How do I find accommodation?Finding accommodation in a foreign country seems like a daunting task but it can usually be achieved in several days through advance planning and flexibility. The consortium universities have dedicated support services that offer information to make your search for accommodation easier. Please note that the teams cannot always find accommodation on your behalf.
SAMS UHI, Oban, Scotland, UK
Students starting Semester 1 in September have the choice of SAMS accommodation (subject to availability), but can also choose to rent via the private sector. West Property is a good place to start with finding a room privately. Oban is a small town so it is relatively easy to find accommodation and most places will be within three miles of the campus, which is located in Dunbeg, a village on the outskirts of Oban. Dunbeg has regular public transport links to Oban (10 min journey) and surrounding villages - please see attached bus timetable
To check on the availability of SAMS accommodation, please contact Helen Bury, Education Administrator: ACES@sams.ac.uk
University of Crete, Greece
The International Relations Office (IRO) of the University of Crete will support EM JMD ACES students to find accommodation at a reasonable price in either hostels or private apartments. Unfortunately there is no student accommodation on the university campus. For assistance with finding accommodation, please contact Aria Daskalaki, ERAMUS IRO: email@example.com
University of Nantes, France
The International Relations Office (IRO) has long experience of supporting incoming international students to quickly and efficiently locating university and private-sector accommodation. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Conference, Oban
Affordable, hostel accommodation will be available to students for the Semester 4 Research Conference in Oban. Please contact Polly Crooks, Academic Registry Office: ACES@sams.ac.uk
What support is available to obtain a student visa?Students coming from outside the European Union will need to obtain study visas to take part in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (ACES) programme. Unfortunately the Schengen system for visas within most European Union states does not cover study or other types of long-term visas and thus students need to obtain a visa from each country where they spend a semester.
Generally, students will obtain a Short-Term Study Visa visa for Semester 1 studies from their countries of residency. Visas for Semesters 2, 3 and 4 can be obtained during the EM JMD ACES programme. Please note, a Short-Term Study Visa does not allow you to undertake any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, in the UK and you cannot leave the UK, even for a holiday, for the duration of the visa, otherwise your permission to re-enter the UK will be withdrawn. If you have any queries, please contact the Education Administrator at ACES@sams.ac.uk.
Please consult the following websites about the visas required for the first year of study:
Please note that visa-related costs are not included in the participation costs for the ACES programme.
How high is the workload for EM JMD ACES?EM JMD ACES is a full-time Master programme and students will be expected to engage in academic work for approximately 30-35 hours each week, which includes formal teaching, small group work sessions and independent study in the library and at home. The workload may vary between weeks and during assessment periods. Please bear in mind that the scheduling and level of formal teaching input offered to students do vary between universities and countries.
Who else will I study with?Approximately 15 students are expected to start in September 2016, which will be the second of three cohorts for the EM JMD ACES programme. To give you an idea of the possible diversity of students, we’ve already had enquiries from applicants in India, Kenya, Bangladesh, Philippines, Germany, France and the USA.
Will I meet local students during the programme?Certainly! First of all, we will try to match you with local students in each institution through a ‘buddy’ system. Social events and occasional joint teaching events will also allow you to meet local students on other courses. Several of the universities involved in EM JMD ACES participate in other Erasmus Mundus Master programmes, making it possible to link you to members of this community. You will be officially enrolled in all the universities you attend, so you can meet other students through various clubs, leisure facilities and extracurricular activities.
For example, at the University of Nantes there are several student associations; l'Association Autour du Monde ESN Nantes, association des etudiants internationaux.
How will I study?The teaching activities are designed to promote active learning with much use of discussion, questions, problems and dilemmas. Instead of only traditional lectures and seminars, you will also be involved in small group work, case studies, role plays and discussions to explore new issues. Outside class, reading and research will help you to learn more about the topics.
What types of assessment will be used?The assessments are designed to be part of your learning and are not just a way of checking your knowledge. Both academic and practical skills will be developed through a wide range of assignments such as presentations, reflective journals, case simulations, business plans, posters and case analyses. For further details, please look at the assessments listed for each module.
Is industry-based research included in the programme?Yes. The research project in Semester 4 will run in collaboration with an industrial partner. This is a key feature of the EM JMD ACES programme as we believe this has a crucial role in developing entrepreneurial skills and providing networking opportunities. You will also engage in aquarium-based practicals and field work throughout the other semesters. Here you can extend and apply your academic learning.
What degree will I receive at the end of the programme?If you successfully pass all assignments for the EM JMD ACES programme, then you will receive a Joint Master Degree from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Crete and a Single Degree from the University of Nantes in line with national legislation. All the national degree certificates are internationally recognised and have the same status as those received by students on local degree programmes. This situation arises because higher education in the European Union is regulated at national rather than international level. In addition, you will receive a diploma supplement that explains the joint nature of the programme and why you have received two degrees. We recommend that you explain to employers and universities that you graduated from an international Master programme that awards Joint and multiple degrees.
Can I specialise in a particular area of aquaculture-related work?All of the ACES modules seek to improve your skills as a manager and/or researcher. The focus is on cross-cutting competences, for example communication, decision-making, project development and applied research. However, we have provided two optional modules in each semester which will enable you to make some choices about your direction of study. Within each module, there is also scope for further choice because you can pursue your own interests by choosing the topic of your assignments, presentations and wider reading. The research project in Semester 4 is also an excellent way of gaining deeper knowledge and skills about a particular issue.
Are there opportunities to meet local businesses/ managers?One of the aims of the ACES programmes is to build an international community of managers in the aquaculture-related industries/ government agencies. This means bringing you together with local businesses, for example through networking events, guest lectures and fieldtrips to local companies. We will try to match particular interests and specialisms so that you can exchange experience and ideas.
Can I choose where I spend Semester 4? Students will be divided equally between all three ACES universities for their research projects. You will be asked about your preferred location and knowledge of languages, but the final matching will be based on the availability of supervision and fieldwork opportunities around your chosen research topic. All students will have two supervisors, one from the ACES teaching team and another from the host partner. Supervision arrangements and marking procedures will be alike for all students across universities. Semester 4 finishes with a research conference and goodbye event that brings all students together.
Can I conduct research in my home country during Semester 4?No – your research project must incorporate fieldwork from your Semester 4 location, so that you gain international experience and can also stay in close contact with your supervisor and other students.
How can I prepare for the programme?
Some preliminary reading will be emailed to you in late July as informal preparation for the programme. In preparation for your studies at the University of Nantes, it is recommended that you email the International Relations Office at email@example.com no later than the May preceeding the start of your studies in France.
How will my scholarship be paid?For students receiving an Erasmus Plus scholarship, the participation costs (tuition fees) will be transferred automatically to the ACES consortium.
The living allowance component of the scholarship will be paid at the end of each month directly to your bank account. It takes a minimum of 2-3 weeks to obtain a bank account in most of the EU countries in the consortium. This means that students starting the programme in late August 2015 will need to bring sufficient funds to live in the UK for several weeks until their bank account is established.
For scholarship holders, the travel element of the funding package will be paid in two instalments, i.e. €3000 or €4000 (Category A) and €1000 (Category B) at the beginning of each academic year. European Commission rules state that these payments can only be made once students are officially enrolled in the respective university. This means that all scholarship holders must pay for their initial travel to Oban (United Kingdom) in September 2015 from their own resources. The travel-related element of the scholarship will be paid as soon as candidates have opened their UK bank account. Please note that this travel element of the scholarship must also pay for the travel expenses between the partner universities.
Am I entitled to a monthly subsistence allowance when spending a semester or any period of the Joint Master Degree in my country of resident?No - scholarship holders who spend a semester or any period of the Joint Master Degree (whether as study/research/placement/thesis preparation) in their country of residence will not receive a monthly subsistence allowance.
Do I need to take out insurance?Medical and travel insurance is included in the participation costs for ACES and organised by the consortium. Students will be provided with details of the policy in the summer before enrolment along with information about how to use medical services in the various ACES countries.
What costs are not included in the funding package?Personal computers and textbooks are not included because the libraries of ACES universities have substantial textbook holdings, computers and electronic resources. Students from outside the European Union will need to pay for their study visas and residence permits. All students will also have to pay for the optional international field trip planned for the end of Semester 1 to Chile in 2016, which will be approximately €2500.
What flights and travel will I need to undertake during the programme?The ACES programme involves considerable mobility across Europe in order to expand your academic and social experiences. You will change location each semester and also attend a Research Conference at the end of the programme. Most flights within the European Union are reasonably inexpensive if booked in advance (less than €100 one-way).
What is the cost of living in various countries?Living costs vary between the various university cities you will visit during the ACES course. Costs in the UK and France (Nantes) are generally higher than Crete. Universities have provided the following estimates as general guidance:
Oban, UK: Accommodation with utilities costs approximately GBP £325 to £480 per month, meaning that overall monthly expenses, including daily fare for public transportation if living off campus, are probably GBP £800-£900 or €950-£1000. For general living costs you can find useful information on how to budget on the International student calculator website.
Crete, Greece: The recommended monthly budget to live in Crete is approximately €800; including accommodation, food and additional expenses.
Nantes, France: The recommended monthly budget to live in Nantes is approximately €570 - 900. Please CLICK HERE for a more detailed breakdown of costs.
Can I get in touch with other ACES students before the programme starts?Over the summer, you will receive details of the other students on the ACES programme and a Facebook page will be created so you can meet each other virtually and exchange information. In addition, many countries have an Erasmus Mundus alumni association whose representatives can offer advice and suggestions. Please visit the website of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association for more information.
Do I need to sign a contract to enrol on the ACES programme?Each ACES student needs to sign a Student Agreement that sets out their rights and also responsibilities. A sample copy will be available to download soon. Each candidate will be emailed an agreement containing their specific details. We will ask you to email a signed copy to us and then to bring the original with you when you start the programme. Please email ACES@sams.ac.uk if you have any queries about the Student Agreement.
How will I find accommodation?For Semester 1, due to the very limited amount of student accommodation owned by SAMS, ACES students will be expected to find and rent a property (flat/shared house) in the private sector. Information to help you find accommodation in Crete during Semester 2 will be circulated in October 2016 after your arrival in Oban.
Moving between countries is inevitably daunting but it can also be a very positive experience in terms of gaining confidence and independence in unfamiliar situations. ACES students will only spend a maximum of 5-6 months in one location, which will make their accommodation search somewhat specific. University accommodation may not be automatically available, but each ACES institution can provide advice on how to find somewhere to live, including the best location and rental procedures. In most cases, you will probably share a flat or house with local or other Erasmus students. You may be able to arrange accommodation, view photos and organise viewings before you actually arrive in a city.
As background information, websites are a good place to start in terms of identifying accommodation available locally. Please note, however, that the mobility associated with the ACES course means that not all accommodation listed will be suitable. For example, some landlords want to let their property for longer periods, say up to a year or even longer.
How will I apply for my visas?
Study visas for EU countries are subject to national legislation (even within the Schengen zone) and it will, therefore, be necessary to apply for a separate visa in advance of each semester of study. Local coordinators in each university will provide information and guidance on how to apply. Please note that the cost of a visa is not included in funding packages.
Details for applying for a Short-Term Study Visa (for Semester 1 in the United Kingdom) will be sent in late May 2016. Please note that the earliest you can apply for a UK visa is three months before your arrival date. Official offer letters will be sent once students have met all the conditions of their offer (for example English language criteria or provision of all application documents).
There are specific restrictions associated with a Study Visa, such as employment and travel. Please see the guidance above and if you have any queries please contact the United Kingdom Border Agency or the Education Administrator at ACES@sams.ac.uk.
When does the ACES programme start?Students will need to arrive in Oban, United Kingdom, by Sunday 28 August 2016 at the very latest. During your first week, you will complete administrative formalities to enrol on the programme, get acquainted with SAMS and Oban, and meet other students. The academic programme, including a series of induction events involving colleagues from all consortium universities, and will start on Monday 29 August 2016. The programme ends in July 2018.
Do I get holidays?Absolutely! You will receive two weeks each for Christmas and Easter. Between the first and second years of the programme, you will be free from early August until early September, although where you travel may be limited due to your visa conditions.
Do I have to attend the second-year Research Conference?The Research Conference is an integral part of the ACES programme and an important learning event. The conference will give you the opportunity to present your work to a wide ranging audience of academics and industry, meet a wide range of industry representatives, and also reconnect with the rest of your group. Moreover, you will meet the cohorts of ACES students from different years. Participation is therefore compulsory.
|Sun 28 Aug 16||Latest arrival date in Oban|
|29 Aug/3 Sep 16||Launch of Induction Week and ACES 2015 cohort: joint welcome from staff of all academic partners/institutions|
|2/3 Sep 16||SAMS UHI induction events for ACES students|
|3 Sep 16||ACES team event|
|5 Sep 16||Academic induction for ACES programme|
|5 Sep||Semester 1 starts|
|19 Dec - 4 Jan 17||Winter holidays|
|5 Feb 17||End of semester 1|
|Week 22 Feb 17||Students move to Crete|
|25 Feb 17||Semester 2 starts|
|Dates TBC||Spring holidays|
|8 Jul 2017||End of Semester 2|