Study Abroad for Sussex Students

Practicalities and support

Overview of University services to prepare and look after students going abroad

The Sussex Abroad office is here to give you support and information before and whilst you are away. We find that the student who gain most from the experience are those who additionally carry out their own research well in advance. We hope that the information provided below will help get you started!

Erasmus procedures for Sussex students

Eligible Sussex students will automatically be included in the programme. Please see the section on the Erasmus+ Programme for more information.

Support and Guidance

You will be given plenty of advice and information about studying abroad and you will be invited to attend meetings and also to meet returning study abroad students who will give you valuable insights into what awaits you. Make sure that you take advantage of every opportunity to learn more, so that you are prepared for and confident about what can be something of a culture shock. If for any reason you are unable to attend these meetings or seminars, you should make sure that you receive all the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth trip (for language year abroad students, please contact the Director of the Year Abroad - Brigitte Diplock; for the American Studies year abroad, please contact Daniel Kane; for voluntary study abroad students, please contact the Sussex Abroad office).

Even while you are abroad, there is advice and support available to you from Sussex - either at the end of a phone or via email - so there is never any reason to feel 'cut off' if problems should arise.

While students are abroad they can still access the Student Life Centre.

Culture Shock and Reverse Culture Shock

Culture Shock

Living in a new culture can be an exhilarating, personally rewarding and intellectually stimulating experience. It can also have its frustrations. It is one thing to visit a country, moving on when you have seen or had enough, and it is quite another to live there and function according to a different set of norms.   

People usually experience a variety of emotions when adapting to a foreign culture, ranging from excitement and interest in the new culture to loneliness and fear of the unknown. The difficulties and emotional insecurities that you experience as you integrate into a new society can be a direct result of what is often termed "culture shock". Culture shock is inevitable in one form or another. Adjusting to and accepting a foreign culture, exploring and living through difficult times of change, can be a most rewarding and satisfying experience.  Most agree that this is worth the occasional pain, existential angst and effort.                                     

An underlying cause of negative reactions to another culture is the tendency to equate "what is different" with "what is inferior". It is important to be open toward the culture into which you are going, to discard stereotypes, and to read as much as you can about that culture before your departure. Sometimes you are unaware that the frustrations and emotions you are experiencing are effects of acculturation; in retrospect, this becomes apparent.  Of course the symptoms vary with each individual, and depend on the situation and length of time that you have been in that culture.

Although almost everyone will experience the mild signs of culture shock, you should be able to avoid its worst effects if you can understand the phenomenon and its possible causes. Your host university will organise orientation meetings and events, and you are strongly advised to attend these. The study abroad office may also have information about the complexities of living abroad and how to acclimatise and get used to the local culture.  Getting to know local students as soon as possible will also smooth your transition.  The study abroad office or international support office at the host university, may run a buddy scheme which you can get involved with, and will likely organise social events or trips for exchange students or run schemes where you can meet local students or families.

Reverse Culture Shock

On return to Sussex, you may also experience reverse culture shock.  Typical symptoms are initial euphoria (followed by disappointment and ‘flatness’) and criticism of the way things are done back home. You may feel restless, sadness, frustration, isolation, feeling like a stranger at home, and a longing to go back abroad.  This is common and feelings can differ from one person to another.  This process will be similar to the culture shock you may have experienced when you first went abroad, only in reverse. Just as it took time to adjust to a different culture when you arrived there, it may take some time to re-adjust to home. The main thing is to understand that this is what you are experiencing, and try and prepare yourself for it and find things do to help you cope with it if you can. The coping skills and strategies that were successful in helping you to adjust to your host culture will be just as useful coming home.

You may find it helpful to create a travel goal, either for work or holiday, keeping in contact with friends made abroad (but not at the expense of friends back at home!). The challenge of integrating your learning from abroad into your academic work back here can be a helpful focus. Look out for seminars run in October/November by Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) for returning students to learn about how to maximise their study abroad experience.  You may also wish to seek assistance from the Student Life Centre or Counselling service, as professional support with reflecting on your feelings and experiences will help you work out how you have grown and what this means for settling back into life here.

There are also some really positive ways you can reintegrate into University keeping your international experience alive by trying something new, including international societies and clubs on campus, keeping healthy, talking to friends and family about why you are feeling like this, sharing your experience of study abroad in fun ways, like taking part in international food evenings on campus.  The Student Union runs a Buddy Scheme, matching Sussex students with incoming international and study abroad students. This is a great way of using your experience of study abroad by making friends with an incoming exchange or international student, and helping them settle in at Sussex.  See: http://www.buddyscheme.com/about-and-faqs  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeL6KYYkryc

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

**Please note that if the UK leaves the EU without an agreed deal in place, UK students would no longer be able to use the EHIC while abroad. Instead, they would need to make sure that they have health insurance in place .**

For students currently abroad:

European students studying abroad in Europe must apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC – formerly the E111) as well as take out fully comprehensive travel insurance. The EHIC provides the cardholder with the same level of care as a national of that country. Where citizens would normally pay for prescriptions, for example, you would pay the same. Students can apply for an EHIC online at https://www.ehic.org.uk (10-day delivery time) or by phone on 0845 606 2030 (10-day delivery time). Please note the EHIC is not valid in Turkey and students must ensure they have adequate health insurance in place.

Visas

The information contained below was updated in November 2015 and is meant as guidance only. Please note it is the student's responsibility to inform him-/herself of the most up to date visa requirements for the country he/she hopes to study in and to make any necessary passport/visa applications in plenty of time to be able to study abroad.

United States

On receipt of your financial guarantee form, the US university will issue your immigration documentation.

This will be either: 1-20A-B form (which gives you an F-1 visa) or

DS-2019 form (which gives you a J-1 visa)

You cannot apply for your US visa from the US Embassy until you have received either the I-20 or DS-2019 form.

Your US university will have entered your details on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) which is an automated process for collecting, maintaining and managing information about foreign students, exchange visitors and their dependents during their stay in the United States.

The fee charged for this service is $180 for a J1 visa and $200 for an F1 visa. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee. The SEVIS fee can be paid electronically or by mail. It cannot be paid at a US embassy or consulate and it cannot be paid at the port of entry

To check your SEVIS payment status go to the SEVIS page above, pay the fee and PRINT THE RECEIPT

These websites and the Call Center are the only official sources of general visa information from the U.S. Embassy and the only authorized methods to schedule a personal visa interview

http://london.usembassy.gov

http://usvisa-info.com

http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html

http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/contact_page.html (useful link to questions and answers)

The fee for obtaining a visa to study in the United States is currently $160.

Watch the US Embassy's YouTube video on what to expect on arrival to the Embassy. On arrival, you will go through security procedures similar to what you would expect at an airport. Travel light, as you are not allowed to take in electronics (iPods, phones, laptops, etc).

Canada

Students going to Canada for more than 6 months will be able to apply to the Canadian High Commission when they have received their acceptance letter from the Canadian university. If you are studying abroad for one term only you will not need to apply for a Study Permit.

On receipt of your letter of acceptance from your Canadian exchange university you can apply for your Study Permit to the Canadian High Commission.

Proof of means of financial support that demonstrates that you can support yourself and any accompanying family members while you study in Canada. For example, proof of a bank account in your name, your bank statements for the past four months, a bank draft in convertible currency, or proof of payment of tuition and residence fees

Visa fee for Canada: Canadian dollars for $125

Visa Application Centre (VAC) opened in London

The VAC is operated by VFS Global and is located at The Battleship Building, 179 Harrow Road, London W2 6NB.

All temporary resident (visitor visa, study or work permit) and permanent resident travel document applications for Canada should be submitted either online or through the VAC. The visa office will accept submissions in person on Wednesday from 8:00am to 10:30am (excluding holidays). Please visit the VAC website for details on application submission. By submitting an application through the VAC, you will be able to take advantage of the extended hours of service, more flexible payment methods, online tracking of your application, and the assurance that your application is complete and all the proper documentation is included.

Australia

Students going to Australia should apply on-line for their visa as soon as they have received their offer letter (Certificate of Enrolment) from their Australian university.

The cost of the Study Visa is Aus$565.

Mexico

If you are a British passport holder applying to study in Mexico for less than six months, you will not need student visa, however, you will still need to fill in a FMM migration form (Formato Migratorio Múltiple) and keep this card for when you depart Mexico. Please visit the Mexico embassy in London website for more information.

For British nationals wishing to study in Mexico for more than six months, the Institution must request the Consulate to issue a 'Temporary Resident Student Visa' (Residente Temporal Estudiante). This is a single entry visa and will allow the applicant to enter the country to exchange it for a Temporary Resident Student Card within 30 days upon their arrival at the nearest migration office (INM). The temporary residents student card will be valid for one year and multiple entries.

Applicants must apply in person at the Consular Section opening hours (Mon-Fri 9:00-13:00). 

Cost of a visa is currently £23.33. For more information please read this document.

To find out more information and to update yourself with the requirements and the processing time please visit the Requirements for a Temporary Resident Student Visa website.

Uruguay

If you are a British national wishing to study in Uruguay for a period of less then 180 days, you will only need a valid passport to enter.

If you intend to reside in Uruguay for more than 180 days, but less than 365 days, you must obtain a 'Temporary Residence' that costs 716 pesos (amount subject to change). At the National Office of Migration in Montevideo, Department of the Minister of Interior, you must present:

1) A police report from the home country (obtained prior travelling to Uruguay)

2) A passport (valid for 6 months beyond your arrival date in Uruguay

3) A health card that costs 300 pesos (amount subject to change) and can be obtained in Montevideo

4) An acceptance letter from the host university in Uruguay that indicates the period of academic exchange.

Please visit Uruguay's government website for migration to find out more information (only in Spanish).

Chile

As a British national wishing to study in Chile you will need to apply for a Student Visa. You will be authorised to perform the pertinent studies but it does not authorise the development of any other activities in the country such as working, for example.

The cost of Student Visa is US $198.

To find out more information about how to apply for a Student Visa please visit the Chilean Immigration Department website.

Hong Kong

Students studying at a university in Hong Kong will need to apply for a student visa.

You will need to complete the ID995A form and provide a financial guarantee to say that you have enough money to study in Hong Kong for the period of time you are there.

The financial guarantee must be in the form of an original bank statement either in your name or your parent's name. It can also be a combination of a bank statement and a Student Maintenance Loan letter if applicable. If you are using your parent's bank statement then they will also need to complete and sign a Declaration by Financial Sponsor form.

Finally you will need to complete the Request for Visa Sponsorship & Student's Agreement form. The forms will be sent by the Sussex Abroad office to your host institution to be processed. The visa takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks to arrive. The visa will be sent directly to the address you give on the visa application form.

All forms can be found here or via link sent to you by the university in Hong Kong.

For more information about the Financial guarantee contact the Sussex Abroad office.

Japan

Students studying at a university in Japan will need to apply for a student visa. You will receive a Certificate of Eligibility from the university in Japan in July, once you have received your acceptance letter. In order to receive the Certificate of Eligibility you must provide an original bank statement either in your name or your parent's name to show that you have enough money to support yourself for the period of time you will be studying in Japan.

Once the Certificate of Eligibility has been obtained, you should take the following documents to the Embassy:

1) Valid passport

2) One visa application form, completed and signed

3) One passport-sized photograph approx 35mm x 45mm (taken within the last 6 months)

4) Original Certificate of Eligibility

5) One photocopy of Certificate of Eligibility

Certificates expire 3 months after the date of issue.

For more information please visit the Embassy in Japan in the UK website

For more information about the Financial guarantee contact the Sussex Abroad office.

Malaysia

Before you can study at our partner university in Malaysia, Monash Sunway, you need to take care of some important business, as required by the Malaysian Government. Firstly, as per 1 January 2014, all international students are required to obtain a Single-Entry Visa (SEV) before they are able to enter Malaysia for the purpose of study. Please visit this website for more information regarding how to apply and requirements.

Once you have accepted Monash Sunway's offer to study with them, you need to organise a Student Pass, which the host university will do for you. This is very important, only students who hold a valid Student Pass can study in Malaysia.

As well as that, you must have a health check, which it is arranged by the host university when you arrive.

For more information please visit Monash University website.

Thaliand

International students required a Non-Immigrant Education Visa (Category 'ED') to study in Thailand. Whenever possible, applicants should apply for their student visa well in advance of departing for Thailand. Applications should be made in person at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate-General in their home country. To apply for this type of visa, students must submit the following documents to the Visa Section at a Royal Thai Embassy:

1) Letter of Acceptance / Admission from the host university

2) A completed visa application form

3) A passport or travel documents valid for not less than six months

4) Two 4x6cm full-face photographs, taken within the past six months

5) Evidence of adequate finance (as determined by the Royal Thai Embassy)

6) Visa application fee.

As of 2014, the visa fees for British national are: £82 for single entry under 90 days, £125 for single entry over 91 days, £140 for double entry, £150 for multiple entry. For more information please visit this webpage

Duration: International students will first be granted a 90-day visa. An additional 1-year stay permit (from the date of entry) can be obtained by following the Office of Immigration Bureau's regulation concerning extension of stay.

Our partner university, Mahidol University, will assist student in the following visa matters: visa extension, 90-day reporting, re-entry permit.

Please visit Mahidol University webiste for further information

Taiwan

If you plan to stay in Taiwan for more than 180 days, you should apply for a Resident Visa. You wil be permitted to enter Taiwan with your Resident Visa. Exchange students, who participate in an academic exchange program and schedule to study in Taiwan for more than six months, must prepare the following documents to apply for a resident visa (code: FS) at ROC overseas missions:

1) A passport still valid for more than six months with empty pages. And copies of basic-data page of passport are also required.

2) A properly completed visa application form. You need to first access the website https://visawebapp.boca.gov.tw to fill out an application form online and print it out with the bar code. You must sign the form to confirm that the information provided is true.

3) Two 2"x2" photographs. These must be taken within the last six months, in colour and with a white-colour background.

4) An admission letter from the school.

5) Exchange students at universities or colleges must submit a letter of approval for the exchange program issued by the university or college concerned in Taiwan.

6) A health certificate issued within the past three months either by one of the accredited local hospitals or by a licensed foreign hospital or clinic.

The exchange students in Taiwan who hold a visitor visa with the marks FS issued by an ROC overseas mission may submit the aforementioned documents and an enrolment certificate issued by the school (e.g. student ID with registration stamp on it) at the Bureau of Consular Affairs or the Central Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convert his/her visa into a resident visa.

ROC overseas missions, the Bureau of Consular Affairs or the Central Taiwan Office, Southern Taiwan Office, Eastern Taiwan Office or Southwestern Taiwan Office of Foreign Affairs may arrange an interview with the applicant or request other supplementary documents.

For more information please click here

South Korea

If you are a British national planning to study in one of our partner universities in South Korea, you will need to apply for a D-2 Study Visa which are only available for those who have already been accepted to study at a Korean college or university.

Required documents:

1) A completed visa application

2) A recent passport photo (3.5x4.5cm, colour photo)

3) Passport (Original)

4) Certificate of Admission (Official Letter from Korea)

5) Certificate of the Current or Last School Attended

6) Documents proving Financial Affordability

7) Business Registration Certificate of the School in Korea

8) Visa Fee

9) If you are exchange student, you need to submit Exchange Student Agreement between the Universities and letter of recommendation written by current school in the UK

For more information please click here

Turkey

If you are a British national planning to study in one of our partner universities in this country, you will be able to enter Turkey with a multiple entry tourist (ordinary) visa. Most students can apply for this online at: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. Once you have arrived in Turkey, you will apply for a student visa depending on the lenght of your stay. 

Residence Permit

According to legal Turkish regulations, all exchange student are required to apply for a residence permit at the Police Department for Foreigners within the first month of their arrival. 

Tips and advice

The British Council gives advice on matters such as travelling and accommodation in their website which can be very useful regardless if you are going abroad to study or work.

Accommodation

Finding somewhere to live abroad and dealing with practical living arrangements is an important part of the study abroad experience. Responsibility for finding accommodation lies with the student although the Sussex Abroad office will provide support and will be able to signpost students.

University accommodation

The provision of accommodation at partner institutions varies. If the option exists, student should apply as soon as the host institution gives them the option. However, it should not be assumed that university accommodation is always the best option. Factors to consider include how far away from the campus the accommodation is and what cooking facilities are available amongst others. It is very important that students do their own research before choosing where to live.

Private accommodation

Regardless if the partner university offers accommodation or not, the student might want to opt for renting privately. This can be a good way to meet new people, make friends and above all, learn the language.

Here are some suggestions when looking for private accommodation:

- start looking for suitable accommodation early. Waiting until the start of the academic year may mean there are few places available;

- don't rush into signing a tenancy agreement without carefully reading the contract, asking colleagues in the Exchange office of the host university for assistance if necessary;

- make sure you have met all of your feature flatmates before signing a contract;

- do not arrange property viewings on your own.

Assistance from the Sussex Abroad team

Students should make their accommodation plans during the spring or summer term of the second year, while they are still on campus and have access to the resources provided. Please contact the Sussex Abroad team if you have specific questions in relation to this.

Past and present students

If you have an idea where you would like to go to study, we can always try to put you in contact with a past study abroad student. Often they are one of the best resources of information when it comes to housing. Also, there will be occasions where we have more than one student going to the same partner university. It can be much easier if house hunting is not done alone! You can also use our Facebook group pages, which have recently become a great source of advice from students to students! 

Your accommodation at Sussex / Brighton area

We understand that students can be concerned when having to make private accommodation arrangements at Brighton before going abroad, especially if they are studying for a term. We would recommend you speak with your other housemates before signing a contract and read carefull what you are allowed or not to do (for example, you may be able to sublet your room for a short period of time). There is a Facebook platform that you can use to advertise or find accommodation which can be useful too. 

Meetings and events

The Sussex Abroad team organises meetings and events during the academic year. In term 1, events are happening to inform you about the different study abroad opportunitites and the application process. In term 2, once we know which university we have allocated you to, we'll ask you to attend the orientation meetings. Often at these, you will have the opportunity to meet returning students from abroad and ask them questions about the next steps.

Checklist

Do you have everything set and ready to go? If unsure, we recommend that you make a checklist with all the important things you need to prepare and do before and whilst abroad. Things you can include are: documentation and IDs (visas, passports), study resources, dictionary, enough suitable clothing, medication of any ongoing conditions, contact telephone numbers at home and abroad, currency... Make your own checklist now!

Research

We cannot stress enough that you should research where you will be studying abroad. Find out more information not only about the university but also its location: how can I get to the university? What is the cheapest way to travel around? Does the university have accommodation? If not, which are the best places in the city to live, etc. As well as the information which your host university will provide you with, you can find very useful information on the following website: ThirdYearAbroad. All of this will help you to be prepared for the so-called culture shock.

Documents

Make sure you have all documents such as passport, visas, etc. with you and copies of these too to carry with you. There are countries, such as France, where for certain official procedures such as opening bank accounts or applying for the CAF, you will need copies of your birth certificate. Inform yourself well in advance of the sort of documentation you may need with you whilst abroad.

 

Money matters

To avoid expensive currency conversion costs, research credit/debit card options as well as the possibility to purchase a prepaid currency card. If you need to take out cash, make sure is in a public place where you feel safe. Avoid if possible having to take large sums of money at once from an ATM (even if your landlord requires you to pay your rent in cash!).

 

Phone numbers

Find out where your nearest embassy abroad is and have to hand other useful phone numbers such as police or fire brigade. Regarding your phone, you can either purchase a cheap phone with SIM card whilst you are abroad or unlock your UK phone and replace the SIM card. Roaming charges can be very high if you use your UK mobile abroad.

Language

Some of you might be studying in the target language whilst others will follow their modules in English. If this is the case, we will always recommend you studying some of the foreign language so it will be easier to communicate. The University of Sussex offers language courses over the year which can help you either brush up previous knowledge of the language or starting a new one. Amongst the different language courses available they offer French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin  Chinese, Polish, Spanish. For more information please visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/languages/ml/opencourses

 

Become a "Vlogger"

Create a blog, record videos (which you can then submit to our video competition!) or just share your photos and stories on our Facebook group pages. These are not just useful for keeping the memories forever but also help other students when they are deciding which university abroad to apply to. You can also use these photos and videos to enter our annual photo and video competition. You can also write in the Sussex Students Blog: https://sussexstudents.wordpress.com/ where students in the past have published fantastic stories about their experiences abroad.

And above all...use your common sense!

Trust your gut instinct. Don't put yourself in difficult situations, don't get into a taxi you didn't call, don't walk home alone at night or in dangerous areas, carry a phone with you for emergencies (or coins if you need to use a public phone!), do not leave your bag unattended and do not accept drinks from strangers. As we said, use your common sense!

 

Get in touch

Studying abroad presents a challenge to students, even to those who have travelled abroad before. Setting up a home abroad and studying or working at a foreign institution, often with an academic culture vastly different from that of the UK, are all experiences that require determination and stamina, particularly during the first three months, widely acknowledged as being the most difficult part of the year abroad.

The Sussex Abroad team are on hand every weekday to take calls or emails from students abroad. We encourage students to stay in touch with the team and to seek help or advice if they are struggling for any reason.

The Sussex Abroad office is open between 10:00 and 16:00 on weekdays for visits in person, and between 9:00 and 17:30 for phone calls and emails.

Address: Hastings Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RJ

Telephone: 44 (0)1273 678002 / Fax 44 (0)1273678640

Email: sussexabroad@sussex.ac.uk