Rakesh Bhanot (THES, April 21) suggests that if European universities move to a secular calendar, it would be easier to spend a semester abroad.
A Netherlands Organisation for International Co-operation in Higher Education survey in 1992 showed most European countries already have a semester system. Only Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands at that time, did not have a semester system.
The biggest problem for student exchange is the start of the academic year which ranged from early September (Netherlands) to early November (Italy). Bhanot also mentions credit transfer which is not related to calendars since the European Credit Transfer System was introduced.
Peter Blok Office of Foreign Relations University of Amsterdam