Ana Balica

Hi, I'm Ana.

I'm a software developer. I mostly do Python. This blog is about my adventures with code, travel experiences and relevant life events. I try not to take myself too seriously.

Here's what I'm doing now.

Occasionally I give talks.

Please don't take my words for granted, because Internet is full of bad advice, and I might be part of it inadvertently.

Erasmus FAQ

I see a lot of interest from students towards going on Erasmus. Their excitement is understandable, nevertheless students tend to rely heavily on other’s experience and ask same questions all over again (rather than reading piles of information on official websites). Hence I have decided to collect all those questions by creating this FAQ. The questions are not grouped anyhow and are not in any specific order.

1. How many credits are required to finish one semester of Erasmus program?

In the official “Learning Agreement” you will see that each student is expected to collect 30 credits per semester. In reality you can have less, but still a fair amount of courses and credits. At the Czech Technical University we were given the following numbers:

  • more than 27 – you got the perfect score
  • 23 - 27 – that’s a good result
  • 17 - 23 – fair, but you could have done better
  • less than 17 – you might get kicked out of the program

The numbers are extracted from memory, so expect some delta error. Don’t risk and try to get all the credits you can.

2. What is the case if you are on Erasmus during your last semester? Can you include the thesis credits as well?

I believe this is something university specific, but I can tell about my experience at Czech Technical University. The credits are bound to courses, therefore there are some “Bachelor/Master Thesis” courses. Before being able to take the course, you, as a student, should find a mentor – the guide-teacher that will help you with your thesis and will give you the credits by the end of the semester. Considering this, it is a good idea to spend one semester before your last thesis-semester at the host university. If you have the topic or the field of study you want to work in, it will be easy to spot the right mentor. Approach the teacher and explain what you are expecting from him as a mentor, what are your responsibilities towards the home and host university. Most probably it will work out ok.

3. Do you need to find mentor before going or you can do so later?

It is perfectly ok to find the mentor on the spot. Nobody expects you to email dozens of teachers and find a mentor blindfolded.

4. Where to start research on your options?

I know at least 2 resources - EWENT and ACTIVE. I’ve got not idea why there are 2 programs at the same time and what is the difference between them. Both websites contains clear information about the partner universities, coordinators, courses, scholarships. It will take probably an hour to read everything.

5. In order to become an exchange student, my home university should have parter relationships with other universities (the ones listed on the website)? Are those the only parter universities?

Yes. You can go on Erasmus only to the universities listed on website. There are 7-8 partner European universities (depending on the program) and if any other join the program, they will be listed there most probably.

6. Is it necessary that Technical University of Moldova endorses me?

No. Home university will provide a certificate to confirm the fact that you are their student. And that’s all.

7. With a average mark of almost 9, do I have any chances?

It’s hard to know what are the selection criteria. I might assume that university record is important, along with extracurricular activities, involvement in a variety of projects and a good motivational letter.

8. So how was your Erasmus?

It is definitely a good experience. I have plenty of good memories. I have managed to make good friends, live in one of the most beautiful cities of Europe, see student-friendly environment created to facilitate studies and teamwork.

At times it was not easy, due to the temptation of traveling and exploring, instead of studying. But it all can be balanced well with the proper discipline.

9. Did you write your thesis at host university?

Yes. The core part. Some sections, bugfixes, formatting were done by the end of the semester, when I came back to Moldova to prepare to defend the thesis.

10. How did you find the study program compared to the one from Technical University of Moldova? Did the complexity level grow exponentially?

I would say the study programs are comparable. I didn’t find any difficulty to pass my courses. But I know some of the courses that are extremely complicated to pass at Czech Technical University and require a lot of hard work. If you find the course interesting and important to you nevertheless, you can give it a try at least.

I met some excellent professors at Technical University of Moldova. I was less inspired by Czech Technical University professors. But it’s understandable, since I have spend there only one year and generally, teachers invest less effort in Erasmus students than in regular students.

11. Do I need TOEFL? Or is it ok to just pass an exam at the university?

In case TOEFL is required, it will be stated so in host university information. For example, Dublin Institude of Technology accepts applications only from students who have TOEFL certificate.

I have no information about the English university exam though. Since I was doing my studies at FAF (English Taught Honors Program in “Computer Science”), we were given automatically a certificate from TUM.

12. Can you choose where (college/university) to apply or are you distributed?

You can choose up to 3 partner universities, where you would like to go. The motivational letter respectively should be addressed to all of them. Eventually you will be selected to one of the universities you have listed.

13. Can you go to PhD directly or you need to do Masters first?

If you can convince our home university to get enrolled into a PhD program without graduate studies, then yes. But generally that is very unlikely. According to study specifications, one should have the prerequisites, before going any further (Bachelor – Masters – PhD).

This is it. I hope I cleared out some questions for you. Next application process starts on November 1st 2014, so start your application now and good luck :)