Tips for going abroad
During your PhD studies, you are required to take a study tour abroad and get the opportunity to attend another active research environment. A tour may be at a foreign research institute or private research company, etc.
Just how long a research tour should be differs from Faculty to Faculty and would depend on the nature of your research project.
On these pages you will find advice about what you should consider and remember before, during and after a study tour abroad. If you have more questions, you can contact the supervision service for outgoing PhD mobility, handled by International Staff Mobility – contact points are given to the right.
Find a place and plan the academic aspects
There are several ways to plan a change in environment:
- You can find somewhere yourself where you would like to go and make the initial contact. Remember that if you go to an internationally acclaimed researcher, it may be that he/she will not have so much time to guide you. So remember to match your expectations with the person concerned before departing.
- You may find a suitable place together with your supervisor or via the supervisor's network.
- You can keep an eye on foreign university websites where specific study trips are posted. Be aware of the deadlines and how you can get them to fit with your other activities.
Consider the desired outcome of your trip
- Write down your criteria for a successful exchange
- Plan who you would like to network with
- Remember to get a pre-approval from the graduate school and your supervisor
Make a draft budget from the beginning. Many private foundations have annual or biannual deadlines and it can be an advantage to send applications early and get an overview of the financial scenario before other practicalities start taking our time. PhD-students do not have the right to claim per diems while traveling but many other funding opportunities are available.
Remember to apply for a visa if you travel outside the EU or if you are not an EU citizen. There are often many steps in the process of applying for a visa so start early. In the US most PhD.-students get a J-1 visa and the application has to be initiated by the host institution by issuing and invitation form. Remember to check the validity of your passport as it might have to be valid 3-6 months beyond the end of your trip.
Registration and de-registration with the authorities
You must de-register from the Danish National Register (CPR) if you leave Denmark for more than 6 consecutive months. You should also check any requirements for registration in your country of destination, whether you need a visa or not.
All employees at KU are covered by the Public Travel Insurance Scheme (Tjenesterejseforsikringen). This scheme does not cover holiday or unpaid leave. Does your private travel insurance cover you even if you do not start your vacation in Denmark and work during your stay?
Remember to investigate whether the country of destination or your host institution require additional health insurance (eg. USA).
Social security is rights (receive) and duties (contribute) regarding social services. There are no minimum periods for being subject to the social security system of another country.
EU citizens who are employed by KU and travel to another EU country will automatically remain under Danish social security. If you are not employed by KU, not an EU citizen or traveling to acountry outside the EU you should contact Udbetaling Danmark or ISM. If you contribute to an unemployment fund in Denmark (A-kasse) you should give them notice.
As a public employee in Denmark (eg. UCPH) you remain fully tax liable to Denmark when you work abroad. If you are not a public employee your tax liability will follow your residence as a main rule. You may qualify for travel deduction in Denmark (rejsefradrag) if your costs for housing and lodging are not covered otherwise.
You can contact SKAT for more information.
Make an assessment of any special risks on destination or in relation to your research. Create a profile on www-vip-online.com to find detailed risk assessment (costumer no 29979812)
Addendum to your contract
If you stay in another country for more than 28 days in relation to your work your employer (in maney cases UCPH) has a legal obligation to issue an addendum to your employment contract. Get in contact with your department or your HR centre if you are employed at the UCPH.
Time spent at another research institute or private research company should be organized so that you have the time for research, courses, knowledge outreach, etc., during your stay.
Be aware that working conditions for PhD students differ very widely between countries. Whereas in Denmark you would be in a research environment with office facilities, as a PhD student in other countries you may be left to your own devices.
Remember to make an agreement with your supervisor about how and how much you should stay in touch while you are away.
Make sure you retain relevant course certificates and the like for any merits to be credited.
Consider having a current status meeting with your supervisor to discuss issues that were positive on your tour and how your project has developed as a result.
Soon after you get back, make a statement of any travel expenses payable by the University or other parties.