Tips For Studying Abroad: The first semesters are over, the initial euphoria has subsided and are you actually a bit bored of the cute college town you live in?
Helpful Tips For Studying Abroad!
Before you think “that was it, the fat years are over” and resignedly tossing over your books from now on, you might just have to sniff some fresh air and see something new. And what is better for this than a semester abroad? Regardless of whether Norway or Seville, a little Auberge Espagnole feeling is sure to get the spirits up and running.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Like almost everything in life, a semester abroad has not only advantages but also disadvantages. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should be put off by this, but it does help to keep a few points in mind to be prepared. We wrote down a few things that came to mind for the pros and cons list.
- you improve your foreign language skills (try to speak as much as possible in the national language, even if English may seem more tempting)
- you get to know new people and a different culture, see a new country and expand your social network
- Finding your way in a foreign country promotes independence, organization and independence
- Foreign experience is welcome at employers
- the financial burden is likely to be higher as you will find it difficult to work during a semester abroad
- studying is made more difficult by the foreign language
- It is an organizational effort to have achievements from abroad credited to your own university
- complex planning (arrival and departure, finding an apartment, etc.)
Where to Start
The best thing to do is to take a short trip to your university and visit the International Relations Office. This is responsible for organizing stays abroad for students. Each university has partner universities and schools in other countries where students have been studying for years. The repertoire of experience is therefore diverse and you should get detailed information here about what is possible, which programs are available, etc. Of course, you can also collect some information by researching the Internet. It is advisable to do this in advance so that you can get the greatest possible benefit from the consultation. The best-known program for stays abroad is by the way Erasmus (see below).
Erasmus is the world’s largest funding program for stays abroad at universities, initiated by the European Union. It is part of the EU education program for lifelong learning and promotes mobility of students and lecturers (there is also Erasmus for entrepreneurs). The cooperation between colleges and universities is also supported by the Erasmus program. For you this means:
- Thanks to the program, you as a student have the opportunity to spend three to 12 months at a university in another European country
- In addition to organizational help, you will receive financial support (between € 262 and € 368 per month)
- You have to apply for the Erasmus program – you can find out exactly how in the Erasmus office at your university
- But be sure to note the application deadlines, which you can find on the homepage of your university
If you are interested in a semester abroad outside of Europe, then the Joint Study Program could be of interest to you, which supports scholarships for stays on other continents.
Financing the Semester Abroad
There are some costs associated with a semester abroad. In addition to rent, meals, travel costs, communication and health insurance, this also includes costs for leisure activities. These are very individual factors that vary depending on the location and type. In general, it is better to calculate a little too generously, because something unpredictable can always happen. You should consider the following funding options so that you don’t have to cover all the costs yourself.
- If you take part in a transnational, EU state or university funding program (e.g. Erasmus), tuition fees are usually waived. If you are not doing your exchange as part of such a program, there are still ways to obtain a waiver, which you can inquire about at your university or partner university
- Bafög: Those who receive Bafög can also apply for it for the time abroad. Auslandsbafög is usually even higher, as a foreign surcharge for travel expenses is factored in.
- Please note: you apply for the Auslandsbafög at separate offices that differ depending on your country of residence. For more detailed information, you can consult the information page of the Federal Ministry for Research and Education
- There are numerous other bodies that award scholarships for stays abroad, for example the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
If you want to study and live abroad for a while, you cannot avoid a certain organizational effort, as you can see. But we would still like to recommend you to beat your way through the bureaucratic jungle and dare the adventure. Having lived abroad for a while is a great enrichment for you personally and will also open new doors for you professionally.