CEEPUS – The Freemover Scholarship Program

02/06/2012 11:51

Would you believe me if I told you that I had spent the last year and a half abroad? I guess you probably would; it’s not that a big of a deal when you’re a young person in Europe. Would it be harder to believe that I spent that time studying at three different universities and institutions? What if I told you that those three institutions were in three different countries – not to mention on three separate continents – and that I studied in three different fields using three different scholarships? This is hardly comprehensible for even me and, most probably, you’re scratching your head too. Yet it is true. Let me tell you about one of the programs that I was able to use – the Freemover Scholarship Program.

 

Around this time two years ago, I was longing for change. I wanted to experience something entirely new. That desire was combined with a hunger for knowledge and choices, as well as the wish to step out of my comfort zone; I wanted to test myself. I was really disappointed in Erasmus, seeing that neither the Department of Hungarian Language and Literature nor our Department of British and American Studies have useful connections of this kind. So, I spent almost the entire winter term searching and – I don’t even know how exactly – discovered the Central European Exchange Program for University Students. CEEPUS supports the mobility of students in higher education in Central and Eastern Europe, and universities from more than 15 countries are involved. Students can choose from any of a participating university’s departments, even if one’s home institution has no bilateral agreement with that particular department. So your eligibility mostly depends on how can you match the offered study program of the host institution with your own field of study. That’s how I ended up at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (ELTE) studying Australian culture and literature.

 

Practically-speaking, applying for a CEEPUS grant is both simple and nerve-racking. Don’t be surprised by the program’s “minimalistic” homepage (www.ceepus.info) – click through to FAQs and you’ll find everything you need to register. Then download the forms you need to fill in, or that others need to fill in for you. I recommend starting this in plenty of time. You know people: they don’t have time, they forget, they lose the forms, or any number of other things come up. Once you have all the forms completed, upload them to your personal mobility application and send it to the National CEEPUS Office (NCO). The deadline for the 2012/2013 spring term for network applications is October 30th and for freemovers is November 30th, so you have plenty of time to get your ducks in a row.  Remember, all the paperwork connected with your application is processed online and you have to make all the arrangements via e-mail. It is very important that you express yourself clearly and know exactly what you want from the person you are communicating with. Try to be as brief and to the point as you can; focus only on the immediate information you need to get or give. And of course, be polite but do not overdo it. Keep in mind that the person you’re contacting is busy; you are not the only person applying. Besides being accurate, polite, clear, and motivated, also be unique.

 

After being accepted into the program, inform all the instructors of the courses you have signed up for at your home institution that you won’t be present that semester and why. The best thing is to find some compatibility between the courses offered in the host program and the courses in your home program so that you can get credit. I also recommend making an agreement with each instructor – in writing – in which conditions for receiving credits for the courses you take abroad are specifically laid out.

 

After surviving all the torture incurred by paperwork, go and enjoy your stay abroad. The only thing you need to do once you arrive at your host institution is find the International Office, or whoever is responsible for international students, so you can fill in the required forms, register for courses and get a student ID. 

 

Although I made every possible mistake, and everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong, my stay abroad was one of the best in my life. The people I met, the friends I made, the roommates I fought with, the professors who taught me, the cultural differences I experienced, the homesickness I went through … every detail has made a deep impact on my life.  And that’s exactly what I was looking for.

Julianna Gaálová

 

Comments

Date: 28/11/2012

By: Maciek

Subject: Freemover

Hey! :)
and what about the remaining two freemover programs? :)
Congrats for getting on all of them!
All the best to you,

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