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Student Exchange
by Mila Bertolli
Translated by Manja Maksimovic

When looking for a job, experience has proven to be the key comparative advantage, especially if fresh out of university and with no or little practical experience during the years of study. This is when another sort of experience comes in handy: that acquired in one’s lifetime. Studying in another country is an example of how to gain that kind of experience: students’ horizons broaden, they get acquainted with other cultures and make new friendships. This contributes greatly to personal development, stands out as a bonus when applying for a job, and benefits not only the individuals but their homeland as well.

Slovenia is no exception. Due to the increasing mobility of foreign students to Slovenia and Slovene students abroad, Slovenia is turning into a true European state especially in the area of education.

Foreign Students in Slovenia – Slovene Students Abroad

Slovenia can be included among the countries where the study abroad and the student exchange programmes are quite popular and well organized. There is a wide variety of options; there is a student exchange programme at almost every academy, faculty and college in Slovenia. The exchange is based on bilateral agreements between the universities and fulfilled conditions on the part of the student. International offices at universities offer students complete information so that they can make a decision to perform part of their studies abroad. The mobility of students is not only a task of universities, however, as there is a variety of organisations which make student networking a priority.


One of the largest organisations of its kind is the Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programs (CMEPIUS). One of its major tasks is the coordination of the European Community education and training programmes such as Leonardo da Vinci and Socrates with the subsections. They are gradually taking on the arrangement of other sorts of mobility, defined by bilateral and multilateral programmes, such as the activities which they perform as the national agency for bilateral and other exchanges of international scholarships. CMEPIUS also enables the acquisition of scholarships by Slovenes living in bordering counties and by Slovene descendants around the world. Information on the study and scholarship requirements for the descendants of Slovene emigrants and candidates from the bordering countries is available at the website. Another programme called CEEPUS – Central European Exchange Program for University Studies is active within CMEPIUS with the aim of initiating and encouraging mobility of students and professors in Central Europe by making good use of friendly connections.


The programme with which students are most familiar is SOCRATES. This is a European Union programme aimed at the promotion of European cooperation. Its subsection ERASMUS gives students financial support so that they are able to perform part of their studies at an institution in an EU member state. These programmes have arisen from a desire that the EU nations get to know each other, work well together and one day form a solid union. Thanks to the bilateral agreements between Slovene and foreign universities, the study which a student carries out at a foreign university gets full recognition in Slovenia. The ERASMUS office is part of the International Office at the Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana. Detailed information on the SOCRATES programme is available via CMEPIUS (, Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (, and Erasmus Student Network ( websites.

Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana (ŠOU)

The International Office at ŠOU carries out a special networking programme for the youth from the neighbouring countries. The "Neighbouring Slovenes" project is run by interconnecting youth societies and clubs from the neighbouring countries, compiling a data base of links, organising visits of emigrant students from the USA and Canada, and organising meetings of emigrant descendants in Slovenia. Although the project is aimed at students, nonschool-going young Slovene descendants living abroad are also welcome to take part in the activities. The selection of the participants for the meetings is usually the task of Slovene emigrant organisations in the USA and Canada. More information is available at

Ad futura

The foundation Ad futura is another agency which promotes international cooperation and the mobility of students and researchers in Slovenia. Through calls for applications, it offers scholarships and co-finances the studies and scientific research of both Slovenes abroad and foreigners in Slovenia. It also co-finances the return of Slovene researchers who have spent several years working abroad. Apart from co-financing the studies, Ad futura also organises conventions for Slovene students abroad and conferences for foreign students and organisations. More on its mobility programme can be found at


The criteria for credit evaluation of the study programmes based upon the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) came into force in Slovenia this autumn. This system enhances the transparency and comparability of the systems and study programmes, as well as enables mobility of students between universities in Slovenia and abroad. Credit points are the units by which the work done by the students is evaluated. The criteria by which quality control of the universities and their study programmes will be guaranteed have also come into force. This gives assurance that the merit system by which the students’ work abroad will subsequently be graded and recognised by their home university is transparent.

A great variety of organisations in Slovenia, which are active in the field of student exchange, hints at the fact that the mobility of knowledge, teaching and research is moving in the right direction. If only Slovene universities would lend a keener ear to the increasing interest of foreign students in studying in Slovenia and organise more classes in the English language. Foreign exchange students have one option left, though: they can always enrol in a Slovene learning course.

(Content abstracted from "Slovenija.svet December 2004" published by
Slovenska izseljenska matica.)