A unique opportunity to have academic experience in two EU countries while receiving stipend and travel support and without paying extra tuition fees.

Application are now being accepted for the mobility period staring with the Spring semester of the 2010/2011 academic year.

Interested FIT students are encouraged to contact Dr. Charles Bostater, the US project lead, (at bostater@probe.ocn.fit.edu) directly for indicating their interest. An email distribution list is available at the FIT for the Atlantis STARS project: atlantisstars@lists.fit.edu.

SUMMARY: The FIT students selected to participate in this mobility period of the Atlantis STARS program are offered the possibility to spend a fall and a spring semester in the two European partner institutions: Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME - Budapest, Hungary) and the Royal Military School (RMS - Brussels, Belgium) without paying tuition fees to the host institutions (BME, RMS). Selected students are respondable registering as full time students at the FIT while abroad. Selected students are provided with stipend and travel support for the whole period of their studies in Europe. Their studies will be recognized at the FIT using the credit transfer agreed by the partner institutions. Successful FIT students' credits earned at the FIT will be recognized at the BME to obtain a European BSc. degree.

The followings are for information and has no contractual value. Please read the remaining content carefully!

  1. General provisions
  2. Application procedures
  3. FIT policies to study in another institution
  4. Practical tips from previous students

General provisions for FIT students participating in the program

1. ELIGIBILITY: The eligible FIT students must be regularly enrolled at the FIT, must be US citizens and must complete their coursework through their 6th semester at the FIT.

2. TUITION FEES: The BME and the RMS do not require tuition fees from fill time enrolled FIT students for the duration of the mobility periods and maximizes the number of incoming students up to ten for one mobility period, and/or per the grant conditions. The number of students for a given mobility period may be increased or decreased with the written agreement of all participating institutions and availability of grant funds. This provision is valid for those full time enrolled FIT students who participate in the STARS program and receive a stipend from the FIT grant. At FIT, students will be enrolled as full time students for the maximum undergraduate tuition. Tuition costs as an undergraduate student at FIT must still be paid by the FIT student to FIT.

3. STIPEND: Students selected to participate in the program from the FIT receive a stipend of 1000 (one thousand) US dollars for one month and a travel contribution of 1000 US dollars as per mobility period or not to exceed the limit specified by the FIPSE grant for each US student (10,000 US dollars for each students). Funds are available for preparatory French language classes.

4. DEGREE: The BME will provide a European BSc degree for successful FIT students who participate in the STARS project during the mobility period and who complete all academic requirements. This degree, if awarded, will be accompanied by the Europass (see detailed description at http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/) document.

5. TRANSCRIPT: The BME provides an official transcript record (in English) for all FIT students participating in the STARS project, regardless of the eligibility of the student to obtain the certification mentioned in provision 4. The transcript includes the list of courses taken at the BME together with the academic results of the FIT student and the ECTS (credit number according to the European Credit Transfer System) earned during the mobility period. The transcript is free of charge.

6. FIRST MOBILITY PERIOD TIMELINE: The timeline of FIT students staying in the two EU countries for the academic year 2008/2009 is shown in the table below. These dates are tentative and may be slightly vary based upon final academic calendars of the institutions.

FIT students

Start date

End date

Travel to Location

mid September 2008

mid January 2008

BME (Budapest) classes and exams

mid January 2008

May 2008

RMS (Brussels)

7. HEALTHCARE INSURANCE DURING THE STAY IN THE EU: FIT students need to obtain healthcare insurance in Hungary. Related products offered for foreign students are available by private companies and by the Hungarian National Health Insurance Company. Healthcare insurance is not covered by the grant, but paid for by the students from their stipends (approx cost for the total duration of their stay is $200 excluding dental treatment, medical attendance of pregnancy, HIV treatment, etc.).

8. EXCULSION AND DISCIPLINARY MEASURES: Students participating in the program must respect all written and applicable regulations and ethical norms both of their home and hosting institutions during the mobility period. Students who fail to attend courses, classroom and laboratory practices or fail to participate in the midterm and final exams at the host institution will be excluded from the mobility and must return to their home institution. Their scholarship period will be suspended or definitely terminated upon the decision of the participating institutions. Such a decision is made by unanimous consent of all participating institutions.

For more details, please study the "Memorandum of Agreement for the Exchange of Students within US FIPSE – EU Commission Atlantis STARS Grants" available in the Archive section.

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Application procedures

The application to the STARS program is free of charge. This project uses the same admission procedure as other exchange student programs at the BME with some exceptions. Your application has to be submitted to the FIT coordinator (Dr. Charles Bostater) and than will be transferred to the BME. Missing documents will be required (if late submission of such documents are tolerated by the BME).

Click here for a printable Application Form! (this link opens the BME official site for exchange student registration)

Your application must comprise all the following documents:

  1. application form completely filled (be careful that your personal data appear correctly as are in your passport because that will be the form to appear in your transcripts and degree certificate)
  2. the application form has to be signed and stamped by your home (sending) institution that is at the FIT
  3. copy of your valid passport
  4. official transcripts (including courses obtained at the FIT)
  5. two recent photographs
  6. curriculum vitae (autobiography/resume)
  7. one page long handwritten motivation letter

Put a capitalized STARS ATLANTIS on top of the first page with the name of the project coordinator at the BME (Dr. Bálint Kiss).

Application requirements:

  1. outstanding academic record
  2. at least basic knowledge of the French language
  3. capacity to evolve in a foreign language speaking environment

ATTENTION: As a non-EU citizen, prior to departing from your home country, you need to obtain a D-5 visa at the closest Hungarian Embassy in your country. Due to new immigration regulations of our state you may face difficulties in obtaining your visa. Please, contact immediately the closest Hungarian Consulate, and find out about most recent information, conditions and price of obtaining a D-5 visa. The Visa costs are not included in the stipend.

NOTE: US-citizens do not need visa in Belgium.

ENROLLMENT: All accepted FIT students are expected to report at the International Education Center of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Students Office) in building Z, ground floor for enrolment. Please note also that after arriving in Hungary you have to get registered with the Immigration Office in Budapest, and apply for a Residence Permit. BME IEC will provide assistance with arranging registration with the authority. For more information, interested students may check the more informal "Student's Survival Manual" for foreign students.

ACCOMODATION: Private accommodation (rented room/apartment) are available for $100 to $300 a month depending on location and comfort. BME IEC runs a temporary office assisting students with finding and arranging accommodation for incoming exchange students. For the mobility period during the academic year 2008/2009, the housing is free of charge at the RMS in Brussels (limited number of rooms are available in selected dormitories, students seekeing accomodation elsewhere in Brussels must pay for it).

ACADEMIC PROGRAM: Your academic program will be constructed using the Bulletin of the English language courses at the BME (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics only) in order to maximize the probability of success to obtain the BME degree certificate. This will be assisted by the BME program officer (Dr. Bálint Kiss) based on your transcript. Successful applicant are expected to assist language and civilization courses (free of charge) offered by BME faculty.

ORIENTATION PROGRAM: You are requested to take part in the orientation program that is run as indicated in the academic calendar (see the Bulletin on the internet).

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FIT policies for studying at another institution

  1. Students requesting to study at another institution must meet all catalog policies covering transfer credits and residency requirements.
  2. Once becoming a Florida Tech student, a maximum of three courses can be taken at another institution and applied toward any one degree. (This does not apply to this exchange program.)
  3. Unless the student was a resident of either Brevard or Indian River County at the time of initial acceptance to Florida Tech, a course may not be taken at another institution in Brevard or Indian River County if the equivalent Florida Tech course is offered at Florida Tech in the same or overlapping term.
  4. Florida Tech's Forgiveness Policy is not applicable to transfer credits. Courses failed at Florida Tech may be retaken at another institution for transfer credit to meet a program requirement but not to remove the grade from the Florida Tech GPA.
  5. Requests to take courses for which prerequisites or corequisites have not been met must be submitted with an approved Co/Prerequisite Waiver form.
  6. Financial aid recipients may wish to consult the Financial Aid Office before requesting to study at another institution.
  7. International students require a signature from the International Student and Scholarship Services Office before submitting a Request to Study at Another Institution form (can be downloaded from the Florida Tech website).
  8. Sponsored international students require written sponsorship approval sent directly to the Office of the Registrar.

Procedure

Using the Undergraduate Request to Study at Another Institution form, the student must meet with his or her faculty advisor to determine that the requested course is applicable to the degree program and if there is an established Florida Tech equivalency. This determination is made either by checking the Banner database or contacting the Office of the Registrar at 674-7263.

If the requested course does not have an established Florida Tech equivalency, the student is to submit the request form and applicable course description to the academic unit responsible for evaluation of the equivalent course to determine one of the following:

  1. There is an equivalent Florida Tech course offered by this academic unit.
  2. There is not an equivalent course, but the requested course is eligible for transfer credit as an elective in which case the subject and level of the elective should be entered (e.g. Humanities Elective, HUM 2XXX).
  3. The course requested is not suitable for Florida Tech transfer credit.
  4. Additional information is needed before a determination can be made.

The form is returned to the student who then obtains any additional needed information and forwards to his or her faculty advisor and department head for signatures. The student will submit the completed request form to the Office of the Registrar for final approval. Upon completion of the approved course, it is the student's responsibility to request an official transcript be mailed from the approved institution directly to the Office of the Registrar.

A request for exception to this policy must be submitted with written justification from the student and written endorsement by the faculty advisor, department head and associate dean.

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Practical tips from previous students

Stephen Whitaker swhitake@my.fit.edu

Before you leave the States: Settle graduation; you have the option of either flying back to the states for graduation, flying to budapest for graduation, or not walking. You can NOT have a graduation in Brussels (we are graduating with a degree from FIT and the BME, not the RMA). If you choose to have a Budapest graduation, or not to walk, you need to fill out the paperwork stating that you are not walking at FIT but you are graduating. Cheryl Mitravich (3rd floor Oline Eng.) has the papers.

In Budapest, you do need to get a residency permit. There should be papers/posters in Z building describing what you need. In short, from what I remember, a housing lease, proof of insurance (get the BME's insurance, they don't accept anyone else's), and a bunch of forms that need to be filled out.

Also to be legal in Brussels your supposed to have a visa, I dont think you need one for Budapest (I didnt, but you should double check with the states embassy before you leave to be safe). To obtain the Brussels visa you need a federal background check which takes forever to get back so start that before you leave the states. http://www.diplobel.us/TravelingBelgium/Visas/Students-HigherEducation.asp ([...], when I came from London there wasnt even any border control to get into brussels).

Budapest: When arriving in Budapest, the best thing to do is have Dr. Kiss pick you up from the airport. When you get there he should have a room at a hostel reserved for you. To get around the city they have Trams (above ground) and Metros (below ground). You're supposed to stamp your ticket when you get on the tram. There is this orange box to put the ticket into and it will stamp it.  You wont technically be registered for classes when you arrive, its ok, the people there are very helpful. and the process is relatively painless.  There is 2 Facebook groups about international students in Budapest. (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=63732532763&ref=ts) & (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=26064357583&ref=ts) You should be able to get alot of info from them. A few days after you arrive, in building Z on the ground floor, there will be people there to rent you apartments. There should be other foriegn (USA and others) students at the hostel that your staying at and they are usually told more information, talk to them. Classes are kinda tough, but not impossible. Just study and you'll do fine.

Brussels: So far, everything about Brussels has been easier than Budapest. To get to the school take a taxi, it was only 10 euro from the train station (École Royale Militaire). Everyone is SUPER nice and mostly everyone speaks English. Knowing French is a major plus because it makes getting around without acting like a tourist so much easier. The dorm rooms are nice. Its like living in a hotel. Meals are excelent but ordering them is weird. You have to order your evening meal (souper 5:30pm) at lunch (diner). 6 euros total for lunch and dinner combo. 80 euros a month for the room.

There you go, any more questions feel free to ask.

Rovin Ramrattan rramratt@my.fit.edu

Budapest: It is an amazing experience being here, especially coming for a small school in a small town like melbourne. Perhaps the thing i love the most that i didn't expect, is the ESN - Erasmus Student Network. Whenever you need a break from studying, great people and fun times are surely awaiting you. The material is challenging and interesting, the classes are small, the professors are willing to help you, and all this in the atmosphere of Budapest is absolutely incredible!

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