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Study and work abroad

Furtwangen University offers diverse opportunities for you to go abroad. And the International Center is happy to help you plan your stay abroad.

You basically have 2 options: either you apply for an exchange place at one of our partner universities, or you apply as a so-called "Freemover" directly to a non-partner university abroad. Click here for information about internship semesters abroad.

HFU partner universities

HFU has over 150 partner universities worldwide.

Information about the exchange places available for your faculty/study programme (mostly tuition-free) can be found on our online databank, which has a filter for study programmes and countries. Please note that a fully recognised, integrated study semester – related to your study programme and your language proficiency – is not always possible at all partner universities. Please make sure you get information about this in advance from your international coordinator/regional coordinator. Some English-speaking partner universities charge tuition fees despite the fact that we have a cooperation contract. This is the case where the exchange is not balanced, in other words too few students from the partner university come to HFU.

Students who take part in an HFU exchange programme are required to provide a written feedback report on experiences at the partner university.


If you are not assigned a place through the HFU exchange programme, or wish to go to another university with which HFU does not have an agreement, you can apply as a so-called freemover to any university you choose (Please note: A direct application at a partner university is not possible!). It is important that it is an HRK-recognized university, otherwise the credits you gain abroad cannot be recognized by HFU. Check this in the Anabin Databank of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education of the German states.

Information on foreign universities can be found in the DAAD country databank.
Tips on how to apply directly to a foreign university can be found here.

There are also agencies which can help you to find a suitable university for your semester abroad and which will support you in the application process. This service is normally completely free of charge for you, however you will have to pay tuition fees at the guest university. Some of these agencies also award scholarships.
Institut Ranke-Heinemann

Timing of semester abroad

In most bachelor's programmes, the entire 6th semester can be spent abroad. To do so the credits taken at the guest university must match the content and the workload of the modules of the 6th semester. Alternatively you can take a so-called B-semester at a university abroad. The foundation level studies must be completed by the time that you begin your semester abroad.

Foreign semester timetables

When you are planning, don't forget to take different semester timetables abroad into consideration. For example, the summer semester in the USA and in many other countries begins in January. Information regarding the semester timetables of our partner universities can be found in our online databank. Further information about foreign universities can be found here: DAAD country information (Select Land --> Hochschul- und Bildungswesen --> Überblick: Hochschulsystem und Internationalisierung --> Studiensystem) Please note these webpages are available in German only.

Tuition fees

In most countries of the world, tuition fees have to be paid. Within the framework of our university partnerships, we can normally offer tuition-free exchange places, i.e. you do not have to pay tuition fees during your semester abroad. The number of exchange places is dependent upon how many students from the partner university come to HFU.

At some partner universities in English-speaking countries it is possible to receive a reduced-fee study place when the exchange places are exhausted.

Further information regarding tuition fees and other fees at our partner universities in English-speaking countries can be found under "International Center" on FELIX .

Choice of course and computation of grades

Appointment with international coordinators/regional coordinator
Before you apply, make an appointment with the international coordinator of your faculty or your regional coordinator. They will guide you as to choice of course at the partner university as well as how to integrate the semester abroad into your course of studies. They alone are responsible for this counselling (choice of course, accreditation, computation of academic grades).

Learning Agreement

Before applying you should complete a Preliminary Learning Agreement (LA) which should be signed by the international coordinator of your faculty or your regional coordinator. This way you can be sure that the grades you earn abroad will be recognized at HFU.

The courses you can take are normally found on the website of the foreign university. There are often changes in the choice of course after you arrive as particular courses may be cancelled or are already full. You will have to discuss these changes with your coordinator by email.

Important: If you apply for an ERASMUS+ partner university, you must use the correct ERASMUS+ Learning Agreement. More information can be found here: ERASMUS+.

If you have failed individual courses during your study semester abroad, the specific regulations for each individual study programme in the Study and Examination Regulations are applicable. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact your Dean of Studies or Regional Coordinator/International Coordinator.

Computation of academic grades
The computation of the grades will also be carried out by the international or regional coordinators according to the HFU standardized computation table which can be found in FELIX  here.

Language requirements

To be able to participate in lectures in a foreign language, you must have the relevant language proficiency and be able to present proof of this upon application. This is normally done by means of the DAAD Proof of Language Proficiency certificate. IBW, IBM, BMP and IEB students should contact the relevant regional coordinator for the French or Spanish language proficiency certificate. For certificates of English proficiency, IBW and IBM students should contact Morag McNair. BMP and IEB students should contact the Language Center.
For HFU partner universities a minimum level of  CEF B2 in all categories is normally enough - in English-speaking countries a level of C1 in all categories is required.

If you apply to a non-partner university as a freemover, the TOEFL or IELTS test is often required.
Please be aware that lectures in English are also often offered in non-English-speaking countries. In this case you will only need the language certificate for English. However, if you wish to take courses in other languages such as French or Spanish, you will have to provide proof of proficiency in those languages.

Application and application deadlines

HFU partner universities
Application deadline for the HFU application process:
20 January for the following winter semester
20 June for the following summer semester

Application is made over our online portal in the 2-month period before the above-mentioned deadline.

Because the number of exchange places is limited, it is very important that you state 3 priorities, particularly if you have to do a mandatory semester abroad. Initially you should only prepare a letter of motivation and Learning Agreement for your first priority.

IMPORTANT: the deadlines are fixed. Online application and a scan of the signed application pdf must be submitted to the International Center by the deadline.

More information on the application process can be found here: Semester abroad- step by step.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who wish to go to a non-EU country, need a valid passport. In many cases proof that you hold a valid passport is required during application. The application procedure for the passport can take up to 6 weeks.

Please check the application deadlines directly with the university of choice. Application is also made directly with the foreign university.

Feedback reports

A comprehensive list of feedback reports written by HFU students after returning from their semester abroad, sorted by country and university, can be found on FELIX (Login for HFU members only).

Things to do before you leave

  1. Please send a scan of your letter of acceptance / admission letter to the International Center on your HFU campus (only if it is sent directly to you by the host university).
  2. You should re-enroll as usual. You should also submit the "Notification of Semester Abroad (Mitteilung über das Auslandstudiensemester)" form to the Examinations Office.
  3. You should organize adequate medical insurance coverage for the period that you are abroad, particularly if you are going to a non-European country that does not have a social insurance agreement with Germany. More information can be found here.
  4. You should find out about Accident and liability insurance. The statutory accident insurance normally does not cover your semester abroad. You should therefore take out private accident insurance. More information about this can be found in our Information sheet and on the website of Student Services Freiburg.
  5. If you are travelling to a country outside the EU or the EEA, you will need a visa for periods of study which are longer than 3 months. Information about this can be found on the website of the relevant embassies or general consulates. In general you will need the following documents: passport (valid for at least 6 months longer than the planned trip), letter of acceptance from the guest university, proof of financial means (personal finances, scholarship, parental pledge, bank confirmation), sometimes proof of vaccination and medical records.
  6. Please read the current travel and safety information issued by the Foreign Office. German citizens are recommended to register their names in the "Elefand" Crisis prevention list at the Foreign Office.
  7.  Important information for non-EU students with a residence permit to study: please be aware that you will lose your eligibility to study in Germany if you leave Germany for longer than 6 months without the consent of the Foreigner Registration Authorities (Ausländerbehörde). Please ensure you contact the relevant Foreigner Registration Authorities before planning your study abroad! 
  8. Information regarding the International Student Identity Card can be found here.

Procedures after you return from your semester abroad

  1. Feedback report:
    Please submit your feedback report to the International Center within 4 weeks of the end of the study semester abroad. Please use this report cover and follow these instructions.
  2. Certificate: 
    The certificate issued by the host university in our exchange programmes is usually sent to the International Center. In this case we will contact you immediately by email (with a scan of the certificate attached and copied to the International Coordinator/Regional Coordinator). Please pick up the original copy of the certificate from the International Center as soon as possible. If the certificate from the guest university is sent directly to you, please hand the original in to the International Center. The International Center will scan the certificate and send it by email to the International Coordinator/Regional Coordinator.
    Important: A scan of the certificate sent to us directly as a PDF cannot be accepted. Please take this into consideration if you have to download the certificate directly from the online portal of the guest university. In this case please inform them that the certificate must be sent directly to HFU. If this is not possible, please contact us.
    Please contact the International Coordinator/Regional Coordinator or Dean of Studies directly regarding the accreditation of credits (incl. conversion of grades) gained abroad. The computation of the grades will be carried out using the HFU standard computation table, which can be found in FELIX.
Financing options

Contact details

Every faculty has an international coordinator or several regional coordinators (HFU Business School) responsible for semester abroad counselling and supervision.

International coordinators