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What Semester Is Best for Your Exchange: 5 Tips

One of the most popular questions students ask while preparing for exchange is what semester will suit better for their international studies. Although Fall and Spring semesters might seem similar, some aspects make them different in many ways. Here are 5 tips on what to take into consideration when choosing your exchange period.

What Semester Is Best for Your Exchange: 5 Tips

1. Courses

If you already know what your dream international school is, go study its website! What courses are offered to exchange students in Fall and Spring semesters? When are there more disciplines that match with your HSE curriculum? When does the university offer courses you would like to take outside of your study plan?

Tip: Use links to course lists in the “exchange students” or “incoming mobility” sections.

2. Workload at HSE University

When choosing a suitable semester for your exchange, don’t forget you’re an HSE University student and have responsibilities at your Alma mater too. In which of the two semesters you’ve got less workload? You might want to choose that period for your mobility to eliminate extra pressure. What if you also manage to take additional courses at host university to make some more free time for yourself in the next semester?

Tip: Plan your tactic for certain courses, internship, final paper or thesis preparation.

3. Competition

Traditionally universities accept more exchange students in Fall semester than in Spring. Often it is linked with specifics in internal processes and organization of academic year at home universities (see point 2). At partner schools there are usually more spots for HSE University students in Fall semester – but at the same time the demand and competition is higher.

Tip: Bear that in mind when applying.

4. Duration

The duration of Fall and Spring semester is different in many universities. The first semester is often shorter than the second – sometimes a month or even more. When deciding on your mobility period, think how long you are willing and ready to stay abroad. An extra month in a foreign country may bring you lots of invaluable experience and create bright memories but it will also increase the total cost of your mobility program.

Tip: Study academic calendars of our partner schools closely.

5. Season

For some students the country of exchange destination plays such a huge role that they only apply to schools there. If you see yourself in this description, try to ask yourself things like, in what season do I want to see London or walk the streets of Rome? Maybe you’ve always wanted to witness Germany during Octoberfest or dress in orange head to toe for the King’s day in the Netherlands? When does sakura bloom in Japan?

Tip: Check weather conditions in the country and find out more about its traditional celebrations, festivals and holidays.