What you need to know to spend a semester abroad

Selection criteria: 

  • Academic performance
  • English language level (minimum B2)
  • Motivation to study abroad
  • Proactive attitude
  • Willingness to share your experiences upon your return to ITMO University 

Who to reach out to: an exchange semester is a serious decision, so make sure to talk to the head of your program and confirm that it won’t affect your studies at ITMO. Discuss this opportunity with your parents as you might need their financial support. Ask your employer if it is possible for you to work remotely. It would also be useful to talk to other students who have already been on an exchange semester or are currently studying abroad. You can find them on the ITMO Student Exchange VK page. 

Choose the university

Start by choosing the countries that you’d like to visit. Alternatively, you could also reach out to the head of your program – they might know just the right university for you. Make a list of three universities that offer courses that fit within your major at ITMO. You can find the list of ITMO’s partner universities and the courses they offer here. Make sure to check the application deadline at the partner university, as well as the list of documents necessary to complete your application. 

Choose the courses

Over a semester, each student has to earn 30 ECTS. At least 9 ECTS (for Bachelor’s students) and 12 ECTS (for Master’s students) earned at a partner university have to correspond to core subjects of your specialization at ITMO.

Before making your final choice of courses, make sure to get the approval of the head of your program, as later they will have to sign your Learning Agreement – an  official document that lists the subjects you will take at the partner university. You have to select the maximum number of courses that correspond to your major at ITMO. You will be able to eliminate any differences in academic transcripts by either taking exams in relevant courses online while you are abroad or in person upon your return. 

Credit: ITMO University

Credit: ITMO University

Submit your application

To apply for the semester exchange program, submit your application via ISU using your @niuitmo.ru email address. For this step of the competition, you will need: 

  • a letter of motivation; 
  • a CV; 
  • a video CV; 
  • a language certificate to prove your level of English proficiency (minimum B2). 

In your application, tell the committee about yourself, your academic and personal achievements, the university you want to visit for your exchange semester, and the way this experience will help your professional and personal development. You can use your valid TOEFL/IELTS certificate or take a language test at ITMO’s Foreign Language Training Center (sign up for the test here). IMPORTANT: if you want to study in a language other than English, you have to provide a certificate to prove your proficiency in this language. 

In your application on ISU, specify the program at a partner university that you would like to enroll in. If exchange students can only do separate modules (without enrolling in a specific program), then state “Exchange Program” in your application. 

You can submit your application within the specified deadline, but the sooner you do it, the earlier you will be able to do the in-person interview, which is an obligatory step of the process. This can be a great advantage if you want to go to a university which has an application deadline in March. 

Where to look for updates

The dates and deadlines of the competition are always announced on ISU and ITMO’s social media pages. 

You can follow the stories of students currently doing their exchange programs here. And if you have any further questions, check out the FAQ section here or email the International Educational Programs Office at outgoing@itmo.ru.