Study abroad

You would like to do part of your studies abroad? Read about the possibilities here.


Florine Thienpont / Communication Management / Universidad CEU San Pablo, Spanje / Erasmus studies

Via Erasmus you can study at one of Howest's European partner colleges for a period of at least three months to a maximum of one academic year. The credits obtained abroad (ECTS credits) are fully recognized by Howest, so that the courses that you were unable to take at Howest at that time do not have to be “made up”. You will find out which of our 130 Erasmus partners specifically qualify for your study program through your internationalization coordinator.

The foreign institution may not charge an Erasmus student a registration fee. You will also keep any study grant you may have, and will receive an Erasmus grant on top of that, as a contribution to your travel and accommodation expenses during the mobility period. The Erasmus grant is composed of part European and part Flemish co-funding. The monthly amount is higher for scholarship students. On Leho info site "Go International", you will find the Erasmus grant amounts that apply for the current academic year. The usual school insurance will remain in effect during your stay abroad, even during your private time there.

An important part of an Erasmus study period is the so-called "Learning Agreement". This “Learning Agreement” describes the courses that you will take as an Erasmus student abroad and the credits that you will acquire if you pass. The agreement is signed by the home and host institution as well as by the student, at least one and a half month before departure.

Erasmus provides for a compulsory online language test, which every student must take before departure. Upon receipt of the fully signed Learning Agreement, the International Office grants the license for the language test to the student. If it turns out that your level is lower than what the partner school expects, you are expected to retrain via a free online Erasmus language course. International Office will also provide you the license for this. Upon your return, you will have to take another online language test, in which Erasmus hopes that your mobility will have improved your language skills.

To find out about the specific Erasmus possibilities within your study program, you can contact the internationalization coordinator of your study program or campus. You can find his / her name on the general information page of your study program on LEHO, under the heading "internationalization".

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN)

ESN is the student organization for and by Erasmus students, active in hundreds of higher education institutions all over Europe. ESN actively supports internationally mobility students.

Anyone traveling on Erasmus should inquire about the nearest ESN group. You can also play a role as a stay-at-home or former Erasmusser by joining the brand new ESN section in Kortrijk.

By the way, did you know that ESN was founded at Ghent University in 1990, one year after the start of the Erasmus program?

Erasmus Belgica


If you are looking for a destination closer to home, there is Erasmus Belgica. This is an initiative to promote the mobility of higher education students between the Flemish and French Communities. Students must be able to complete part of their training at a university or a college in another Community of Belgium, without jeopardizing the completion of their diploma within the stipulated period. Participating students do not pay any enrollment fee to the host institution and all programs of study are eligible. This project also wants to give students the opportunity to integrate effectively through their studies into the language and culture of another community in Belgium.

Each student receives a fixed sum of € 100 regardless of the distance, to be regarded as a premium or incentive. An additional monthly allowance of € 100 is awarded to the students who prove that they are renting accommodation for the duration of their studies in the other community. For the rest, everything runs exactly according to the rules and conditions of the European Erasmus exchanges. An Erasmus Belgica program lasts at least three months and a maximum of one year. Usual school insurance remains in effect during that period. To find out the specific Erasmus Belgica possibilities within your study program, it is best to consult the internationalization coordinator of your campus or study program.

Study worldwide

Arthur Hugelier / Communication Management / Chestnut Hill College, USA / study / Priority Countries grant

Howest also has partner universities in the US, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Our students can go there for a semester study / internship or a Summer School program. You can find them in our partner list and of course on our Leho info site "Go International".

To this end, we make maximum use of the Grant Program of the Province of West Flanders and the various grant systems of the Flemish government, such as the Priority Country Program, The Washington Center grants, ASEM Work Placement and the Generic grants. Howest International Office also regularly has Erasmus + grants that we can use for student mobility to and from our intercontinental partners.

Don’t miss a single call and check our Leho info site "Go International" and our Facebook page "Howest International".

Support for language preparations

Inyace Hammour / Pharmaceutical and Biological Laboratory Technology / UK / Erasmus internship

Anyone who invests in language preparation before their mobility period can get a refund of up to € 100 from Howest. In concrete terms, this may concern the purchase of learning materials such as DVDs or dictionaries, or registering for a language course, both here and at your destination. See Leho info site “Go International” for more information and for the reimbursement document.

In addition, each Howest location organizes a free course “English for Exchange Students”, for students from study program where no English is on the program. Our incoming exchange students can also take these lessons.

The Erasmus program also provides specific language support (see item Erasmus +)

Short-term mobility programs

Tara Nieuwenhuizen / Biomedical Laboratory Technology / China From Within 

Howest offers you the opportunity to also participate in short-term mobility programs. These can take many different forms:

  • an “international week” on a specific theme at a foreign or French-speaking partner institution
  • a “Student Conference”, such as the annual Unité Student Conference in Edinburgh, on “Employability Skills and Cultural Awareness”, for students from the study area of Commercial Sciences & Business Administration.
  • An “Intensive Program”, with delegations of students and lecturers from different countries, where they work together in international groups on a specific theme. The IP usually ends with a presentation of the results achieved to a jury of lecturers and specialists from the field. Of course followed by a spectacular farewell party. Under the previous Erasmus program, we were able to receive subsidies for such programs (IPs), so that the travel and accommodation of students and lecturers were amply sponsored. Howest was one of the front runners in Flanders, as you can see from our selection for the brochure “EU success stories 2012 - IPs”. Unfortunately, this funding is no longer provided under Erasmus +. Even without the Erasmus funding, we will continue to build on the expertise gained in this successful mobility concept. Numerous courses continue to organize IPs with their partner universities, often shorter than before, and with a prior @distance collaboration between the participants.
  • the “China from within” study trip that we organize annually Howest-wide, with a stay of almost three weeks on the campus of our Chinese partner university.
  • The “India from within” immersion trip to Trichy, in the south of India, with a focus on the professional field of psychological assistance, education, social work. The students also work with students from our partner universities in Trichy.
  • a cross-border boot camp
  • an exchange with your class to French-speaking Belgium, via the Prince Philippe Fund Credits are associated with most short-term international mobility initiatives. So they “count” in the context of your study program. Even without credits, there is recognition: your foreign mobility will be stated on your diploma supplement in any case.

Many Howesters take their first steps in the wide (academic) world thanks to such short-term mobility projects, where they find it important that they travel in the company of fellow students and lecturers.

For many of you, however, they are only a first step: they are now countless, the students who spend an amazing time during an IP or International Week, and immediately after returning they apply for a full semester of study abroad or internship.

Keep an eye on the Leho info site Go International or the Leho site of your study program: sooner or later you will see the calls appear for short mobility projects. Don't miss out on those opportunities!

Recognition and Grade Conversion

Sam Sabbe / Social Work / Austria / Erasmus studies

If you go on a study exchange with a partner institution abroad (or in the French-speaking community of Belgium), that exchange semester or year will be recognised in your Howest curriculum: the course units you take up abroad will replace course units at Howest.  Since your exchange will count towards your Howest diploma, you will not incur any study delay, and, after the exchange, you will continue with your Howest study programme with no interruptions related to having been abroad.  Your study exchange will also appear on your Diploma Supplement as a part of your Howest curriculum.  

Howest fully recognises the results obtained at the partner institution and determines the final scores for the course units done abroad. Your host institution provides us with a Transcript of Records mentioning the (exam) scores you obtained there, and as a part of the recognition procedure Howest will transfer those results to Howest scores.  We recommend mobile students inform themselves via their international coordinator and prior to departure about which one of the 4 methods below will apply for the recognition of their results.

Grade conversion based on Grade Distribution Tables

Ideally, grade conversion is determined through the use of “Grade Distribution Tables,”, as recommended by the ECTS Users’ Guide (an official document in the framework of the "Bologna process).  Such a table offers an overview of all exam scores (only the passing grades) and the percentage of students that obtained a certain grade, for each of the passing grades. On the basis of this information, one can easily calculate cumulative percentages, which are also mentioned in the grade distribution table. When putting together these tables of the sending and receiving institutions, it becomes possible to do a transparent and correct grade conversion. We look at which percentage of students of your receiving institution obtained the same result as you did, and we translate that to the Howest score obtained by a same percentage of students at Howest. In case of overlapping percentages ranges Howest will use the average comparable grade; if the range consists of only two possible scores, Howest will take the highest one. Below, you can find Howest’s most recent Grade Distribution Table.

Consult the Howest Grade Distribution Table

Grade conversion based on the ECTS Grading Scale

Certain European higher education institutions still use the ECTS Grading Scale for grade conversion, which was the precursor of the Grade Distribution Table.  If the partner institution still uses the ECTS Grading Scale, Howest will convert those ECTS grades into Howest scores based on the table below.

ECTS grade Definition Howest grade on 20
A EXCELLENT - outstanding performance with only minor errors
The student has an exceptionally high command of the pursued competence(s)
16/20 and more
B VERY GOOD - above the average standard but with some errors
The student has a very good command of the pursued competence(s) and distinguishes him/herself
14/20 &15/20
C GOOD - generally sound work with a number of notable errors
The student has a good command of the pursued competence(s)
12/20 & 13/20
D SATISFACTORY- fair but with significant shortcomings
The student has an adequate command of the pursued competence(s)
E 10/20 is the PASS SCORE
SUFFICIENT - performance meets the minimum criteria
The student has acquired sufficient command of the pursued competence(s) in order to function and/or continue studying
FX FAIL - some work required before the credit can be awarded
The student has not yet acquired sufficient command of the pursued competences in order to function and/or continue studying
7/20 - 8/20 - 9/20
F FAIL - considerable further work is required
The student has not at all acquired sufficient command of the pursued competences
6/20 and less

Grade conversion based on a Pass/Fail result

Certain partner institutions, mainly in Scandinavian countries, give final evaluations in the form of a Pass or Fail instead of a grade or marks.  In that case, the Howest Education and Exam Code stipulates that a Pass will be translated to a Howest score of 14/20, and a Fail will become a score of 7/20 or less. 

Grade conversion in all other cases 

If for a certain partner institution none of the above applies (which is often the case outside the Erasmus zone), the ECTS principles for grade conversion cannot be applied. In that case, Howest will use its own methodology to translate the scores, based by preference of clear arrangements with the partner institution.  The grading system of a partner institution is mentioned in the bilateral agreement (or in its annex) between Howest and that partner university, and often also on the Transcript they issue, and on their website.

More information

Elias T’joens / Applied Architecture / The Netherlands / Erasmus internship

Both the “Step-by-step plan for study abroad” on Leho infosite “Go International” and our “Go International Guide for the Howest student” contain valuable information about going international during, next to and after your Howest study.

Our Travel Wise :) links and tips are a wealth of practical information to prepare for your study mobility.

Insurance for Outgoing Students

Bauke Hoerée / Multimedia and Communication Technology / The Netherlands / Erasmus studies

University Insurance Policy outgoing students

For a study period abroad

All Howest students who realize a study period abroad are covered worldwide by the Howest school insurance, policy number ETHIAS - 45.262.212   The insurance covers physical injuries and third part liability during all study related activities and on the way back and to the host institution or study related activities.

In case of an accident the student and/or the tutor at the host institution are required to report this immediately to the Howest coordinator of the study abroad period.

Outgoing students need to arrange themselves sufficient health, medical an travel assistance insurance, including repatriation of corps.  For destinations outside Europe it is compulsory for the student to take out a travel assistance insurance.

For a traineeship/internship period abroad

All Howest students who do an unpaid traineeship in any enterprise or organisation worldwide are insured by ETHIAS, policy number ETHIAS - 45.262.212.  The insurance covers physical injuries and third part liability during all traineeship activities and on the way back and to the traineeship (activities).

In case of an accident the student and/or the traineeship tutor are required to report this immediately to the Howest traineeship supervisor.

In case the payment made by the traineeship organisation is higher than a strict reimbursement of expenses, the Howest insurance will consider it a salary and will no longer cover the student during the traineeship.

Outgoing students need to arrange themselves sufficient health, medical an travel assistance insurance, including repatriation of corps.  For destinations outside Europe it is compulsory for the student to take out a travel assistance insurance.