“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!

Photo: Unsplash

Staying Abroad During the Pandemic

Are you planning a stay abroad in the winter semester 2020/21? 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.

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

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

  • Wait as long as possible before booking travel tickets, renting an apartment abroad or similar.
  • Take out travel cancellation insurance.
  • 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 winter semester. Applicants for exchange programmes (e.g. Erasmus+, student exchange worldwide) have been 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 for the winter semester 2020/21 (such as whether teaching will take place online, cancellations, postponements), we will inform the Erasmus+ departmental coordinators immediately. All nominated students will also be notified by our International Centre or by the relevant coordinator, depending on where they have applied. Current information can be found in our portal for periods abroad.

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):
Some Erasmus+ partner universities will provide additional exchange places in the next academic year, 2020/21. If you are nominated to study abroad in Europe in the winter semester 2020/21 and would like to postpone this until the summer semester 2021 or until the winter semester 2021/22, 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):
As long as the purpose of the scholarship is still fulfilled, you can easily postpone your stay abroad to a later date in the current calendar year (2020). Your award letter will remain valid. For more information, please contact your PROMOS project coordinator by email.
It is not currently possible to postpone your scholarship until the next calendar year (2021).

Due to the “force majeure” rule in the Erasmus+ programme, a “blended mobility” approach will apply to Erasmus+ periods abroad in the coming semester – i.e. one that combines physical and virtual mobility. This applies to Erasmus+ mobility in the winter semester 2020/21 during the funding period from 16 June 2020 until 30 September 2021. The host institution must offer courses that allow the student to work towards their learning objectives. Financial support is only available for the stay abroad once the trip to the host country begins – regardless of whether the student’s participation in studies (or the internship) then takes places face-to-face or online. For the time spent in your home country, you will not be entitled to any financial support.

A virtual period of mobility may be followed by a physical stay abroad at the host institution. The amount of financial support will be determined by the duration of the stay abroad. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the minimum duration that usually applies to Erasmus+ stays abroad can be waived. For periods of study abroad of less than three months or internships abroad of less than two months, the financial support will be paid exactly to the day (up to a maximum of 30 days per month). In the event of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the physical mobility period can be shortened or cancelled and replaced by an extension of the virtual mobility period. Periods of interruption between the virtual and physical mobility phases are also permitted and may be eligible for financial support.

This virtual or combined mobility must be confirmed by the host institution, for example by a certificate of enrolment and a certificate confirming that the Erasmus+ study period has ended. Both documents should make a distinction between the two mobility phases (virtual and physical). When spending time – both virtually and physically – on the Erasmus+ programme, it should be possible for any credits earned to be recognised later on.

Please refer to the DAAD website for more information.

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:

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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