I am going to visit a European university to take a PhD course entrance exam. The university prepared a 15 day trip for me, but the written exam and the oral exam will require only one day each. Therefore, I have 13 days free. I do not know why they planned my trip like this, nor how they expect me to spend these 13 days.

How can I politely ask about this via e-mail? "Could you tell me what I am supposed to do in the rest days of the trip before and after exam?" sounds a bit too direct. Also, is this kind of itinerary normal?

  • 4
    Asking if there is an itinerary might get the job done Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 2:53
  • Thank you very much. Itinerary sounds very good.
    – nana
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 2:55
  • A few days between travel and exam would make the exam results more accurate, especially if you live in a different time zone. Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 5:31
  • Yes, I live in a bit far away place from Europe. Thank you very much for your comment.
    – nana
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 5:39

1 Answer 1


This does seem strange; I'd be concerned about a mistake (though I'm not familiar with the European system). I'd send a concise note like this:

I'm looking forward to this trip. Could I ask about the itinerary? In particular, can you confirm that my visit will require 15 days (31 March - 14 April), but the 2 exams will be only one day each? Thanks! --Nana

  • I exchanged emails with the university several times and it is they who booked the tickets of airplane so "15 days" is actually correct. Thank you for the correction of my post!
    – nana
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 5:53
  • 1
    You are welcome. I understood that the university booked your tickets, but it's still possible they accidentally bought you tickets for more time than necessary, no? Even if not, asking them to confirm is perhaps a polite way to figure out what's going on.
    – cag51
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 6:12

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