Are you considering integrating a semester abroad into your studies, but unsure of where you want to go? The International Centre can help you to study abroad at a university within or outside Europe. We will give you tips on how best to prepare yourself linguistically for your semester abroad, how to fund your stay, and how to ensure that your academic achievements will be recognised back here in Leipzig.

There are a number of things to plan before you go abroad. The International Centre will help you with this. Photo: Unsplash
There are a number of things to plan before you go abroad. The International Centre will help you with this. Photo: Unsplash

To begin with, you need to choose whether you want to apply for one of our exchange places or go abroad independently as a free mover.

Exchange Places in Europe and Worldwide

Are you interested in studying at a university in Europe, or would you rather go to a university on another continent? We have exchange places at partner institutions all over the world, giving you a variety of options.

Regardless of what you choose, you can be sure that your semester abroad will be a valuable experience, both for your further studies in Leipzig and your future career. One major advantage is that, in most cases, you can have the credits you earn abroad count towards your studies in Leipzig, which means you don’t have to “fall behind” by spending a semester abroad.

Semester Abroad as a “Free Mover”

The advantage: You are free to choose your host university, for example one that perfectly matches what you want to study.

The disadvantage: Organising a period of study abroad as a “free mover” is usually more complicated and expensive. You will probably be required to pay tuition fees at the host university. Depending on the host country, this can result in considerable costs. Similarly, scholarships are often programme-related and not necessarily available for students who organise their studies abroad independently. It is also advisable to be prepared for stricter admission requirements (e.g. language tests).

We recommend that you start preparing for your stay abroad at least eighteen months in advance. This should give you enough time to stick to application deadlines at universities (and perhaps scholarship providers) and, if necessary, to apply for a visa. We would be happy to advise you.

Our tip: With a PROMOS scholarship, you can have your stay abroad as a free mover funded for up to six months.

Scholarships and Funding Opportunities

You can combine scholarships and other funding opportunities for a stay abroad with our university’s exchange programmes, or use them for your self-organised period abroad as a free mover. The DAAD’s “studieren weltweit” website offers useful background information (in German) on this subject.

What requirements do I have to meet?

In order to apply for a PROMOS scholarship, you must be fully enrolled and pursuing a degree at Leipzig University. If you are studying on an international master’s programme, you must have attended Leipzig University for at least one semester. Bachelor’s students can apply from the third semester of study, and master’s students from the first semester of study.
Doctoral candidates are not eligible for funding under this programme.

What financial support will I receive?

PROMOS funds periods of study from 30 days to six months. The respective grant rates depend on the destination country, with a monthly grant and one-off travel allowance available. Your tuition fees will not be covered. You can, however, complete a PROMOS scholarship with AuslandsBAföG (International BAföG).

How do I apply for a PROMOS scholarship?

There are two application deadlines for PROMOS scholarships each year:

  • for periods abroad commencing between July and December: 1 May–1 June
  • for periods abroad commencing between January and June: 1 November–1 December
  • Step 1: Prepare for your online application
    To make sure nothing goes wrong when you apply online, we have put together some practical tips for filling in the online form (in German).
  • Step 2: Online application
    You can now begin your online application.
    To apply, please register via the online portal using your university login. Please only apply via the online portal.
    Please enter your information in the online application and upload the following documents:
    • CV in tabular form
    • Certificate(s) of enrolment
      Please upload your enrolment certificate(s) from Leipzig University for the entire period of your stay abroad. If you do not yet have the enrolment certificate for the following semester, first submit your enrolment certificate for the current semester. You must then submit the next certificate as soon as you have it (without being asked). You do not need to provide your master data sheet or your BAföG certificate.
    • Overview of grades
      Please request this from your examination office. You can also submit a printout of the overview of your grades from AlmaWeb, provided it lists all of the credits you have earned so far. If you are already enrolled on a master’s programme, please also upload a copy of your bachelor’s certificate including a Transcript of Records.
    • Describe the project
      Provide a description of your study project at the host university (one or two pages).
    • Language certificate for the language of instruction/national language
      You can receive a language certificate from one of the teachers at the Language Center after taking one of their language certification tests. The Language Center holds these tests regularly. Your school-leaving certificate does not count as proof of language proficiency.
  • If you speak the language in question or are studying in that language, please contact a language teacher at your institute.
  • If the language of instruction is German and no further foreign language skills are required, please contact your PROMOS project coordinator.
  • If you can prove that you passed one of the standard tests listed here within the last two years, you can use this instead of the language certificate.

Before your stay, you can attend a preparatory language course at our Language Center or take advantage of the language courses offered during your studies:

  • Proof of contact/confirmation of supervision
    We require information about the location of your host university and your supervisor abroad.

  • Study plan
    Your study plan sets out the classes you intend to take during your period abroad. Our tip: our application information and checklist for PROMOS applications will help you make sure that you have completed all the necessary steps when applying.

After checking that your application is complete, we will send you a personal confirmation message.

Review of Your Application and Nomination

Your complete application will be reviewed by two subject-specific appraisers. The following selection criteria and assessment weightings are taken into account:

  • Subject-specific qualification and personal suitability (50%)
  • Relevance of the planned stay in relation studies completed so far (30%)
  • Language skills necessary to carry out the stay (20%)

Applicants will be notified by email of whether they have been nominated for a PROMOS scholarship approximately six weeks after the application deadline.

Do you want to study, conduct research, do an internship or learn a language abroad? The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a wide range of scholarships. You can find all information about the scholarships on the DAAD website. To help you find your way around the DAAD’s scholarship database, we have summarised the most important scholarships here:

Scholarships for students (bachelor’s, Diplom and Examen)

Programme Intention Discipline Country/region of destination Term
One-year scholarship for students of all subjects Studying All Worldwide (exception: Erasmus Programme Countries) 1 academic year
Arabic in Jordan Studying Arabic/Islamic studies; /
oriental studies (main/minor subject)
Jordan 1 semester
Theology in Jerusalem Studying Theology (ecclesiastical examination, Diplom, teacher training degrees) Israel 1 academic year
Carlo Schmid Programme for internships at international organisations and EU institutions Internship All Worldwide 3–10 months
Short-term scholarships for internships (selected institutions) Internship All Worldwide Max. 3 months
RISE Worldwide Internship Natural and life sciences, medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy Worldwide   6 weeks to 3 months in summer
IAESTE Internship Natural sciences and engineering Worldwide 2–3 months
Travel expense grant for internships via IAESTE, ZAD and AIESEC Internship All Worldwide Min. 1 month
Go East summer schools Specialist course,
summer school
All Countries of Central, South Eastern and Eastern Europe, the South Caucuasus and Central Asia 2–4 weeks

Scholarships for Graduates (Master’s and Some Doctoral Candidates)

Programme Intention Discipline Country/region of destination Term
One-year scholarship for graduates of all subjects Studying All Worldwide 1–2 academic year(s)
LLM scholarships Studying Law Worldwide 1 academic year
DAAD language assistants Teaching German language and literature, German as a foreign language, regional philologies Worldwide 9–10 months
FITweltweit Research stay for master’s thesis Computer science Worldwide 1–6 months
Scholarships at the École Nationale d’Administration Studying All France 8–18 months
Master’s at Sciences Po Paris Studying All France 9 months
Language and practical experience in Japan Language course/internship Natural sciences, engineering, law, economics and management science Japan 18 months
Language and practical experience in China Language course/internship Natural sciences, engineering, law, economics and management science, social sciences PR China 16 months
Scholarships at John Hopkins University SAIS Europe in Bologna Studying International relations, political science and economics Italy 9 months
Carlo Schmid Programme Internship All Worldwide 3–10 months
Short-term scholarschips for internships (selected institutions) Internship All Worldwide Max. 3 months
Travel expense grant for internships via IAESTE, ZAD and AIESEC Internship All Worldwide Min. 1 month

The German-American Fulbright Commission supports German students and graduates who wish to study for short or extended periods at a US university and who are interested in promoting cultural exchange between Germany and America.

Here you will find an overview of what the German-American Fulbright Commission offers for stays in the US:

Programme

Intention

Discipline

Term

Scholarships for studying for a year in the US

Studying

All

10 months

Travel grants

Studying at a US partner university

All

5–10 months

German foreign language assistants

Teaching

Teacher training students (English), British studies, American studies

9 months

Fulbright Diversity Initiative for students with an immigrant background

Summer school

All

4 weeks

Leaders in Entrepreneurship

Specialist course in March

Computer science, business information systems

3 weeks

AuslandsBAföG (International BAföG) is one way of supporting periods of study abroad. The International BAföG grant rates are higher than those you receive for studying in Germany. This means that students who do not receive BAföG funding in Germany are often still eligible for funding during their period abroad.

You can apply for International BAföG if you are planning a period of study of at least one semester or six months. Please note that a travel allowance can be granted for a maximum of one year of your stay. It is possible to cover up to 4600 euros of your proven tuition fees.

Good to know: You can combine International BAföG with a range of scholarships. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research provides more detailed information about International BAföG.

What requirements do I have to meet?

People who are entitled to standard German BAföG – but also many who aren’t – can apply for International BAföG. To be eligible, you must have spent at least two semesters studying in Germany before going abroad. It is also important that at least part of your semester(s) abroad will count towards your studies.

How do I apply for International BAföG?

Apply at least six months before the start of your period abroad. Depending on your country of destination, there will be a certain international office responsible for your grant application. This means you have to submit your application for International BAföG to the relevant international office.

You receive your International BAföG certificate from our International Centre.

What happens after the semester abroad which qualified for BAföG?

You can continue to receive BAföG funding within your standard period of study. If spending a semester abroad means you take longer to finish your studies, we recommend that you apply for a leave semester for the time you spend abroad. International BAföG can still be claimed during a leave semester. In such cases, your period abroad will not count towards your standard period of study and your maximum funding period.

Foundations

There are various foundations that support periods abroad during a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Funding is usually based on specific subjects, countries or regions. The foundation index maintained by the Association of German Foundations provides a useful overview of the funding sources.

Student loans and education funds

In Germany, student loans are for a limited period of time and are low-interest. You can apply for a loan regardless of your (or your parents’) income and assets. You can apply for a student loan in addition to International BAföG.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research provides more detailed information about student loans and the Bildungskredit programme.

Support from the host country

Some countries even offer scholarship programmes for international applicants. These programmes may be linked to the respective embassies, ministries of education, or the host university itself.

Recognition of Credits Earned Abroad

Do you want to make sure that credits you earn abroad will count towards your studies back in Leipzig? For everything to go according to plan, please discuss your plans with your subject coordinator before going abroad.

The chairperson of your department's examination board will decide on whether to recognise any credits earned abroad. If you have decided to study under Erasmus+, it is often your Erasmus+ subject coordinator who decides on recognition table shows who is responsible for credit recognition in your department.

Depending on the degree programme, the following recognition options exist:

  • Recognition in the core subject
    In your core subject, recognition is decided on – based on the official recognition criteria – by your department’s recognition officer.

  • Recognition in the elective area
    Depending on the breadth and openness of your elective area, recognition can be carried out flexibly. Recognition in the elective area is also the task of the core subject institute.

  • Recognition as a key qualification (SQ)
    Some study and examination regulations recognise a period abroad as a subject-related key qualification (SQ). Whether your credits earned abroad are recognised as an SQ depends on your degree programme.

  • Recognition as “international experience”
    If your degree programme provides for an interdisciplinary key qualification, then your international experience can be recognised for key qualification (SQ) module 32. You can have ten credits recognised for academic achievements outside your core subject. If you have any questions, you are welcome to email us.

In order for your period abroad to be relevant to your degree back in Leipzig, you should earn a certain number of credits at the host university. We recommend that you aim for 30 ECTS credits per semester abroad.

Please speak to your Erasmus+ subject coordinator (see the KISS database) to find out how many credits you need for your subject. In order to receive the necessary support, you should make sure that you bring the agreed number of credits with you when returning from abroad.

As soon as you have been accepted for an exchange place, please discuss your intention to study abroad with the person responsible for your subject. You will need to contact your Erasmus+ subject coordinator or the recognition officer. Together you will draw up a Learning Agreement:

Learning Agreement for Erasmus+ scholars in Europe (103)
PDF ∙ 230 KB

Learning Agreement for Erasmus+ scholars worldwide (107)
PDF ∙ 279 KB

To do this, fill in Tables A1 and B1.

Table A1 is where you enter all of the modules/courses you wish to take at the host university. Please bear in mind the official recognition criteria when choosing courses:

  • The learning outcomes and competences of the courses should be comparable.
  • The same applies to the level of study.
  • The courses at your host university should fit the qualification goal and study profile of your degree programme.
  • Your workload during your semester abroad should be comparable to the courses/modules of your degree programme at Leipzig University. A maximum of 30 credits per semester is therefore a good guideline.

Use Table B1 to prepare the recognition of your credits. To do this, list all of the modules/courses in your degree programme which you would normally have to complete but which you would now like to replace with your period abroad.

Please note: You do not have to ensure that the modules/courses are 100% equivalent. The number of credit listed in Tables A1 and B1 may therefore differ.

After completing both tables with your Erasmus+ subject coordinator or your recognition officer, you both sign the document. You then have the Learning Agreement signed by your host university.

As soon as you have obtained all of the required signatures, send a copy or scan of the document to the International Centre.

Please note: In order to successfully complete the recognition, please also note the further recognition steps that you must complete during and after your period abroad.

Linguistic Preparation

For you to be able to participate actively in the seminars and lectures at your host university, it is important that you are proficient in the language of instruction. You will need to prove your language skills when applying for an exchange place. The following options will help you to meet the language requirements and overcome any hurdles.

When applying for an exchange place worldwide, you must prove your language skills for the language of instruction. Your Erasmus+ subject coordinator can tell you whether you also need such proof when applying under the Erasmus+ programme in Europe.

You can prove your ability in the language of instruction by providing a relevant language certificate or having this form filled in. For the latter, you will need to pass a test at the Language Center. There are a number of test dates for the languages English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. If you pass the test, you will be given a certificate. The Language Center website provides information on other language courses.

You may also like

Semesters abroad in Europe

Read more

Studying outside of Europe

Read more

During your stay

Read more
Back to top