Planning for Study AbroadCopyright: Timo Merki
Group Counselling Session
Students who wish to undertake a study abroad placement have the opportunity to take part in destination-specific counselling sessions held by the International Office. A Registration is not necessary.
The next dates for group counselling sessions can be found in the following places:
As part of the Go Abroad Fair a so-called Speed-Dating event will be offered. Please seize this perfect opportunity to meet former "outgoings" and to profit from their experiences abroad. Upcoming dates for the Go Abroad Fair as well as the complete program of events can be found in the following places:
When Should I Go Abroad?
When Should I Go Abroad?
As a rule, it makes sense to undertake a study abroad period after completion of the first two semesters of the Bachelor's course of study. At this stage, you have an overview of the subject and are able to plan your future studies. Most exchange programs require that applicants have completed the first two semesters prior to the start of the program.
It is also possible, of course, that you may want to go abroad upon completion of your degree course in order to take up post-graduate studies elsewhere.
Please note that universities abroad may organize the academic year differently than German universities. For further information, please refer to the EU Document concerned with The Organisation of the Academic Year in Europe. For host universities outside of Europe, please search the web or refer to Wikipedia.
Duration of your Stay
The duration of a study abroad period is usually one or two semesters. For a double-diploma programme you may have to stay longer than a year. If you only wish to complete a project such as a research paper or a master's thesis, you should plan for a stay of three to six months.
If you wish to go abroad, you should start to prepare for your stay at least one year prior to departure, as the success of your study abroad period to a large extent depends on your careful preparation and planning. In case that you intend to participate in a student exchange scheme and/or apply for a scholarship, please contact the funding institution in question and inquire for application deadlines (see also: Scholarhips, Funding and Exchange Programmes).
Where to Study?
Language Learning Aspects
The educational value of a study abroad period in Europe is at least as great as a stay in the USA. Studying English in Great Britain, however, is cheaper and probably more effective. Being proficient in another foreign language besides English is a highly desirable qualification valued by many employers. German and foreign companies are currently looking for engineering science and business administration graduates who are proficient in German, English and another foreign language. If possible, you should therefore learn a second foreign language as soon as in high school and also take advantage of exchange programmes, vacation language courses, and other educational opportunities on offer at your school. If you wish to take up engineering studies, you may complete the compulsory internship abroad to improve your foreign language skills. Your internship, however, must be in accordance with the rules of your home university.
In order to study abroad, you should be quite proficient in the language of your destination country. For an internship or a studies project, your language proficiency does not need to be quite as high. However, we recommend that you learn the language of the target country prior to your departure: first, universities as a rule request proof of your language proficiency; second, usually you do not have the opportunity to take a language course during your studies abroad.
As far as academic aspects are concerned, your stay abroad should adequately complement and contribute to your studies or research. Therefore you should talk to your professor or to a student advisor to discuss required courses, academic requirements and credit transfer issues, etc.
In case of well-organised exchange programmes, there are strict academic requirements to be observed and the courses to be taken are decided on before your departure so as to ensure that any academic qualification obtained abroad is recognised by your home university.
Please keep in mind that the stay abroad should not prolong your studies, but complement them effectively and successfully.