Monday, 1 June 2015

Bilateral Application

If you're new, please read this post first: Initial Steps to Studying Abroad and/or watch this video: How to Study Abroad: Introduction and Options

First off, ya'll better appreciate the research that I have just put into this particular blog post, haha. I didn't apply to my Study Abroad Experience through Bilateral so had no idea before today how it all works. I started my day therefore with 35 attachments in 8 different emails and have since put that information into an Excel Spreadsheet.

Maybe the Leaning Tower of Pisa is just really tired..

So anyway -

As I've mentioned before, each Bilateral Exchange is a direct swap of students (with no middle man). This therefore naturally results in each Bilateral Host Institution having it's own application process. Now, since these change regularly, I am not going to tell you how to apply to each one currently available (as that might not apply to those of you reading this in the future!). I am instead going to give you an over-view of things the individual Host Institution Applications have in common and somethings to be generally prepared for.

This is what prepared looks like!

Personal Applications

As with any application, you will need to state your basic information, such as your name, date of birth and address etc. etc. (Some will ask for a permanent address as well as a current address so be prepared for that). You will also more than likely need to nominate an emergency contact person and submit your passport details.

For those of you that have a first language other than English, you are more than likely required to submit a Language Proficiency Test. Typically, the most widely accepted of those are TOEFL and IELTS test results.

Along with this, everyone will need to submit an up-to-date University of Chester Transcript and state your intentions as to which courses you wish to study at your host institution. More thank likely, you will also have to submit some form or another of a personal statement. These can vary from 300 words to 2 pages depending on the institution itself. It is important then to remember that you are applying to one specific university, so target your statement to and about them - why do you want to study there in particular? What will you bring to them?

Lastly, you will be asked to submit a Medical History Report but  more on that later, under the Vaccinations subheading!

Snuggle on in and get ready for a load more information..

Accommodation and Food

The offered accommodation and food situation will vary drastically from placement to placement, so you should ask yourself:

  • Will your accommodation be on campus?
  • Is there the possibility to join a Host Family?
  • Can I move in early? Will there be extra charges?
  • Will the accommodation be available over the holidays?
  • Is food included in my accommodation or is it separate?
  • What meal plans are available?
  • What if I don't like the food?
  • Will I have the facilities to cook for myself?
  • Will I have a roommate?
  • How much does it all cost?

As well as these 10 questions, you should consider researching what your options are if you don't like your accommodation once you get there and if you can change roommates etc. or not. Most housing applications ask you a few questions such as if you are a smoker, how neat and tidy you are and if you like to wake up early or not. Answer these truthfully but also remember that your roommate will be determined by these questions.

Are you prepared to experience communal living?

Health Insurance

It is compulsory to get health insurance for all of the different host institutions I have looked at today. This is mainly because of the type of visa required to study abroad in different countries and the host generally wants to ensure that you are covered whilst studying abroad.

Most institutions also require you to buy their health insurance and will not accept an alternative. This is actually a reasonably good thing as you can rest assured that you've got the right one without putting in much research. If your choice doesn't demand their own, make sure you research that all of the necessary aspects are covered.

For example, for one institution that I looked at, they allowed any health insurance to be submitted, as long as it satisfies the U.S. Department of State’s requirements outlined below:

  • Medical Benefits: $100,000 
  • Repatriation of Remains: $25,000 
  • Medical Evacuation: $50,000 
  • Deductible per Accident or Illness: $500 

It is therefore up to you to double check with your host institution what it is that they require from you as an applicant.

You don't want to end up like me,
sick in bed for a week and worrying about medical bills!

Statement of Financial Support

A Statement of Financial Support is required in order to enter most countries. It is also required therefore from your host institution. This will mostly be asked for before you can apply for your visa, so be prepared with it as early as possible.

This statement tends to either be a simple bank statement showing that you will have sufficient funds, or there will be a host specific form to fill out which might ask you for a little more detail on where this money is coming from, e.g. savings, sponsor or parents.

You can get Student Finance as normal and this generally suffices as proof of sufficient funds. A quick tip: sort out your Student Finance as early as possible to reduce your own stress levels!

The fun you can have with $3.00
For full video - click here!


As previously mentioned, you are likely to be asked for a Medical History Report. This will most likely be concentrated on your previous vaccinations. The most common to be asked about are as follows:

  • Tuberculosis Screening
  • Tetanus Diptheria
  • Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningitis

As well as this, you might be asked if you have any allergies or disabilities that your host institution should be aware of this. Obviously please consult your doctor about any of this information required from you. 

After working with 6 dogs and 24 horses,
I realised that I was allergic to fur - whoops!

I realise that this is not as detailed as the ISEP Application blog post, but unfortunately, due to the differences in each host institution, you will have to find out the specifics for yourself!

Good luck and I hope this helps even the tiniest bit,

Lucy xxo

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