What you need to know about the EILC (Erasmus Intensive Language Courses)

Abreast the classic Erasmus project — which consists in spending some months in another European university — for the destinations in countries with less spoken languages (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey) there is the possibility to follow a specific language course which lasts a month and is (almost) entirely financed by the European Community.

The information you find on the net are sometimes a bit messy, so I will try to summarize them here. First of all, we must say that the EILC is not completely tightened to the Erasmus, and it requires a separate application. It can happen that the application is not accepted but the Erasmus is. The application must be done through your home university: ask information at the international relations office or check on their website. If after a lot of time after the application you don’t receive a confirmation, send them an email to ask what happened.

Regarding the place, it’s not necessary that it is the same university of your Erasmus. In fact, when I went to read the list of EILC in Denmark for the second semester I had to choose the UCSYD one, because the DTU organizes them only for the first semester.

A very important thing is the credits recognition. Does an EILC give you ECTS points? The answer is: it depends. First of all you must check the information sheet and verify what it says about that. Secondly, in order to recognize it as a course (with the Learning Agreement) it is necessary that the EILC is done in the same university as the Erasmus. This is not my case so I will follow the course just to learn. It’s true that the lessons at the DTU will be in English, but I believe it’s useful to learn the language of the country in which I will live for six months.

Finally, it’s fundamental to clarify the matter of the cost. Probably you will be surprised by the fact that you will be asked a payment for the course, but actually after it will be refunded. Also, you pay for the room and board (so for the month of the course finding accommodation is not needed) while the lessons are completely free. In my case I was asked to pay about 670 euros.

How does the refund work? It’s simple: the EILC grant is worth exactly 500 euros and will be accredited only after the return in your country, at the condition of showing the course participation certificate. So as you can see the course, the food and the accommodation for a month are (almost) free: in my case about 170 euros, all inclusive. But you have to advance the money.

At this point I hope to have clarified the functioning of EILC, giving you the most important information. If you have any doubt write them in the comments.

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I’ve been accepted at the DTU

I apologize for not keeping you updated: about in the middle of October I received the official email confirming that I’ve been accepted at the DTU!

Dear Andrea Lazzarotto,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted as an exchange student at The Technical University of Denmark. You will find your Acceptance Letter and some practical information about your studies at the DTU in the attachment. This Email is the official DTU Acceptance Letter and you will not receive a copy of it by post.

Best Regards,

Bjørn Sparre Johansson
Exchange Students Admission Officer
International Affairs
Study Division

As written in the email, I didn’t receive the confirmation by post. However, if it can be useful to you, keep in mind that the signed learning agreement was sent back to me. So I could have sent the original without caring to make a certified copy.

Attached to the email there were three PDF documents:

  • Information regarding CampusNet and Portalen which you can download from here
  • Acceptance letter on letterheaded paper
  • Information sheets which summarize what you find on the website, to download them click here

I also received the confirmation that I will take part in the Danish language EILC course, so I bought the plane ticket: I’ll leave on the 6th of January! I’ll write a more detailed article about that. 😉

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The needed documentation to be sent to the DTU

Some days ago I sent the documentation to the DTU. The complete list of the necessary can be found on the official site, both for Erasmus students and for other international exchanges. In this post I want to briefly talk about the documents I had to send.

To avoid confusion, given that the requirements could change, here you find the note I have saved to exactly know what to send. As you can see I used Evernote to clip a part of the page, to add some notes and to insert the checkboxes in order to remember what was missing. I’ll talk more in detail about this tool in a future article.

Back to the documents, here are some notes and suggestions of mine:

  • Print of the application form: I already covered this theme in a previous article, if you use Linux or Mac it’s difficult to fill in but it can be done.
  • Certified copy of the transcript of grades: this is the list of the exams you have done with the corresponding marks. In my case I printed it from the reserved area of the site of my university and then I got it stamped and signed by the international relations office.
  • Letter documenting the English proficiency: the requisite is a bit vague and honestly I didn’t get much clarification from the DTU. So I decided to simply send a photocopy of the PET test I passed three years ago. Also, in my transcript of grades it’s written that I have passed the English exam, so it should be sufficient.
  • Learning agreement: here you must pay attention. Once you’ve got the learning agreement signed by your teacher and by the international relations office, don’t send the original! You must always keep it. I sent an email to Lyngby asking for information: the DTU doesn’t accept a simple photocopy, so you’ll have to ask your university to stamp it and sign it in order to guarantee it is a conformed copy.

Now I’m waiting for the confirmation email. I’ll let you know!

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Shopping in Denmark

My friend Mattia moved to Denmark with his family and he currently writes a blog (in Italian) in which he published an example of the cost of some products at the supermarket. He wrote all the prices in Danish Kroner, but it’s straightforward to do the conversion. I suggest you read it, it’s worth it. 😉

Good, I found the time to keep you updated on some Danish curiosities, and given that many of you are curious to understand and see how much it costs to do some shopping here, I show you something so you can calm down and put away the blood pressure equipment.

via Mattia Musiello – Vivere in Danimarca: Fare la Spesa in Danimarca.

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DTU Application Form also with Linux or Mac

In order to participate to the Erasmus program at the DTU, as in every other university, you need to fill in an Application Form on the internet. The problem with the one I had to fill in is that it’s expressely designed to work only with Internet Explorer, a browser which is available only for Windows. In the official page you read a very clear sentence:

Please note that this page is optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Trying to fill the form with other browsers might cause you trouble.

This is a problem for all of those who don’t use Windows: in fact the process becomes complicated for Linux users (like me) or Mac ones, because these operating systems are not officially supported. But the most ridiculous thing is that it doesn’t even work with all versions of Windows: in fact here’s what happens when using the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 (with Internet Explorer 10):

The same error you get with any standard-compliant browser

Judging from the source code, the page has been generated with a Microsoft software and it is declared to be compatible only with Internet Explorer.

So apparently it’s impossible to fill it in with and operating system different from Windows (and neither on Windows 8). This is quite frustrating, but luckily there’s a not so elegant solution that works. It is about installing Internet Explorer 6 through Wine.

Installing Internet Explorer 6

The process I describe is valid for Linux users who have installed Wine and the winetricks script, but Internet Explorer should work with Mac OS X using WineBottler. You can read this article for further information.

First of all I suggest you to start with a clean Wine profile, without any Windows program installed. If you use the software on a 64 bit Linux system, you first have to create a 32 bit Wine environment in this way:

WINEARCH=win32 winecfg

Simply close the window which opens up. Then proceed to the installation of Internet Explorer:

winetricks ie6

You will be shown a folder and a URL to the OldVersion.com website will be opened, from which you’ll have to download the executable and save it in the right directory. Repeat the above command and the real installation will start. When you’ve finished, start Internet Explorer in this way:

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Internet\ Explorer/IEXPLORE.EXE "http://www.icn.dtu.dk/"
Internet Explorer 6 with the Application Form

At this point you can fill in the form in all of its parts. A very important thing: never user the calendar-shaped button to select dates, otherwise Internet Explorer will crash and you’ll have to start again. Always insert them with the keyboard.

Printing the signature page

Arrived at step 6, after you’ve given the confirmation the site will show you a final report of all the data you’ve inserted. On Windows the printing dialog is automatically fired up, but in Wine it doesn’t work. In order to have a safe copy of the page save it from the File menu of Internet Explorer and be sure to choose a folder from which you can easily retrieve it.

Go in the chosen directory and open DTU Incoming Students_files, inside you’ll find a file called icn. Rename this file in icn.html and then open it in any browser (e.g. Firefox). Now you’ll be able to print the page with a printer and if you want also to use the “print to PDF” function to secure another digital copy of the document.

At this point you can delete the Wine folder and if you want uninstall it.

Conclusion

At the beginning I was afraid to have to find a computer with Windows in order to complete the procedure, but then I was able to work without abandoning Linux. In my opinion it’s a real pity that the DTU developed the form so badly, this can create problems to people who don’t use Windows and it’s a bit discriminatory. I hope that in the future they can provide a more effective solution.

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Welcome

My name is Andrea and in the second semester of the next academic year I’ll go to the DTU in Lyngby, Denmark, with the Erasmus project. In this small blog I want to collect useful informations about the Erasmus and my stay in Denmark. When I’ll have learned the language a bit I’ll start to translate the contents and the articles in Danish in order to train myself. 😉

If you want to know something more about me, you can read this page on my main blog (in Italian).

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The secondary blog of Andrea Lazzarotto