Exchange Studies Outside the Hanken Exchange Programme

Information about exchange studies outside the Hanken exchange programme.

You can organise an exchange place yourself at a university that Hanken does not cooperate with as a so-called freemover, but this means that you must be particularly active in finding out more about the university and managing the application process yourself. You also have to find funding for your studies yourself.

Please note at least the following about applying to a university:

  • Does the university welcome freemover students?
  • What is the application deadline for freemover students?
  • Are you required to take an internationally recognised language test (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS) in order to apply?
  • Do you have to fill in any other forms (e.g. medical certificate)?
  • Do you need a recommendation letter from a professor at Hanken?
  • Does the university have tuition fees? How will be able to pay them?
  • Does the university offer any help in finding accommodation?
  • Do you need a visa and how do you apply for one?

Please also note:

  • Freemovers do not receive a scholarship from Hanken
  • You cannot apply as a freemover to Hanken’s Partner Universities
  • You must ensure that Hanken approves the university you intend to study at as a freemover. It is the Dean at Hanken who approves whether a freemover university is ok. If you have not checked this, there is no guarantee that the courses you have taken abroad can be credited at Hanken. Do this well in advance before you submit your application to the university!
  • You have to complete a full-time academic workload at the host university (usually this means 30 ECTS or the equivalent). Upon returning home you need to present a sufficient number of approved courses in order to meet the requirement of the mandatory semester abroad for Hanken Bachelor students. Short stays or travels abroad combined with a few courses cannot be approved.
  • If the exchange period is mandatory in your degree, you need to stay a minimum of 3 months at the host university.

You can get information about studies and about gaining work or life experience abroad from for example Maailmalle (available only in Finnish or Swedish).

The quality of your host university is very important! It is your responsibility to prove that the university and the courses are good enough and that the university and the program are accredited in the country you intend to study in. This information is needed in order to have it approved by Hanken. You can contact the university and ask them to prove that they are accredited. They must be able to refer to an accreditor or something else, it is not enough that they themselves write on their web pages that they are accredited. See also the next section on international accreditations.

When choosing a university, consider the following:

  • Consider choosing a university where it is easy for you to prove their quality
  • Choose a university where the education corresponds to at least a lower university degree (bachelor's degree) if you are studying within the framework of bachelor's studies at Hanken.
  • Avoid programs organised by different organisations, as Hanken does not automatically approve these, even though they may inform you that you can get the courses approved at your own home university. Such organisations market their programs and universities very enthusiastically through many different channels and the programs sound very nice. Often, not much more than a matriculation degree is required to get a study place in such a program and you can get a decision about the allocated place quite quickly. The quality cannot be guaranteed, partly because the courses in such programs are often not included as part of the university's teaching, but these programs are arranged separately for foreigners by an external organization. Many Finnish universities, including Hanken, have agreed to no longer approve courses taken within the framework of such programs.
  • Consider whether it is a merit to include studies from this particular university in your CV. If it is not a sufficiently prestigious university in a country, it is often not a merit to include it in your CV, for example when applying for a job in that country.

Accreditations and rankings

Outside of Europe, it can be a challenge to find out if the university is accredited in its own country, i.e. if the country in question has been able to guarantee the quality of the education. Many universities today have very nice websites and certify on these how good they are, but the websites are no guarantee that a university is accredited. The host university must be able to refer to an authority in the country. The fact that a university is accredited by the authorities in the country does not automatically mean that the program you intend to participate in is accredited. It is therefore necessary to ask the university to also prove that the program is accredited.

International accreditations such as EQUIS and AACSB are also good to check. There are few universities that have an EQUIS accreditation, but they can be very prestigious nonetheless. In contrast, the AACSB accreditation is very important in the United States. Not all universities in the USA have this accreditation, so if you are considering the USA as a host country - start by checking if the university is AACSB accredited. If it's AACSB accredited, you don't need to ask the university to prove anything.

Ranking lists can also provide some information about how a university ranks in various comparisons, but not all universities have opted to participate in rankings. Rankings usually do not give a comprehensive picture of all functions at a university, for example the quality of teaching.

Information about education systems

To get an idea of the university education in the country where your intended host university is located, it is good to read about the education system in the country. You can get information via, for example, the country-specific guides published by the Finnish National Agency for Education (not available for all countries). These guides can be read (in Finnish and Swedish) on the web Maailmalle.

How do you check that Hanken approves the university?

Send a message to outgoing.mobility(at) stating your interest in studying as a freemover. You will then receive information on how to make your application in the mobility database Mobility-Online. When your application is ready, your case is prepared for the Dean, who decides whether the university can be approved. This may take a few weeks, so get in touch well in advance!

After the Dean has made a decision, you will receive it in writing to your e-mail.

Always notify the international coordinator at Hanken (outgoing.mobility(at) that you are going abroad as a freemover. We maintain statistics of Hanken students' stays abroad and pass them on to the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland. The statistics are needed, among other things, for national and international comparisons.

When you have been accepted to the university, you must make a course choice (Learning Agreement). Although you do not need to submit your course selection to Hanken, it is important for you to remember that the course selection must consist of full-time studies (at least 30 ECTS or equivalent/semester) if your exchange period is to be approved as the mandatory semester abroad on Bachelor level. If you have a mandatory exchange in your bachelor's degree, it is also important that your exchange period is at least 3 months. For the exchange studies to be credited as the minor subject "Studies Abroad", you have to complete at least 25 ECTS. The same rules apply to freemovers as to exchanges within the framework of Hanken's exchange program. Please see the document above, "Freemovers - Terms and Conditions".

Note that Hanken does not automatically approve studies completed abroad. Transfer of credits is always assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Going abroad can be expensive, so start planning in time how you will finance the stay. Note that you will not receive a scholarship from Hanken when you go on exchange on your own as a freemover (i.e. outside Hanken's cooperation agreement). You must arrange the financing yourself. Possible funding sources:

  • Financial aid for students (opintotuki/studiestöd). Please note that the studies should be included in your degree and that you need a study plan to be able to apply for the financial aid. Available to Finnish citizens and, under certain conditions, to citizens of other countries.
  • Finnish National Agency for Education
  • Foundations outside Hanken e.g. Svenska kulturfonden, Svenska konkordiaförbundet r.f., Svenska studiestödskommittén.
  • - here is a compilation of different scholarship opportunities
  • Follow the newspapers

Financial aid for students as a freemover

If you apply for financial aid (opintotuki/studiestöd) for the freemover exchange, you must attach the Hanken’s Deans approval of the university to your application. You also need to attach the letter of acceptance from your host university stating the start and end dates for the exchange semester.

Tuition fees

Many universities have semester fees and as a freemover student you are obliged to pay the semester fee.

Find out in good time how healthcare is organised in the country you are going to and whether Finland (or another home country) and the host country have entered into an agreement on healthcare for citizens staying in the country. You can check this on Finland’s part with KELA/FPA.

Some universities require you to take their insurance, other universities want you to submit proof that you have insurance (may apply to other than just healthcare).

We recommend that everyone who goes on exchange studies, regardless of destination, takes out insurance that includes e.g. health care, accident, luggage and liability insurance! Also keep in mind that insurance may not be valid in all countries if you travel to other countries before or after your stay at your host university.

Also read the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' information on insurance or the respective information of your home country.

Destinations within the European Union

If you are covered by the Finnish health insurance system and you travel as an exchange student within Europe, you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card from KELA (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland). As some host universities require a copy of the Health Insurance Card when you fill in their application form, we recommend that you apply for the card at the latest when you receive the confirmation of your exchange study placement. Take the card with you when you leave for your stay abroad. If you aren’t a Finnish citizen, but covered by a state social security system in any other Member State of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you can apply for the card via your own health insurance institution in the country where you are insured.

The European Health Insurance Card mainly covers emergency treatment, and in such cases guarantees you the same basic medical treatment as the local residents are entitled to in accordance to the laws of that particular country. It does not, however, cover any costs induced from any services outside the national health care system. Should you need special transportation to Finland due to illness or injury, you would also have to pay for it yourself. It is therefore important to purchase private travel insurance to cover any such possible costs.

Destinations outside the European Union

If you are going to a country outside Europe, it is very important that you check the insurance cover. The insurance cover that some universities require is not always sufficient coverage for adequate protection in case of illness or accident. Contact your own insurance company and check that you get comprehensive insurance cover, also think about liability insurance.

Keep yourself informed about global events

It is important that you keep yourself informed about global events such as political instabilities, epidemics and natural disasters when you are about to leave for your exchange.

1. Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

2. Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare

3. World Health Organization

4. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

5. Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Prepare yourself in case there is a crisis

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated information on different countries’ safety situation under Travel Information (Resemeddelande/Matkustustiedote). Please read the information for your host country and always follow the Ministry’s instructions. You can also find information on how to prepare for crisis situations. Please check the same information of your home country if you aren’t a Finnish citizen or a permanent resident of Finland.

All students who are Finnish citizens or permanent residents in Finland are recommended to submit a notification of travel to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This means that you give the Ministry your personal details, contact details and information about your travel. This way the Ministry can contact you in case of an emergency or crisis. Your personal details will never be given to anyone except necessary authorities. Citizens of other countries should look up how they can make a notification of travel to their home country’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Always check the contact information for the embassy of your home country at your destination and notify the embassy of your stay in the country. 

You can find the contact information for Finnish embassies abroad here. We also recommend you to follow the embassy on Facebook. You can find the Finnish embassies on Facebook here.

Please note that it is important for you to register with the authorities at your host country. You will get instructions from your host university.

Please also read the information of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Before your travel abroad

During your travel abroad

Consular services

"Utrikesministeriets tjänster för resenärer" - flyer.

Please note that the information is only available in Finnish or Swedish. If you are a foreign national and not a permanent resident in Finland, please see the instructions of your home country.