Corona: information for outgoing exchange students

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The International Exchange Services has created this page for outgoing exchange students on COVID-19 virus and its influence on student exchanges. Please follow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland as well as your exchange destination's guidelines and act in accordance with the guidance. 

Instructions for exchange students selected for the academic year 2020-2021 or applying / selected for the academic year 2021-2022

Updated 30.6.2021 / How to prepare for exchange: vaccinations

International Exchange Services cannot predict how the spreading of the coronavirus can affect the upcoming exchanges. The situation of the exchanges beginning in the the spring 2021 and during the academic year 2021-20221 can be determined only close to the beginning of the semester. Below you can find instructions on how you should prepare for your exchange during these exceptional circumstances.

When the University of Helsinki has selected you to go on exchange, you can apply to your exchange destination normally unless your exchange destination notifies otherwise. The University of Helsinki will nominate you as an exchange student to your host university.

  • If you need stamps or signatures to your application, you can send the documents to studentexchange@helsinki.fi to be signed.
  • In this exceptional situation, you should use the Transcript and Certificate of Student Status from Sisu. During the exceptional situation, this instruction is valid for all exchange destinations.
  • You do not need a paper copy of your Transcript or Certificate of Student Status during the exceptional situation. International Exchange Services can agree on this with your exchange destination, if necessary. Please contact International Exchange Services, if needed.

How to prepare for exchange:

  • When the University of Helsinki has selected you to go on exchange, take part in pre-departure orientation.
  • In the uncertain situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic, we advise you to only make mandatory payments related to your exchange, for example, regarding insurance.
  • In addition to the decisions made by the University of Helsinki and your exchange destination, officials in Finland (including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and in the host country may make decisions which determine whether your exchange can take place.
  • Purchase a comprehensive travel insurance before buying the flight tickets and paying other expenses related to the exchange. When you get the travel insurance, check if it includes crisis support.
  • When you have received an acceptance e-mail from your exchange destination and you buy your flight tickets, get a cancellation/change cover.
  • When you are about to leave for exchange, file a travel notification.
  • Please note that cancellation of exchange means that the mobility grant from the International Exchange Services will not be paid. If your exchange is cancelled, you will be responsible for the costs which have occurred.
  • If your host university or host country requires a mandatory COVID-19 test in order for you to arrive in the country, visit a private health clinic to get tested. You have to cover the costs of the test yourself. It is also your own responsibility to pay for the housing costs of a possible quarantine. 
  • If your host university or host country requires a vaccination certificate in order to arrive in the country, your host university will guide you with immigration. Please note that the situation may change rapidly and instructions regarding immigration and vaccinations can change.
  • If you have received the first vaccination in Finland before your exchange begins, but have not received the second vaccination yet, please check whether it will have an influence on your exchange.  You can visit Finland during your exchange for the second vaccination, if it is possible from the point of view of your studies at the host university and the border restrictions of your host country. You will need to pay for the journey to Finland yourself.  Please contact the health authorities of your own municipality for scheduling your vaccinations.
  • NB! Each host country has its own rules about which vaccination is used in the country and about whether it is possible to get a vaccination as an exchange student in the host country
  • If your host university or host country informs you about a mandatory quarantine upon arrival, relay the message you received right away to studentexchange@helsinki.fi so that we can update your exchange dates in Mobility Online. An earlier start to the exchange may affect the payment date of your scholarship. In Erasmus exchanges, a mandatory quarantine can be included in the duration of the exchange and thus the scholarship amount.
  • You can read about other students' exchange experiences during COVID-19 on instagram (in Finnish). 

Can I shorten, interrupt or cancel my exchange?

  • You can choose to cancel your exchange by your own decision. There is no time limit for the cancellation. 
  • If you were selected for the entire academic year, you can ask International Exchange Services to shorten your exchange to autumn or spring semester only. Please note that this is possible only if your exchange destination accepts exchange students for one semester.
  • You can interrupt your exchange, if you so wish. If you want to interrupt your stay and return to Finland to complete your host university's courses from here (in case the host university allows this), contact UH's International Exchange Services at studentexchange@helsinki.fi as soon as possible. The interruption may affect your mobility grant.

Can I postpone my exchange by my own decision or because the exchange destination requires me to do so?

  • University of Helsinki has decided that it is not possible to postpone exchange to the next academic year.
  • For students who were selected for the academic year, cancellation of exchange for autumn semester means that the exchange is shortened to spring semester or cancelled, if it is not possible to postpone exchange to spring.
  • University of Helsinki has decided that it is not possible to postpone your exchange by your own decision from autumn to spring semester if your exchange destination does not require you to do so.

Can I do my exchange from Finland online, if the exchange destination cancels the physical exchange and suggests an online alternative?

  • If the exchange destination cancels the physical exchange and suggests an online alternative, and you wish to use the opportunity, please contact UH International Exchange Services right away..
  • An online means completing courses from the exchange university while staying in Finland.
  • If the exchange is completely online, you will not get a scholarship for it.

If your exchange in 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 is cancelled:

  • If your exchange in 2020-2021 or in 2021-2022 is cancelled, please note that, unfortunately, International Exchange Services cannot offer a compensatory exchange place.

Applying for exchange again:

  • Cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic will not harm your chances of being selected during new application rounds in the future. If you wish to apply again to the same or other exchange destination, your application will be evaluated based on the same criteria as the other applicants. If you apply again to the same or other exchange destination, because of the coronation situation, and you are selected, you must give up your previous exchange destination, when you get a new one. Tell us about this in your motivation letter.

Coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki

On the University's main page, you find updates on the most current information about the coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki.

The effects of the coronavirus on studies at the University of Helsinki

For those currently studying at the University of Helsinki, we have gathered information on the effects of the coronavirus on your studies

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Students should follow the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland instructions.