 31.5.2022.

How to apply

Log in to the Mobility Online registration form with your university username and password to submit your application. The email address you entered on the Mobility Online application form at the registration stage is the one used in all communications related to your application, including grant-related matters. Please read the email messages sent to that address!

Instructions for completing an application through Mobility Online

An application for a travel grant for an international traineeship must be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. A completed application form, including the relevant discipline’s/department’s/faculty’s confirmation that a traineeship completed at the site of your choice can be included in your studies.
  2. A copy of the traineeship agreement or the employer’s written confirmation of the traineeship position. See here more info on traineeship agreement.
  3. A transcript of studies from the University of Helsinki (an unofficial transcript is sufficient).

Application documents will be uploaded to your application account in Mobility Online after registration "Upload application documents"

If your application need not be supplemented, you will receive an automatic acceptance message from Mobility Online. You must accept the terms of the grant electronically on your Mobility Online account. Your grant cannot be paid to you until you have accepted the terms.

 

You can apply for a travel grant for an international traineeship if your destination is outside the Erasmus area or if your traineeship does not meet the criteria for Erasmus traineeships.

The minimum duration of a traineeship is two full calendar months. You can apply for a travel grant once your traineeship position has been confirmed and you have agreed with your unit that the traineeship can be included in your degree.

A travel grant can be awarded if

  • you are a University of Helsinki undergraduate student
  • the traineeship can be included in your (compulsory or voluntary) studies
  • you have completed at least one academic year of university studies prior to the beginning of the traineeship
  • your right to study will be valid at least until the end of the traineeship
  • your traineeship lasts at least two months
  • you will not receive other funding for your traineeship from the University of Helsinki (University subsidy for traineeships) or Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI grants)
  • you have not previously received a travel grant from International Exchange Services or Career Services for a traineeship (a grant obtained for a previous Erasmus traineeship or exchange studies is not considered a drawback)
  • funds intended for travel grants have not yet been used
  • you agree to
    1. immediately notify studentexchange@helsinki.fi of any changes,
    2. submit a copy of your employment certificate within one month of the end of your traineeship to studentexchange@helsinki.fi and
    3. provide feedback through your Mobility Online account after the traineeship; some feedback will be made available in the application portal as reference material for University of Helsinki students planning a traineeship, but your personal details will not be displayed.

A grant can be applied for before the traineeship or after the traineeship has already begun, but will not be awarded once the traineeship has ended. A travel grant can be recovered if the student has provided inaccurate information or does not comply with his or her commitments.

International Exchange Services will not give grants for traineeships that are organized in cooperation with commercial organisations like Asia Exchange, Kilroy etc.

Other ways of funding a traineeship

If you do not apply for either of the above forms of funding, explore the following opportunities:

  • University of Helsinki funding for traineeships.
  • Grants from foundations and funds, see, e.g., AURORA database.
  • Several traineeship programmes (e.g., those of the Finnish National Agency for Education) have their own practices for grants. Grants awarded by the National Agency for Education exclude all forms of funding provided by the University of Helsinki.

International Exchange Services can advise you only on applying for an Erasmus traineeship grant or a travel grant for an international traineeship. When applying for a traineeship through other channels, please contact Career Services at traineeships@helsinki.fi.

Checklist for outgoing trainees

  • As an Erasmus trainee, you must take an online language test. The test is compulsory for all recipients of an Erasmus traineeship grant. You will receive an invitation to the test. The results do not affect decisions on traineeship positions, but are intended for your personal benefit. Recipients of international travel grants need not take the language test.
  • Set targets for your traineeship. See Career Services' pages on how to prepare for the traineeship.
  • Find out whether you need a visa or a work permit for your destination. You are responsible for all practicalities, including making travel arrangements, obtaining a passport, visa and work permit, and arranging insurance and accommodation. If you receive a salary for the traineeship, you will often be officially regarded as an employee rather than a student.
  • You will receive a traineeship certificate via email. If you apply to Kela for student financial aid for your stay abroad or financial support for summer studies, you can use the certificate to prove that the traineeship has been accepted as part of your degree and that you have received a grant. You may also need the certificate to apply for a residence permit.
  • Notify Kela and the local register office about your move away from Finland. Also remember to notify them when you return!
  • Paid traineeships must be reported to Kela. If you are not covered by the social security system of your target country, make sure that you remain covered by the Finnish system. If you work outside the EU/EEA and receive a small salary, you can apply to remain within the Finnish social security system. More information can be obtained from Kela.

Register as an attending student at the University for the duration of your traineeship. Grants are available only to attending University of Helsinki degree students (with the exception of Erasmus traineeships for recent graduates).

Extension of a traineeship

The extension of an Erasmus traineeship must be applied for at least one month before the end of the original traineeship period. Trainees can receive an Erasmus grant for their extended traineeship period if applied for on time.

If you wish to continue your Erasmus traineeship at the same organisation and your employer agrees to this, follow these instructions:

1. Log in to your Mobility Online account

2. Print the notification of changes form and enter the new dates on it. Make any other changes to the original learning agreement.

3. Ask your employer and International Exchange Services to accept the changes. An email confirmation is also sufficient.

4. Deliver the notification of changes as an email attachment to studentexchange@helsinki.fi.

The travel grant for international traineeships (usually for destinations outside the EU) is not tied to the duration of the traineeship. Students who extend their traineeship must ask their home unit for confirmation that the extension does not, for example, unnecessarily delay their studies. Remember to inform International Exchange Services about the extension so that we can remind you at the right time about the submission of the employment certificate, which is one of the requirements for receiving the travel grant.

Returning home

  • At the end of your traineeship, request an employment certificate from your employer. The certificate must include the exact beginning and ending dates of your traineeship period. If necessary, you can use a template for the employment certificate. Your unit may require you to submit, for example, a traineeship report before you can earn credits.
  • Upload a copy of your employment certificate no later than one month after the end of your traineeship to your application account on Mobility Online.
  • Complete the feedback survey within one month of the end of the traineeship. Erasmus: Use the European Commission’s EU Survey system, for which you will receive an automatic invitation.Travel grant for an international traineeship: You can provide feedback on your Mobility Online account (log in with your university username and password) under Enter the feedback questionnaire.
  • When you have finished your traineeship you should apply for credits. The traineeship coordinator designated by your degree programme will approve the credits for your traineeship. The practices regarding the traineeship report vary from one degree programme to another, but generally, a report (with a certificate of employment as an attachment) is required to obtain credit. Other learning assignments may also be required for obtaining credit for the traineeship.

Making use of international expertise after a traineeship

An event "What I learned during my exchange" is organised twice an academic year. The purpose of the session is to help students reflect on how they can use their international expertise in the job market and highlight it better on job applications or CVs. Events and time tables are listed on page Information sessions.

Contact International Exchange Services

International Exchange Services helps you with your grant applications.

Remember to contact us also if something unexpected would happen during your stay abroad or you'd like to abort or extend your stay:

studentexchange@helsinki.fi

Phone number, consultation hours and technical support to Mobility Online can be found here.