Incoming Erasmus+ traineeships

Every year, we accept a number of students from other European universities to do an Erasmus+ traineeship at Surrey. Erasmus+ traineeships offer students at higher education institutions the opportunity to do an EU-funded period of training or a work placement at a higher education institution or company in another EU Programme Country. The aim is to increase their labour market skills. Traineeship placements are full-time and should be relevant to the student's degree-related learning and personal development needs. They are often integrated in the student's study programme, but are also open to recent graduates.

Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

The EU Programme Countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey, United Kingdom.

Following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020:

  • The UK remains a full participant in the Erasmus+ programme until 31st December 2020.

  • Any student mobilities in the UK funded under the Erasmus+ 2020 call or earlier will continue to be funded by the European Commission as normal, even if activity takes place after 31st December 2020, and will run until their normal completion dates.

  • Students must be registered at a higher education institution that has been awarded the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) and is in one of the EU Programme Countries
  • Students should be enrolled in studies leading to a recognised degree or other recognised tertiary level qualification, such as a Bachelor, a Master or a Doctorate
  • Students who are finishing their studies at a higher education institution may apply to do an Erasmus+ traineeship as a recent graduate
  • Students will need to fulfil the selection criteria defined by their higher education institution, which may include academic performance, previous mobility experience, motivation, etc.
  • Students may not do a traineeship in the country where they are studying
  • There is no age limit or nationality restriction
  • Traineeships are open to people with special needs and disabilities and the programme aims to promote equity and inclusion for these learners

Students may do an Erasmus+ traineeship abroad for a period of 2 to 12 months per study cycle (Bachelor/Master/Doctorate). Students may receive both an Erasmus+ study grant and an Erasmus+ traineeship grant for a combined total of 12 months per cycle of study.

Successful applicants may be awarded an Erasmus+ EU traineeship grant by their home institution (not the University of Surrey) to contribute towards the travel and subsistence costs incurred through their traineeship abroad.

Erasmus+ trainees do not pay fees to the University of Surrey.

Interested students should apply to the International/Erasmus+ office of their sending higher education institution. The office will provide information about their application and selection process, documents you need to prepare, where you can go, how and when to apply for the Erasmus+ traineeship grant and when you would receive it, and the requirements and responsibilities of your period abroad.

The University of Surrey’s English language requirements are a minimum of IELTS 6.5, with at least 6.0 in each of the sub skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), or CEFR B2 or the equivalent, and ideally higher. If you are not a native English language speaker, you should provide evidence of your English language proficiency when you approach academics at Surrey about traineeship opportunities.

Once a traineeship has been agreed with Surrey and before your departure, your sending institution will ask you to undertake an online linguistic assessment test (OLS) to make sure you meet the recommended level at Surrey. The results of this test will not prevent you from undertaking the traineeship and the University of Surrey will not see the results, but your sending institution may grant you access to a free online English language course before and during your stay abroad in order to improve your language competency for your mobility abroad. You will be asked to take a final English language assessment on your return to measure your progress.

The University of Surrey does not have a list of Erasmus+ traineeship opportunities in each department, so eligible students will need to research and email appropriate academic staff themselves. The best way to identify researchers in your field of interest and to find out their contact details is to visit the ‘Research’ and ‘People’ pages on the relevant Faculty or Department websites. Students interested in a traineeship in the School of Veterinary Medicine should email: You may email staff at any time of year, but it should be at least 2 months before your proposed traineeship period, and longer than this if you are not an EU/EEA citizen.

When you email staff at Surrey, please provide:

  • Your preferred mobility period
  • Your academic transcript of records
  • Your CV and your particular research interest
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency

Some staff like to arrange a Skype interview to assess your suitability and discuss project options.

Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange hospital placements for Erasmus+ trainees at our local hospitals.

Send a follow-up email to the academic with whom you wish to work if you haven’t had a response within a week or so of your initial email. If the second email does not get a response, it may be that the academic or department does not have a suitable traineeship opportunity available or does not have a suitable person to supervise you during your preferred mobility period. We recommend you explore opportunities at other UK universities to increase your chances of success.

Once a Surrey academic has agreed to supervise you and you have identified a suitable project or work plan, your home institution’s Erasmus office will need to email their Erasmus+ Learning Agreement for Traineeships form to your Surrey supervisor for them to complete. Your Surrey supervisor will return the original to you for you to get your home institution to grant final approval. Once completed and signed by all parties, a copy of the traineeship agreement should be sent to the Surrey supervisor and Zoe Stevenson. You keep the original.

Surrey academics will not sign any other kind of document issued by the sending institution (eg. a letter of intent or a convention de stage) as it may not conform to our terms and conditions. The Erasmus traineeship form is consistent across Europe and should therefore be accepted by the sending institution without the need for further documentation.

The agreement should outline:

  • The practical details such as the main contact details, the hours of work and start and end dates
  • The aims and nature of the work or research and the learning outcomes
  • Details of any pay or payment in kind
  • Who is providing insurance cover
  • How the traineeship will be recognised

Prior to departure, the sending institution will provide you with:

  • grant agreement covering the mobility period, stating your grant rate, and signed between you and your sending institution.
  • An Erasmus+ Learning Agreement for Traineeships regarding the specific programme for the traineeship, approved by you, your sending institution and the University of Surrey – see above.
  • The Erasmus+ Student Charter which sets out your rights and obligations with respect to your period of training/work experience abroad.

At the end of your traineeship abroad:

  • For a traineeship that is an integral part of the curriculum, the sending institution must give full academic recognition for the period spent abroad, by awarding ECTS credits or the equivalent. Recognition will be based on the Traineeship Agreement approved by all parties before the period of mobility.
  • If the traineeship is not part of your curriculum, the sending institution will provide recognition by recording this period in your Diploma Supplement or Europass Mobility Document, or in the case of recent graduates, by providing a traineeship certificate (Table D of the Learning Agreement for Traineeships) or Europass.

If the sending institution has indicated in Table B of the Learning Agreement that it WILL provide accident and public liability insurance cover for you whilst you are at Surrey, the University of Surrey will NOT provide insurance cover.

If the sending institution has indicated that it will NOT provide cover, Surrey WILL provide:
• accident insurance in the workplace – but NOT for accidents during travels made for work purposes or for accidents on the way to work and back from work. Students must therefore take out their own travel and accident insurance and email a copy of their insurance document to their Surrey supervisor prior to their arrival at Surrey.
• public liability insurance, but not personal liability insurance.

The University has a medical centre for students living on campus. Students living off-campus can book appointments at their local doctors' surgery (GP).

The University of Surrey does not provide medical insurance for incoming Erasmus+ trainees.

  • Nationals of EEA countries or Switzerland should obtain their country’s equivalent of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to Surrey. This gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the UK at a reduced cost or for free, depending on the type of healthcare provided (eg. initial emergency hospital treatment, family planning, and treatment for sexually transmitted and some highly contagious diseases are free).The EHIC also covers any treatment you need for a chronic disease or pre-existing illness.
  • Students who are nationals of other countries will need to take out travel and medical insurance, unless this is provided by your home institution.

No, you will be considered research staff by the University of Surrey, rather than a student, although you will still have student status at your sending institution. Your Department will register you with the Faculty’s Human Resources team rather than on the Surrey student records system. You will therefore not have a student number, nor Students’ Union membership.

University accommodation is typically full during teaching periods so we would encourage students doing a short traineeship to come, if possible, during the summer break (late June – early September) when there may be one or two student rooms available at the University and there is more choice in the private sector. For our Short-Term Single Bedroom prices, see page 2 of our accommodation price list. You will not be able to use the University’s online accommodation application form as it requires a Surrey student number. Instead, please email the University’s Accommodation Office direct to enquire about availability. NB. University rooms must be vacated by early September, when the residences are closed for cleaning, so if you need to stay longer, you will need to move to a local guest house or bed & breakfast for the last part of your stay. 

Erasmus+ trainees are not eligible for university guest accommodation, as this can only be rented for a period of up to 28 days and Erasmus+ traineeships are for a minimum of 2 months.

Most trainees, particularly those coming during semester time, will need to look for a private rental nearby using local letting agents and the property section of online newspapers such as the Surrey Advertiser. For advice on renting in the private sector and a list of local letting agents, see our Lettings page. You will not be able to use the University’s online student rental search facility, StudentPad, as it requires a Surrey student number.

Students with a passport or national identity card from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland will not need a visa to do an Erasmus+ traineeship at Surrey.

All other students will need a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa. Your sending institution’s Erasmus coordinator will need to request a Tier 5 visa from the British Council and send them your supporting documents. The British Council Tier 5 team will advise them about which documents to submit and what the requirements are to qualify for visa sponsorship. It can take up to 4 weeks to receive a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the British Council before you can apply for your Tier 5 visa, so you will need to allow plenty of time. Further information is available on the Erasmus+ website.

After arriving at Surrey, trainees need to complete a Miscellaneous account request form in order to get a Surrey IT/email account and a visiting researcher campus card. The campus card gives you access to the library and its resources and to certain academic buildings. The form will need to be signed by a senior member of staff from your Surrey department, before being emailed to or taken to the IT User Support Helpdesk at the 1st floor entrance to the Library.

IT Services will create an account for you which will migrate through to the Library management system. Once you have received email confirmation of your membership number from IT Services, you should visit the Ask Me Desk on Level 1 of the Library to have your photo taken and a campus card issued.

The University’s Global Engagement Office organises a number of social and cultural activities for the incoming exchange students during both semesters (e.g. visits to a historic property and town, bowling, ice-skating, quiz night, etc). Erasmus+ trainees are welcome to take part in these. The Erasmus+ and exchange students also have a Facebook page where they arrange their own social activities and visits. If trainees are interested in participating in these, they should email Zoe Stevenson  in the Global Engagement Office.

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