Practicalities for the USI community

USI students mobility: organizational aspects

This page contains information for organizing study abroad periods, such as the procedures to follow before leaving (admission criteria, application, financial aspects, study plans), what to do when arriving at the destination university, and final provisions when returning to USI (questionnaire, stay-abroad report, validation of credits). 

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  • Activities for USI students

    Information session

    All USI students interested in studying abroad are invited on October 17, from 12.15pm to 13.15pm to the Auditorium for the Information session to find out more about the different study abroad programmes, the admission criteria and the financial aspects. The brand new edition of the Study abroad guide will also be distributed.
    Here you can download the presentation: Information session for outgoing students.


    International Fair

    The USI annual international fair is held every November at the beginning of a new semester. Students interested in spending part of their studies abroad have the chance to learn about USI diverse international exchange programme managed by the International Relations service. Many of USI partner universities are represented by current incoming and previous outgoing students. Incoming provide USI students with first-hand information about their home university and home country. Previous outgoing USI students also relate their experiences abroad.

    The fair highlights the benefits of participating in an exchange programme and gives students the opportunity to learn more about the exchange possibilities offered at USI.
    This semester the Fair will take place on Monday 18 November, from 12.30pm until 2pm, in the Aula Magna Foyer.


    Come and Go party

    In order to provide future outgoing students from USI and incomings from USI’s partner universities with the possibility to network, we organize, in the month of May, an event called “Come and go party”.
    The event is a great opportunity for incoming students to say good-bye, to enjoy their last days in Lugano and to meet future outgoing students who are going on exchange to their home country.

    We are looking forward to seeing you at our events!

  • Before departure

    Admission Criteria

    To participate in a mobility programme you must:

    • be duly registered in a degree programme at Universita della Svizzera italiana;
    • have obtained the required number of credits as defined in the Faculty's Study Regulations;
    • be in good academic standings;
    • be reasonably proficient in the language of the host country (some partner universities require an official certificate).

    For specific admission criteria of each USI faculty, please carefully read page 5 of the Study Abroad Guide.


    Language of instruction

    Please be aware that in countries where the national language is less widely used (for example Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, The Netherlands), courses for exchange students are normally offered in English, whereas in countries where a widely used language is spoken (for example France, Spain, Germany, Italy), the choice of courses in the national language is usually broader than the choice of courses taught in English, therefore, suitable knowledge of the host university official language of instruction is highly recommended (usually, a B2) in order to profit of the full offer. For specific language requisites please consult page 25 of the Study Abroad Guide.


    USI enrolment and financial aspects

    You must maintain your enrolment status at USI during the exchange term. If you undertake a mobility semester recognized as part of the criteria for obtaining a degree (Bachelor or Master) you are granted a 50% reduction in the USI semester tuition fee. All of the USI exchange agreements are based on a bilateral agreement to waive payment of tuition for nominated students by the partner university. You are however responsible for all other costs related to your semester abroad. Bear in mind that even though you have been selected for a tuition-free exchange, there may be other fees you might have to pay at the host university: administration fees, activity fees, library fee etc.

    Heyning-Roelli Foundation

    The Heyning-Roelli Foundation provides scholarships to talented but financially underprivileged students for travel and subsistence expenses. Beneficiaries of the scholarships can be Bachelor- and Master students who wish to participate in an exchange programme for one or two semesters at a partner university. Exchange programmes include the Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP, formerly Erasmus) as well as other programmes according to bilateral agreements between Swiss universities and foreign universities. In these programmes students stay enrolled at their home university and continue their studies there after their stay abroad.

    • Applications for Fall Semester must be submitted by 20th April 24.00h CET of each year.
    • Applications for Spring Semester must be submitted by 20th October 24.00h CET of each year.


    How long and when can I study abroad?

    Please consult the faculty’s regulation:



    Preparation for a period of study abroad requires considerable time and effort on your part. There are no ready-made exchanges available in any of our partner university. When you organize a semester abroad, it is important to examine all possibilities and to begin planning it early, preferably a year before your date of departure. Consider the period of preparation as an important part of your studies and use it to develop your organizational skills. To get the best out of an exchange semester you should ask yourself where you would like to study, during which semester, which courses you must take, if you can finance your trip and stay abroad and if your language proficiency is sufficient for studying in the host country.

    For this purpose, the student can access the following sources of information

    • The websites and fact sheets of the partner universities;
    • The experience reports written by USI students who spent a period of study abroad;
    • The Study Abroad Guide;
    • The Information sessions set each year in October/November, organized by the International Relations and Study Abroad Service sends an invitation e-mail to all students;
    • Personal meetings with the staff of the International Relations Office scheduled from November on.


    Internal application form

    The student must submit the following documents

    1. Internal application form
      Students of the Lugano Campus can apply for two universities in order of priority whereas students of the Academy of Architecture for three destinations.
    2. Most recent Transcript (available in Italian and/or English under "Grade consultation" at: or for the Academy of Architecture);
    3. Photocopy of Language certificates;
    4. Motivation letter in the language in which you will study (for both destinations);
    5. Signed Learning Agreement (see below the respective documents for each Faculty).


    Learning Agreements by Faculty

    For students of the Academy of Architecture: Learning agreement
    For students of the Faculty of Communication Sciences and the Faculty of Informatics: Learning agreement
    For students of the Faculty of Economics: Study abroad programme proposal

    Students are selected through a process conducted by the International Relations Office. The selection process takes place once a year in March for both Autumn and Spring semesters. It is however still possible for the students of the Lugano campus to apply by the 25th of September for Spring semesters without any guarantee that there will still be available openings.


    Internal application due date

    Mendrisio Campus
    10 February for the following Academic Year

    Lugano Campus
    21 February for the following Autumn Semester
    25 September for the following Spring Semester


    Contact with the host university

    All selected students will be officially introduced to the partner university by the International Relations and Study Abroad Service staff.

    From this point onwards, it is up to each student to organise the departure at best, deal with any further administrative requirements and meet all deadlines of the host university regarding university enrolment, courses registration, health insurance and accommodation.

  • Leaving USI and arrival at the host university

    Checklist of things to do before leaving

    Once you have obtained all information from the host university (beginning of semester, accommodation, welcome activities, etc), the student can start planning the departure.

    Before leaving Switzerland, you need the following:

    • A valid ID card or Passport;
    • The European Health Insurance Card which entitles the bearer to medical assistance during the stay in an EU/EEA member states or to buy appropriate private health insurance cover in the event this is required by the host country;
    • Two passport-sized photographs;
    • Useful contact details (telephone, address and e-mail) of the Exchange coordinator at the host institution.

    If you visit a country outside the European community for study purposes, you must also:

    • Apply for the appropriate student visa for that country;

    You are advised to be properly informed about the legislation in force in the country you have chosen. To do so, you may refer to the International Office of the host university.


    Upon arrival, you should report to the International Office of the host university as soon as possible. To guarantee continuity of communication with USI you are asked to send your contact information (telephone and address) to for the Faculties of Lugano and to for the Academy of Architecture.

    Changes in study plan

    In case of changes of the study plan, remember to immediately ask for a new approval by writing an e-mail to the director of studies at USI, the Study Commission or the appropriate Master's programme director at USI, no later than four weeks after the start of the semester abroad. A copy of the updated study plan should be sent to the International Relations Service.

  • End of stay

    At the end of their stay, USI students are required to prepare the following documents, to be submitted at the International Relations and Study Abroad Service upon return:


    1. End of study report
    Within three weeks from the end of the exchange period, write an "End of study report" on their experience abroad, following specific guidelines.


    2. Exchange survey
    Students must also fill in the online Exchange survey (sent by the International Relations Service) no later than three weeks after the end of the semester abroad.


    3. Study plan (learning agreement)
    Upon return the student must submit the original copy of the study plan, signed by both the home and the host universities.

  • Recognition of exams and ETCS credits

    The procedure for issuing and forwarding examination results and credits relating to exchange students varies from university to university.

    Normally, the International Relations Office of the host institution sends the official transcript of results to the student's home address and/or to the International Relations and Study Abroad Service. Bear in mind that the process may take few weeks to complete.

    It is up to the student to check and make sure that the necessary official transcripts are duly delivered to USI. It is the Tutor for examinations' responsibility to register the corresponding credits, and notify the student.

    Credits cannot be earned just by simply attending a semester or two abroad or in Switzerland, in a university other than USI. The value of a study semester away from the home institution is measured or quantified by formal course evaluation (grades) and related credits which the candidate earns on the basis of passing examinations or evaluation of the written work turned in (e.g. dissertation, term paper).

    For special provisions on the credit recognition of exams please refer to pages 29-31 of the Study Abroad Guide.

    Please refer to the following sheet for the conversion of credits outside the ECTS system.




Updated on: 27/01/2020