“The best decision of my life”, “an unforgettable experience”, or perhaps even “a great complement to my studies” – we are confident that you will never forget a period abroad during your days as a student. So it is high time you went off on your own adventure abroad. With a little planning, you can integrate a period abroad into your standard studies and have foreign credits recognised back in Leipzig. So what are you waiting for? Carpe diem!

Mann, der auf Stadtplan schaut
Photo: Unsplash

The State Saxon Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism (SMWK) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Cohesion (SMS) have announced in a press release that all students will be offered vaccinations before the start of the winter semester 2021/22, so that the region’s higher education institutions can then open and operate as fully as possible.

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Staying abroad during the pandemic

Are you planning a stay abroad? Has the coronavirus pandemic left you feeling unsure whether you want to or are able to do this? It is difficult to predict how the situation will develop. We are aware of your concerns and are available to answer your questions.

If possible, please refrain from spending any money on planning your stay abroad for as long as possible.
We recommend that you:

  • Wait as long as possible before booking travel tickets, renting an apartment abroad or similar.
  • Take out travel cancellation insurance and ensure sufficient health insurance cover during your stay. Please speak to your health insurance provider if you have any questions.
  • Keep open the option of continuing your studies at Leipzig University for as long as possible.
  • Regularly check the host institution’s website and sign up for any relevant newsletters.
  • Stay in contact with your coordinators and contacts at our university and those at the host institution.
  • Meet all deadlines set.

In principle, it is possible to study abroad at a partner university in the coming academic year. Applicants for exchange programmes (e.g. Erasmus+, student exchange worldwide) will be nominated at the partner universities as usual. Some partner universities have extended their nomination deadlines, which means that it may still be some time before they respond.

As soon as the partner universities give us information about important changes (such as whether teaching will take place online, cancellations, postponements), we will inform the Erasmus+ departmental coordinators immediately. Current information can be found in our portal for periods abroad.

Vaccination prioritisation was lifted in Germany on 7 June 2021. Anyone who would like to get vaccinated against coronavirus can register with their GP as well as at the vaccination centres. In addition, please always observe the requirements and instructions of your host university regarding necessary proof (e.g. proof of complete vaccination, valid test result) and quarantine rules when entering the country.

Please first consult with your departmental coordinator and your contacts at the host institution. Once you have done this, please get in touch with your contact person at the International Centre.

Postponement (at partner universities):
If you are nominated to study abroad in Europe and would like to postpone this, please contact your Erasmus+ departmental coordinator to arrange a new nomination. At the same time, you should also notify your contacts at the partner university and our International Centre.

In non-European countries, whether you can postpone your stay will depend mainly on the situation and capacity at the partner university. Please ask your contact at the International Centre whether it is possible to postpone your stay at your partner university. We will endeavour to help you find and implement a solution that suits you.

Postponement (via PROMOS):
Please contact your PROMOS project coordinator by email.

Please inform your Erasmus+ departmental coordinator as well as your contacts at the host university and our International Centre immediately.

The Erasmus+ programme promotes student mobility abroad. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is currently subject to a number of changes and restrictions.

Whatever you’ve got planned abroad, your safety is our top priority. Please check the Federal Foreign Office website regularly for the latest travel regulations and warnings.

Since 16 June 2020, it has been possible for an Erasmus+ stay to combine physical and virtual mobility. To be eligible, the host institution must offer virtual courses or internship options that allow you to work towards your learning objectives.

The support available under the Erasmus+ programme consists of the “Erasmus+ status” itself – which allows a maximum of two exchange semesters per study phase at a foreign university without the need to pay tuition fees – as well as monthly financial support – the Erasmus+ grant.

This financial support can only be offered from the beginning of the physical mobility period abroad. If you have to start your mobility period virtually and remain at your home university, you will not be entitled to financial support.

Once the mobility period has started virtually in Leipzig, this can be followed by physical mobility at the partner university abroad. Financial support is then possible from the start of this period abroad. The amount of the grant will depend on the duration of your physical stay abroad. In principle, this should last at least three months if you are studying abroad, and at least two months for internships abroad.

The current restrictions mean that you can cut short your physical mobility period abroad, or interrupt it, and replace it with a virtual period if necessary. Please indicate this in the declaration. If you change from physical to virtual mobility, whether abroad or at home, your financial support will continue. However, you should participate in online courses or activities so that you still achieve your learning objectives as set out in your Learning/Training Agreement. You will then receive your Erasmus+ grant as per your Grant Agreement.

The host institution confirms virtual or physical mobility periods by issuing a certificate of enrolment and a certificate confirming that the study period has ended. Credits can be recognised for both virtual and physical mobility periods.

Please refer to the DAAD website for more information.

Financial support when cancelling an Erasmus+ mobility period
Are you unable to go abroad for Erasmus+? Have you already incurred costs directly related to the approved stay abroad (e.g. rent, electricity, travel expenses)?
Please indicate this first in the declaration. If the costs cannot be cancelled free of charge, the second option is to apply to the International Centre for reimbursement. Please send all original documents (in German or English, for all other languages please enclose a translation) with the completed request for reimbursement of costs to the International Centre.

Financial support when ending an Erasmus+ mobility period early

If you have to end your physical mobility phase abroad early, please inform the International Centre:

Despite ending your mobility phase, do you still have running costs that are directly related to the approved stay abroad (e.g. rent, electricity, travel expenses)?
Please indicate this in the declaration. Regardless of whether you are still abroad or have already returned, you will receive the Erasmus+ grant as per your Grant Agreement.

Despite ending your mobility phase, do you have no more running costs that are directly related to the approved stay abroad (e.g. rent, electricity, travel expenses)?
Please indicate this in the declaration. You will then receive financial support for the duration of your physical mobility phase, and for the subsequent virtual mobility phase if applicable. This will be calculated and paid out exactly to the day up to the required minimum duration (maximum 30 days per month), and beyond that according to the agreed grant rates (please note that funding already received may need to be paid back).

Irrespective of the declaration, please send the certificate confirming the end of your (virtual or physical) mobility phase, and if applicable the Transcript of Records and recognition results, or the traineeship certificate, to the International Centre.

Extending the Erasmus+ physical mobility period

You may extend your physical mobility period abroad with the agreement of your host institution. An extension of more than one month should be requested at least one month before the original end. Please refer to the relevant web page for more information.

Further contacts for supporting student mobility

Leipzig University students can still go abroad despite the pandemic! Sophie did just that. Read her German blog post about her experience in Ghent (Belgium).

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When is it best to go abroad?

We recommend a semester abroad during the fifth semester of study of a bachelor’s programme and the third semester of study if you are a master’s student. The seventh semester is often suitable if you are enrolled on a State Examination or Diplom programme. More detailed information can be found in your study regulations. The Student Advisory Service can help you to decide on the right time for a semester abroad.

Our tip: plan your stay abroad carefully in advance. Find out about the required language skills, the procedure for having Leipzig University recognise the credits you acquire abroad, and applying for leave semesters.

How long can I spend abroad?

That’s up to you! As a rule, you study abroad for one or two semesters.

Where possible, we recommend that you take the time to spend an entire academic year abroad. Study abroad can also be combined perfectly with an internship in a foreign country. What’s more, an internship can help you to bridge any gaps caused by differences between the academic calendars at your home and host universities.

Can I take a leave semester?

You can apply for up to two leave semesters for study purposes. One major advantage for you of taking a leave semester is that you can have your academic achievements abroad recognised by Leipzig University. Applying for leave semesters is particularly advisable if you receive BAföG, because leave semesters do not count towards your standard period of study. Your period abroad can occur between your first and second or the second and third year of study.

What if going abroad prolongs my studies?

There is no reason to regard extending your time at university due to a period abroad as a disadvantage. Your experience abroad will help you immensely in your personal development and will be valuable for your future. Spending time abroad will also be highly beneficial to your professional career, as it

  • allows you to gain additional subject-related insights that unlock new perspectives on your discipline and hone your academic profile,
  • offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in foreign cultures and to experience another country not only as a holiday destination,
  • trains your independence, social and communication skills and strengthen your self-confidence, which you will apply to master your new daily routine,
  • looks great on your CV: when applying for jobs, your new international skills can give you a competitive edge over fellow graduates.

We strongly recommend that you use a period abroad to help develop your own profile – even if this means prolonging your studies. We certainly don’t view this as a problem when selecting applicants; on the contrary, it’s an advantage!

Lars Funk, Association of German Engineers

What about going abroad after my degree?

As a graduate, you can apply for a range of programmes and funding options, be it for internships, an entire master’s degree or periods of research abroad during your doctorate.

Generally, however, we advise you to go abroad during your studies. A wide range of organisational and financial help is available, especially to enrolled students. You can also benefit from exchange places at our partner universities and from a number of scholarship programmes. This also applies to doctoral candidates.

Have you decided to go abroad after studying? Click your way through the various funding options and start your international adventure:

The “entdecker” app is available in the Google Play Store and the App Store. Image: Leipzig University

The International Centre’s German-language app “entdecker – Abenteuer Ausland” supports students from Leipzig University before, during and even after their time abroad. Whether you head to another country to study, for an internship, or for a subject-related or language course, the “entdecker” app is your mobile companion for your adventures abroad. More information is available on the German entdecker website. You are welcome to download the app and start planning your time abroad.

World, here I come!

Before you arrive

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During your stay

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After your stay

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