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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  • 5 reasons to board one of USI’s mobility programmes

    Discover the main 5 reasons to board one of USI’s mobility programmes managed by the International Relations and Study Abroad Service.

  • Sources of information

    The 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. Students have the following sources of information to get acquainted with the mobility programmes and the procedures:

    Information sessions
    Each year, the International Relations and Study Abroad Service organizes an information session for USI students interested in undertaking a study abroad experience. The purpose of the session is to provide useful information to organize an exchange: the presentation of the different types of exchange programs, of the partner universities, enrollment procedures, admission requirements, financial aspects, and much more. In 2023 the information sessions will take place on the following dates and times:

    • Lugano Campus
      Information session in Italian: October 2024, the exact date will be announced in September 2024
      Information session in English: October 2024, the exact date will be announced in September 2024
    • Mendrisio Campus
      Information session in Italian/English: October 2024, the exact date will be announced in September 2024

    Link to presentation 2023: Information session PPT (English)
    Link to video recording 2023: (English)

    Experience reports
    Written by former USI students who spent a period of study at a different university. Reports may be accessed on our website with your USI credentials.

    Study Abroad Guide
    The official publication of the International Relations and Study Abroad Service, with detailed information on how to organize a study period abroad. You can download the 2023 edition here.

    5 reasons for a study abroad experience
    A short video on why we believe a study experience abroad will further enrich your study curriculum and help you grow as a person.

    Individual meetings
    Starting in November, the International Relations and Study Abroad Service offers individual and personalized meetings. You may fix your appointment at the following link: We will be happy to assist you in the organization of your study abroad experience.

  • Admission criteria

    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 (for example, average above 6.0 and number of ECTS in line with the the envisaged study plan at USI);
    • be reasonably proficient in the language of the host country and meet the minimum requirements set by the partner university in terms of level and/or certificate. Please check the following chapter for more detailed information. 

    For specific admission criteria of each USI faculty, please carefully read page 14 of the Study Abroad Guide.

  • Proof of foreign language proficiency


    • By “foreign language” we mean the language in which the student intends to follow the courses and sit the exams at the partner university;
    • By “proof” we mean all types of certificates that may attest to the level of language proficiency;
    • Academy of Architecture: proof of foreign language proficiency is mandatory only if the partner university requests it. Therefore, it must not be submitted at the time of application;
    • Lugano Campus: proof of foreign language proficiency is mandatory and must be submitted at the time of application. It is the student's responsibility to register for a language exam in due time. No exceptions will be made. 

    The language certificate has the following purposes:

    Lugano Campus only

    1. It is an internal requirement to be able to participate in the mobility
      Thanks to this, USI ensures that students who take part in an exchange have sufficient linguistic skills in the language of instruction of the destination university to be able to attend courses and sit exams. The minimum level required is a B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:
    2. It is one of the internal selection criteria
      A score is assigned to the different language levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This score is one of the ranking factors for assigning destinations. Please note that if you choose a university where an official language certificate is not mandatory and, therefore, you do not submit a language certificate with your application, the points give to the language competence will be 0. Therefore, it is anyway useful to hold a proof of language.  

    Lugano and Mendrisio Campuses

    1. It can be requested by the host university
      Each university sets its own minimum language requirements. Proof of knowledge of the foreign language can be requested in various forms. Some examples (non-exhaustive list):
    • It may be sufficient that the study programme at the home university is taught entirely in English;
    • The language exam taken internally at USI can be accepted;
    • It may be necessary to present an official language certificate (IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge, Goethe, etc.);
    • A minimum score within the official language certificate may also be requested (eg: IELTS 6.5 with no sub-score lower than 6.0). In some cases, the language certificate should not be older than 2 years.

    Additional useful information (Lugano and Mendrisio Campuses)

    • Language courses and certificates: opportunities offered at USI:
    • We remind you that Università della Svizzera italiana organises English, French, German and Italian language courses for students enrolled in the academic programmes offered by USI and for employees and academic staff. The Università della Svizzera italiana is the official seat of the international certifications PLIDA, IELTS and Goethe-Zertifikat:
    • Native speakers: students whose native language is the language of study at the host university can upload a document certifying it (identity document, proof of studies in the target language, word document with self-declaration, etc.)
    • The best way to find information on the language requirements of the partner university of your interest is to consult the fact sheets of the partner universities. The fact sheets can be found on the following page, in the "more information" link next to the university name:
    • For additional information: [email protected].
  • Financial aspects

    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.

    Please refer to the website for financial aid possibilities:

  • Application procedure and deadlines

    Please note that only one application per semester is allowed.

    Application procedure Lugano Campus

    The application is done via Mobility Online, an online tool to manage exchanges. A dedicated section with additional information and the link to the online registration form has been created on The information and documents to be provided are:

    1. Language certificates: please read carefully the helpboxes in Mobility Online;
    2. Motivation letter in the language in which you will study (the template to be used will be available directly in Mobility Online);
    3. Learning Agreement (this part will be filled directly in Mobility Online).

    Students are selected based on a ranking calculated directly by Mobility Online and takes into consideration the weighted average grade, the ECTS obtained and the language certificate. 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 in September for Spring semesters without any guarantee that there will still be available openings.

    Additional information about the criteria for the selection of applications.

    Application procedure Mendrisio Campus

    The application is done via Mobility Online, an online tool to manage exchanges. A dedicated section with additional information and the link to the online registration form has been created on The information and documents to be provided are:

    1. Motivation letter (the template to be used will be available directly in Mobility Online);
    2. Portfolio format A4 with the projects of the bachelor programme in pdf version only and max 30MB;
    3. English certificates, if available.

    Students are selected based on a ranking calculated directly by Mobility Online and takes into consideration the weighted average grade. The selection process takes place once a year in March for both Autumn and Spring semesters.

    Internal application deadlines

    Mendrisio Campus
    11 February 2024, 23.59 hrs for the following Academic Year.

    Lugano Campus
    11 February 2024, 23.59 hrs for the following Autumn Semester
    22 September 2024, 23.59 hrs for the following Spring Semester

    Late applications will not be considered.

    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.

  • Maximise your experience abroad: Study Abroad Impact Lab @ UCSC

    Starting in 2023, the International Relations and Study Abroad Service has established a new partnership with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan) for a programme that will be of value to those preparing to go on an exchange: the Study Abroad Impact Lab, an extracurricular course with the aim of helping students maximise their experience abroad and acquire those skills recognised by many employers.

    Details of the 2024 edition

    to be announced


    Programme fee
    EUR 250: EUR 50 is covered by the student, EUR 200 is sponsored by USI's International Relations and Study Abroad Service. Travel costs are to be covered by the participant. 

    Places available

    Registration deadline and procedure
    7 June 2024. Registration via email at [email protected].

    This year the following courses are scheduled:

    • personal branding and self- introduction, elevator's pitch, self-reputation, CV and LinkedIn profile
    • theatrical training to improve/finetune body language, eye contact, gestures, presentation skills
    • internship&stage deep dive, questions and curiosities about Italian companies and international ones for recruitment policies
    • workplace scenario in a global perspective: challenges and barriers, post pandemic situation and hybrid work expectations
    • specific company focus with a guest or with a company visit or both

    Click here to download the description of course contents and goals and the bios of the speakers.

    The academic coordinator, Stefania Vitulli, is a communication consultant and journalist. She is an adjunct professor of Business Communication, Advertising Management and Corporate Communication at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan. She is research fellow at LabCom, UCSC, and professor and Senior Tutor at the Master in Corporate Communication, UCSC. Her research fields at the moment are sustainability, corporate reputation, CEO branding. She is the author of articles and academic papers on green communication and ecoluxury



  • Faculty regulations for mobility

  • Permit, visa and health insurance

    In the table, Permit, visa and health insurance procedures for USI outgoing students, you will find relevant information concerning the bureaucratic procedures you will be asked to complete in order to do an exchange at another university.
    Please note that the information refers to current regulations and procedures established by the competent authorities at cantonal and national level and may therefore be subject to change.

  • Pre-departure checklist

    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;
    • The matriculation certificate and/or the confirmation of participation in the exchange programme that you have received following the selection;
    • 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.



  • Arrival at the host destination

    Orientation programme at the host university

    Most universities organise mandatory orientation programmes for guest students prior to the beginning of the Semester. Nominated exchange students are expected to arrive at the host university on time for orientation and the start of the courses. For some destinations the arrival date is set for July or August. In this case, registration for the retake session in September at USI is not possible.

    Changes in the learning agreement

    The final learning agreeement must be sumbitted in Mobility Online no later than one month after the start of classes at the host univrsity. Any change in the learning agreeement must be approved by USI.

  • End of stay

    At the end of their stay, USI students are required to submit the following documents in Mobility Online

    1. End of study report
    Within three weeks from the end of the exchange period, each student must write an "End of study report" on their experience abroad, directly in Mobility Online. Reports are published on the Responsive Portal as an important source of information for future exchange students.

    2. Exchange survey
    Students must also fill in the Exchange survey in Mobility Online no later than three weeks after the end of the semester abroad.

    3. Certificate of attendance
    SEMP students must submit the certificate of attendance duly filled and signed by the International Office of the host university, indicating the exact dates of start and end of classes. 

  • Recognition of exams and ECTS 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: 04 May 2023