Self-organised study abroad
What is even possible?
As a rule, all students can apply for a place at a foreign university and go abroad for one semester or even for a full study programme as a free mover (also known as a visiting student, guest student or degree-seeking student).
This option is particularly suitable if you want to study at a non-partner university or you want to do an entire master’s programme abroad.
Step by step to your dream stay abroad
Find and apply for a place
Find a university
Your first step should be working out what your expectations are. Which country are you planning to go to? Would you prefer to study in a big city or in a more rural environment? Should it be a big university or a smaller, more familiar school? What courses would you like to take abroad?
After that, it’s all about finding the right university. Take a look at the websites of different universities and gather information about the university, the courses offered, tuition fees and the application process. Please note that not all universities accept free movers. You might find it helpful to use the services of an agency that arranges study placements abroad. The services of these agencies are usually free, but you have to pay tuition fees at the foreign university. Please find links to some agencies below (in German):
Consultation and credit recognition
Consultation and credit recognition
If you have any questions about organising and financing a stay abroad, you can always contact the team at the International Office. Please note that the faculties are responsible for transferring credits gained abroad.
You should therefore contact the relevant study abroad coordinator and/or your subject adviser at an early stage and discuss your plans. Before your stay abroad, it is essential that you have established which of the credits you complete abroad can be recognised for your course of study at UDE and that you have this put into writing by means of a Learning Agreement.
Finding suitable financing
Costs and financing options
You should gather information at an early stage about the options for financing your study abroad period. Depending on the country or city, you should expect a higher cost of living than in Germany. In addition to that, there are also (high) tuition fees – particularly in English-speaking countries – and of course travel expenses.
There is a range of funding options for a stay abroad. Did you know, for example, that tuition fees up to €4,600 can be financed for a maximum of one year through BAföG grants for studying abroad? You can also apply for funding via the internal university programmes PROMOS and DUE-Mobil, for instance, or take a look at the funding options offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). You can find further information on financing a stay abroad here.
We can only recommend that everyone does a semester abroad. The costs, time and effort are definitely all worth it. It was the best time of our lives and we would spend another semester in the USA at any time.
Julia & Lena (Literature and Practical Media Studies)
Studied at California State University, Fullerton as free movers
Tips and tricks
Start your planning early!
If you want to organise a stay abroad yourself, you need to start planning early on. We recommend that you make intensive preparations for your stay abroad at least one and a half years before you intend to depart. Here sooner rather than later is a good phrase to live by!
Insist on binding contracts!
If you have the opportunity to receive a written confirmation of your study place, work placement or research position from the relevant institute or university, then do so as soon as possible. Having a signed document will help you with some administrative matters, such as applying for a visa or a grant.
Check travel regulations!
Please check the website of the Federal Foreign Office (in German) on a regular basis in order to keep yourself informed about any travel restrictions or residence requirements.
There you can also find health and safety information for each country to keep up to date with the local security situation and any necessary health measures (e.g. vaccinations).
Check your personal qualifications!
Before you travel, find out what criteria you have to fulfil for the relevant stay (e.g. language skills). Ensure that you carry all important documents, certificates and files with you in order to avoid problems or confusion.