In today's and tomorrow's working life, global and transversal skills are fundamental. For this reason, it is important to acquire strong international experience while studying. A great way to do this is to participate in the international exchange.
As student of the Politecnico di Milano in the School of Design, you have several opportunities to study in the best universities in the whole world.
- To experiment with new ways of studying design and experiencing a new academic culture from within.
- New environments, experiences and friends also bring new ideas. Many students have a clearer view of their professional future after the exchange.
- After the exchange it will be easier to seize other international opportunities.
- It can also be the experience of a lifetime. In addition, the exchange experience will help you to build transversal skills, what we call soft skills, fundamental in the working life:
- Communication and interaction skills
- Ability to adapt to new environments
- Ability to face new challenges
- Building international networks
- Have a global perspective for your field of study
- Ability to work in multicultural teams
- Cultural understanding
- Ability to solve problems
- Knowledge of your strengths
The School of Design of the Politecnico di Milano offers at the students different experiences of international exchange with over 200 partner universities around the world:
- Erasmus exchanges (with around 150 European universities)
- Bilateral exchanges (with around 75 non-European universities)
- Double Degree Programs in Master's Degrees
- Special programs with strategic partners (e.g. MEDES, FIT, etc.)
The duration of the exchange ranges from 3 to 12 months in each level of study (L and LM), for a semester or academic year and in accordance with the course of study and the specific agreements with each partner location.
In all the Programs it is possible to have at least one exchange experience during the Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Consult the guide to check the best time to make the exchange according to your course of study (Guida studenti outgoing LT, Guida studenti outgoing LM). Making an exchange in the Bachelor does not preclude the possibility of making another period of mobility in the Master level
While abroad, you will study full time and advance in your studies as expected. Having an exchange experience does not mean delaying the time for graduation.
Start planning the exchange in advance, this will give you time to consider carefully your destination and acquire language skills if needed.
How to select from the universities available for exchange
The exchange of students is based on inter-institutional exchange agreements between the Politecnico di Milano and partner universities abroad. The agreements allow students to study in the partner university without paying the tuition fees in the hosting University. For each Program there are similar or equivalent programs offered in the partner Universities that will allow you to enrich your portfolio and curriculum.
You can find more information on the locations available for each course of study here:
- The Manifesto of the studies of the own Course of Studies, in the section: Internationalization Polimi.it/manifesti
- On the Map of the Partner universities on the Politecnico website link: https://www.polimi.it/en/services-and-opportunities/experience-abroad/map-of-partner-universities-and-mobility-agreements/
- In the list of partner of the Scuola del Design (link: partner universities design file)
We also invite you to consult the reports of students who have been in exchange in the last years: (link student reports outgoing)
Check the website of the universities you are considering, in the Exchange students area, the possible language requirements and other required documents.
There are less possibilities of being selected in universities with a high number of requests, so we recommend that you consider your choices taking into account also your academic performance and average. Check the most requested universities in our list: (link: partner universities design file)
Do not underestimate small schools and less attractive geographic areas, these can offer better support and advanced facilities and surprisingly very international environments.
Also consider the costs that you will have to face when selecting the locations, in order to avoid subsequent waivers for this reason. The costs are related to travel, food, accommodation and sometimes insurance required by the host countries.
The application and selection process is divided into two main phases:
In the first phase, students must respond to the International Mobility call, which opens every year in December for a departure during the following academic year.
More information about the different exchange programs and the related calls are available here: https://www.polimi.it/en/services-and-opportunities/experience-abroad/
The selection of candidates takes place on a merit criteria basis, declared in the specific calls, and are carried out by commissions made up of teachers promoting the exchange university indicated in the application.
Candidates who are eligible must accept the selection within the terms indicated in the call.
Subsequently, the selected candidates will have to start preparing the documents required to apply for the University of destination. Usually this phase occurs in the semester preceding the exchange period. The student should consult the website of the University to check the required documents to start preparing them, it will be important to update the portfolio also with the support of the Professors promoter. Many partner schools carry out an internal selection of candidates for the exchange and for this reason it is essential that the portfolio is curated and representative of your technical, academic and personal skills.
The Exchange office will contact each student following the deadlines of each University and guide you through this nomination phase. Each University will make the final and official decision on whether or not to accept the student. It may take some time to receive the official decision - please be patient!
After the acceptance from the partner University, students need to prepare the Learning Agreement with the courses you want to do in the exchange and make them to be approved by the Professor Promoter.
The website of the partner University is the most reliable and updated source from which to build your own mobility plan.
Tips for choosing courses in the venue:
- Choose among the courses of your level and your course of study.
- Check the website of the partner University to see the offer of courses for the semester in which you are applying, if the updated information on the courses is not available, use the information available from the previous year. Also consult the reports of the students who have been in exchange and contact your promoter for advice.
- Calculate the necessary courses considering the total hours of Polimi courses:
6 CFU = 6 ECTS = 50 hours of lessons
12 CFU = 12 ECTS = 120 hours of lessons
This will help you to define a (provisional) Learning Agreement, which can be changed after arrival at the University.
It is recommended for those leaving for an exchange to register for an equivalent full-time workload in accordance with the host university's credit system. Students should do around 30 ECTS credits per semester of exchange. If the academic year of the host University is divided into quarters, the credits will be approximately 15 Ects or an equivalent amount of studies in local credits.
If your host university does not use the ECTS system, check the correspondence of credits / work-study hours / local units, so as to complete enough courses.
Exchange students always remain students enrolled at the Politecnico, therefore students must continue to respect all the deadlines and procedures foreseen for the students (Enrollment, Presentation of the Study Plan, etc.).
- Changes in the Learning Agreement
If you make changes in the Learning Agreement at the beginning or later during the semester, you must contact your exchange promoter and get the approval of the changes. This way you make sure that there will be no problems with validating courses after the exchange.
Keep in touch with the exchange office and your promoter for any change compared to the length of the exchange period or if you have difficulty finding enough courses, etc.
- You are an ambassador of the School of Design of Politecnico di Milano
The exchange of students is based on reciprocity. We send our students to partner universities and, in turn, we receive exchange students from these universities. Therefore, it is very important to promote the Polytechnic during the exchange. Many universities organize exchange fairs or similar events where exchange students can present their home country and school. We strongly encourage students to take part in these events in order to promote the Polytechnic in the destination of the exchange.
- Cultural shock
Studying and living abroad means that you will have to face changes and new situations that could make you feel a little stressed. Most exchange students experience the so-called cultural shock when they move to a new country and begin the adaptation process into a new culture. Cultural shock means anxiety or a feeling of non-belonging, which is caused by facing a foreign culture.
In the midst of all the confusion, it is good to remember that cultural shock is the beginning of an adaptation process during which valuable tools are obtained to improve self-knowledge and understanding of different cultures.
How to deal with cultural shock:
Find out about your destination in the best way possible before leaving (from the climate to religion and from the political system to customs, etc.);
Be open-minded, willing to learn;
Take a language course;
Meet new people, immerse yourself in the new culture - don't be alone! In many partner schools you will find student associations both related to exchanges, sports and other cultural activities;
Travel within the host country;
Maintain a sense of humor;
Keep in touch with people at home.
Things to do upon return from the exchange:
1 Update the exchange office of your return and deliver all the documents required by the Exchange office.
2. Answer the online questionnaire prepared for Design students:
3. Deliver the final report on your exchange experience to the exchange university within one month of the end of the period by sending it to: email@example.com
The purpose of the report is to provide information to other students who are participating in an exchange in the same university and to those who are still considering going exchange and comparing different universities and countries. Indicate in the report your course of study in Polimi, the name of the University where you have been in exchange and the semester of exchange.
Format: in English but can also be in Italian, a pdf file, of max. size 2 MB. The length min. 2500 words + possible images (Exchange report form).
The reports are published on the School of Design website
4. Validate the credits completed during the exchange with the credits present in your study plan at Politecnico, by contacting your exchange promoter to define the date to have the final interview, and record the validations of the courses in your career.
Final interview with the promoter:
To get validation of the credits you completed abroad during the exchange, you must meet your promoter to transfer the credits into your career.
- Present the portfolio with the works you have done in exchange.
- Bring the Learning Agreement with the list of courses you are validating
The grades will be recorded by the promoter in your career considering this conversion table: Link: www.design.polimi.it/fileadmin/files/internazionale/Tabella_di_conversione_voti_2017_DESIGN_.pdf
Share your experience and stay international:
Participate in the exchange your mind exchange promotion activities to inspire other students to exchange. Maintain your international lifestyle within the Politecnico: take part in the activities of associations that welcome students in exchange.
You have acquired important skills that can be highly appreciated by employers: update your CV with your experience.
International Mobility Unit
Via Lambruschini 15 (building 20), 20158 Milano
Hours: Mon-Wed 10.00am-12.30pm only upon appointment through the Online Services or Polimi App
phone +39.02.2399.4488 Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
RELE’ Office – Presidenza delle Scuola del Design
Via Candiani 72 - Via Durando 10 - building B1, 20158 Milano