Frequently Asked Questions

Question Topics:

Funding:

  • Are there financial support available for students studying abroad?

Yes, there are financial support available for registered Stellenbosch University students.

See the following links for Semester Exchanges  and Summer and Winter Schools.

  • I am applying for an international scholarship, what tips can you provide to increase my chances?

Here are some really good advice articles from the European Funding Guide:

  • I want funding for a Contiki tour, can I apply for funding?

No, funding will only be provided for approved academic excursions.

  • I would like to apply for funding for an international co-curricular opportunity. Where can I apply?

The funding options available through SU International are limited to academic related activities.

You can, however, apply for funding from the Stellenbosch University Co-curricular Support Fund or USKOF. Please contact FVZS Institute for more information.

  • Is study abroad affordable?

It can be affordable, but at the same time it can also be expensive.  To a large extent it depends on the choices you make, specifically in regards to the choice of  host institution or  summer school programme. Some semester exchanges and summer school programmes are better funded through scholarships and waivers; so it is important to do your homework and choose the option that fits best with your financial needs and position.


I want to study abroad:

  • Can I take part in a summer school and a semester exchange?

In principle a student can attend per degree programme one summer or winter school and one semester exchange.

  • How do I choose a partner university?

There are many factors that you should take in consideration when making a decision about a partner institution; generally, the most important ones are the following:

  • Academics: If you need to transfer credits back to Stellenbosch University, you need to identify an institution which offers equivalent or similar courses (content / credit weight etc. ) to those on offer at Stellenbosch University.  The same principle counts for going on exchange for research purposes. You will not be able to do research at an institution which does not have the research capacity or skills to accommodate you.
  • Language: It is important to enquire about the language of tuition. If you can’t speak German, there is no point in applying for courses being presented in German.
  • Finances: If you need financial support to go abroad, it is important to look at options where additional funding is available. That could be in the form of a housing scholarship or a monthly stipend. Inform the exchange coordinator if you are depended on funding.
  • Personal preference is also important, and therefore start looking for appropriate partners in the countries of your preference.
  • I want to do a full degree abroad, what do I need to do?

Our focus is on in degree mobility, for example exchanges and summer schools (or other short term options). We can steer you in the right direction, but that is not our main business. Also, when you are doing a full degree abroad you are not a registered student at Stellenbosch University any more, which means that you don’t qualify for funding or for other support. A good resource for full degree postgraduate studies is StudyPortals.

  • I would like to go abroad, what do I need to do?

You have taken the first step – but now you need to be more specific. I can’t answer your question before you provide me with more information. For how long do you want to go? When do you want to go abroad? Where do you want to go? These are questions that you need to answer before you can really answer “What do I need to do?”.

  • Is it possible to do a semester exchange at non-partner university?

It is possible, but you need to take in consideration that we can’t provide the same level of assistance as we do with students going to partner universities. Also, there are financial implications. Since you will be studying at a non-partner university they will most probably charge tuition fees which can be substantial. Students studying at partner universities are also given preference in terms of funding opportunities at Stellenbosch University.

  • Must you be a South African citizen to be able to make use of the opportunities coordinated by SU International?

No, you don’t have to be a South African citizen to study abroad through SU International. It is just important that you are registered for a full degree at Stellenbosch University and comply with the other specified requirements. Certain scholarship programmes like for example the Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme has specific requirements in terms of citizenship.

  • My marks is not good, can I go abroad?

No, you need to have at least a weighted average of 60 %.

  • What is the chances of my application being successful?

You will never know until you apply, but make sure that you comply with the requirements.

Take the following words to heart: “…anyone can cook, but the only the fearless can be great.”

  • What makes a good motivation for a study abroad application?
  • Be specific, vague motivations are not normally well received
  • Motivate your exchange or summer school with academic reasons
  • It is always good to be able show that you have done your research in regards to the institutions you would like to visit
  • Where can I find a list of partner universities of Stellenbosch University?

See the following page: Partner Universities

  • Will I need to find my own housing?

The partner university or summer school will provide assistance in terms of finding appropriate accommodation.  Please follow the requirements and suggestions they provide. In most cases accommodation can only be booked after you have been accepted by the host institution or summer school.


Questions about Visas and Passports:

  • Are there costs involved with a visa application?

Normally there are costs involved. The costs could consist of a processing fee, but also proof of financial means. Countries normally like to make sure that you have enough funds available to cover living and other expenses. You also have to take in consideration that there are also transport costs to and from the embassy or consulate, or possible courier costs (DHL, Fedex etc.).

  • Can I apply for a visa before I get accepted at the host institution?

No, but you can check the requirements beforehand and start making the necessary arrangements to acquire the required documents.

The letter of acceptance from the host importance is very important, and you can’t apply without this letter. The letter normally specifies the period of when you will study at the host institution, as well as information about accommodation and scholarships.

  • Can SU International ask that a visa application be speeded up?

Unfortunately not. For that reason it is important to plan appropriately and make sure that you leave enough time for the visa application. Refer to the recommendations of the embassy or general consulate.

  • Do I need a passport if I want to study abroad?

Yes, you do. You need to apply for a passport at the Department of Home Affairs.

  • Do I need a visa?

It depends on the country which you will be visiting and also what is the purpose of your visit. Always consult the local representative of the respective country, namely the embassy or consulate general in South Africa. Don’t rely on hearsay or advice from your friends – find out the information yourself.

  • I want to apply for a passport, can you help me?

No, you need to go to the Department of Home Affairs and follow their instructions.

  • I want to immigrate, can you help me?

No

  • Should I have a passport by the time I apply for a study abroad opportunity?

It is preferred, but it is not the end of world if you don’t have a passport. Just make sure to apply immediately, so that by the time the outcome of the application is announced you can start with the visa application process.

  • What type of visa do I need?

Consult the local representative of the respective country you will be visiting, namely the embassy or consulate general in South Africa.


Semester Exchange Application:

  • Am I responsible for putting together my learning agreement?

Yes, you are. We will provide assistance and guidance, but at the end of the day it is your responsibility to make sure that you get the necessary signatures of the respective professors. See also the following two links:

  • How do I choose a partner university?

There are many factors that you should take in consideration when making a decision about a partner institution; generally, the most important ones are the following:

  • Academics: If you need to transfer credits back to Stellenbosch University, you need to identify an institution which offers equivalent or similar courses (content / credit weight etc. ) to those on offer at Stellenbosch University.  The same principle counts for going on exchange for research purposes. You will not be able to do research at an institution which does not have the research capacity or skills to accommodate you.
  • Language: It is important to enquire about the language of tuition. If you can’t speak German, there is no point in applying for courses being presented in German.
  • Finances: If you need financial support to go abroad, it is important to look at options where additional funding is available. That could be in the form of a housing scholarship or a monthly stipend. Inform the exchange coordinator if you are depended on funding.
  • How long does the semester exchange application take?

It takes 2 – 3 months. The reason why it is such a lengthy process is because there is an internal application process at Stellenbosch University, as well as an application process to be completed at the host university. You will receive updates through the various steps, but you also need to be patient.

  • Must I be registered while I am studying abroad?

Yes. It is your responsibility to ensure that your registration is current and up to date. You have to be enrolled for the full duration of your exchange.

  • My marks is not good, can I go abroad?

No, you need to have at least a weighted average of 60 %.

  • What is the period study for a semester exchange?

Normally, it is for one semester. It is, however, possible to go for two semesters if your degree programme allows you to do so and you receive the necessary approval from the respective academic departments.

  • Why have I not been placed at my first choice?

There could be various reasons for this happening. It could be that the host institution can’t accommodate exchange students for the respective semester or that we feel that other institutions are a better fit in terms of your studies. There are also other institutional considerations that could affect your placement. Because of this it is important that all three institutions indicated by you are equally preferred options.

  • Will I need to find my own housing?

The partner university or summer school will provide assistance in terms of finding appropriate accommodation.  Please follow the requirements and suggestions they provide. In most cases accommodation can only be booked after you have been accepted by the host institution or summer school.


Summer School Application:

  • Can I use the summer school credits received for degree purposes at Stellenbosch University?

At the moment it is not possible to use the credits received for attending a summer school abroad for degree purposes at Stellenbosch University. You can’t for example use it to replace a semester exchange course.

  • Must I be registered while I am studying abroad?

Yes. It is your responsibility to ensure that your registration is current and up to date. You have to be enrolled for the full duration of your exchange.


Transcripts:

  • What will happen to the transcript from the host institution?

The host institution will issue a transcript of records (your study record with your courses and marks) at the end of the semester. This is the official document needed for the transfer of credit. No transcript will be issued if you have outstanding debt. Be sure to check that prior to your departure.

The transcript will be issued with the grading system of the particular institution/country. SU International will convert the grades and credit values to South African standards.

You will receive the original transcript from your host university for your own records after the credit transfer has been completed.

  • Will I receive a transcript from the host institution?

If you are registered for courses at the host institution you will receive a transcript.

"When it comes to suitcases: backpack beats duffle bag, suitcase with wheels beats backpack and convertible backpack with wheels trumps everything. " Summer School Traveler Corneli Smit