Universiteit Leiden

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Exchange agreements

When two universities want to move beyond a general cooperation agreement (an MOU) into student exchange activities, an additional, specific exchange agreement must be signed specifying the terms of the agreement and the rights and responsibilities of each party.

Within Europe

Student and staff exchange within Europe is made possible through the Erasmus + programme. This EU-led and subsidized programme provides a simple standardised procedure for programmes and faculties to establish student and/or staff exchange in specified subject areas such as History, Psychology, International Law, etc. Erasmus partnerships are always managed at faculty level by the Faculty/Programme’s International Coordinator. In the case of the Social Sciences they are managed at a programme level. Download an example Leiden exchange agreement >>

Outside of Europe

Student exchange agreements outside of Europe are a different format from the Erasmus + agreements mentioned above. Students outside of Europe require entry visas and/or residence permits and are obliged to meet university admissions requirements. Unless there are specific financial or balance details to be worked out, an additional agreement for staff exchange is generally not signed for partners outside of Europe. As opposed to European agreements within the Erasmus + programme, there is no single standard student exchange agreement format. The agreement is consequently negotiated between the international relations offices of each institution. Download an example Leiden agreement >>

Scholarships and Subsidies

Leiden University administers several scholarship programmes for student exchange. Students studying abroad within Europe on an Erasmus + agreement can apply for Erasmus+ funding which is a monthly stipend to help defray expenses. Students studying outside of Europe can apply for a Lustra scholarship, which is a one-time scholarship which could go towards travel expenses, etc. Occasionally there are additional scholarships administered by Leiden University. Students can review the scholarships website for an overview. NUFFIC also offers suggestions for outbound students.

Staff members participating in an Erasmus + staff exchange within Europe can also apply for Erasmus funding. The SOZ International Relations office also provides information and guidance on applications for Erasmus+ funding for staff and student exchange with institutions in targeted countries outside of Europe through the International Credit Mobility programme.

Safety regulations and travel restrictions

Leiden University has strict policies in place for students’ travel in the context of their studies. It is important to keep these regulations in mind when considering new partnerships.  For staff, slightly different regulations apply. More information can be found on Safety abroad and crisis management


The SOZ International Relations department manages a large number of institutional student exchange agreements outside of Europe. In addition, some faculties manage a number of faculty-level partnerships outside of Europe, and all faculties manage their own Erasmus + (European) partnerships. For questions about University-wide student exchange agreements, please contact International Relations. For faculty partnerships contact your faculty’s International Coordinator.

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