Study and work abroad

Semester abroad (I1525-1)

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 two options:

  1. You apply for an exchange place at one of our External link opens in a new window:partner universities, or
  2. you apply as a so-called "Freemover" directly to a non-partner university abroad.

Click here for information about the university systems in other countries can be found under External link opens in a new window:DAAD country information (in German only).

Information regarding the INTERNSHIP SEMESTER ABROAD (tips for job search, funding, etc.) can be found under Internal link opens in the same window:Internship semester.

Semester abroad - step by step

1. COLLECT THE INFORMATION YOU NEED - as early as possible!

  • Information events of the International Center
  • HFU website - study abroad - HFU partner universities - online database
  • Feedback reports on FELIX
  • Websites of the potential host universities
  • Talk to the international coordinator//regional coordinator
  • Search for funding opportunities
  • NOTE: Applicants who wish to go to a non-EU country need a valid passport. In many cases, this must be presented at the time of application to the partner university.

2. External link opens in a new window:ONLINE APPLICATION TO HFU - Observe deadlines!

There are two different online application forms:

  • Application Outgoings: here you have to upload the documents mentioned below.
  • Application Outgoings HFU Business School (W) and IEB for China: no documents have to be uploaded here.

The following documents must be uploaded (only for your first priority):

  1. Curriculum vitae in English*
    *If you are taking a study programme in Spanish, French or German abroad, please upload in the corresponding language.
     
  2. Letter of motivation in English* (without addressee, approx. 1 page).
    *If you are taking a study abroad programme in Spanish, French or German, please upload in the appropriate language.
     
  3. Complete transcript of grades (non-adjusted and in German)
    If necessary, please upload a scanned version; automatically generated PDFs are provided with a security certificate and may cause problems in the application form).
     
  4. DAAD language certificate
    Please refer to the website under "Language Requirements" where you can obtain the DAAD language certificate at HFU.
     
  5. Preliminary learning agreement (LA)
    EXCEPTION: W+IEB students applying for Erasmus+ partner universities, and Latin America do not need to upload a Learning Agreement - a blank sheet can then be uploaded in the required field (mandatory field!): The LA must be signed by the International coordinator, dean of studies or regional coordinator.

3. SELECTION AND PLACEMENT - approx. 1 - 2 months after application

After consultation with the International Coordinators/Regional Coordinators, the IC (or your Regional Coordinator) will notify you of the selection results via email.

If you do not receive a place for your first priority, be sure to contact the IC about your second and, if applicable, third priority, as they will now still need to adjust certain documents (e.g. Learning Agreement).

IMPORTANT: Make sure you have a valid passport if you are applying for a non-European country.

4. NOMINATION AT THE PARTNER UNIVERSITY

The IC (or their regional coordinator) now nominates you at the foreign partner university, i.e. we send your data to the partner university and suggest you for the exchange place. Usually all nominated students are also accepted, but in rare individual cases the partner university may have no more places available.

5. APPLICATION TO THE PARTNER HEADQUARTERS - Observe the deadlines!

You will now receive further information directly from the IC or the partner university about the application procedure of the partner university. You must now apply directly to the partner university. You will be informed by the IC or, if applicable, by the partner university about how this has to be done, which deadlines apply to you here and which documents you have to submit or upload, if applicable.

IMPORTANT: At latest at this point, applicants for non-EU countries need a valid passport. A copy or ID number must usually already be submitted to the partner university when applying.

6. LETTER OF ADMISSION FROM THE PARTNER UNIVERSITY - approx. 3 - 4 months before departure

The official letter of admission/letter of acceptance will be sent to you either directly from the partner university or from the IC. If you receive it directly, please send a scan to the IC.

In most cases, you will also receive information about local dormitories together with the letter of acceptance.

In some cases the definite acceptance/admission may come very late. Unfortunately, the IC has no influence on the processes of the partner university. You will have to be patient!

7. FURTHER STEPS - after receiving the letter of admission from the partner university

  • Travel arrangements (flight, visa if necessary, accommodation
  • Insurance (health insurance, accident and liability insurance)
  • Submit notification of study abroad to the Examination Office (just before the semester starts)
Study worldwide - EXPERIENCE IT!

A DAAD information campaign on study semesters and internships abroad

https://www.studieren-weltweit.de/

Find the dates of the next DAAD information events here:

https://www.studieren-weltweit.de/termine/

Important information during the corona pandemic

Please take the following information into consideration when planning your semester abroad:  External link opens in a new window:Travel and safety information of the German Foreign Office and the External link opens in a new window:Information on International Risk Areas on the Robert Koch Institute website.

Due to the current worldwide unsafe and dynamic situation, our partner universities often only offer online lectures or must cancel their exchange programme at short notice. Reliable planning of the semester abroad is therefore impossible at this time.

However, it is still possible to apply for an exchange place over our online portal at the normal times. Please be prepared for the eventuality that it may be cancelled at short notice and stay informed about the current situation in the country you have applied for.

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.

Freemovers

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: Direct application to a partner university is normally not possible!). It is important that it is a university which is recognised in Germany, 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. The university of your choice should have the status h+. Information on foreign universities can be found in the External link opens in a new window:DAAD country databank.

We recommend that you fill out a Learning Agreement (LA) and have it signed by your faculty's International Coordinator or Regional Coordinator. The LA will remain in your records. More information can be found under "Course Selection/Learning Agreement and Grade Conversion".

Application deadlines can be obtained directly from the respective university. The application must be submitted directly to the foreign university.

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.
IEC
GOstralia-GOmerica!
Institut Ranke-Heinemann
External link opens in a new window:Asia Exchange

External link opens in a new window:Feedback reports from freemovers can be found in the International Center course in FELIX.

Timing of semester abroad

Bachelor's study programmes
The 6th semester in most bachelor's study programmes can be spent entirely 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. This must be clarified with the International Coordinator or the Regional Coordinator. 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.

Master's study programmes
Generally an additional semester must be planned for a semester abroad. The accreditation of individual subjects is possible in individual cases and must be agreed upon in advance with the International Coordinator or Dean of Studies. Not all Master's programmes offer exchange places at partner universities. In such cases, a semester abroad is only possible as a freemover.

Foreign semester timetables

When you are planning, don't forget to take different semester timetables abroad into consideration. For example, in North America and Scandinavia the summer semester begins in January. In these countries a semester abroad in the summer semester would only be possible if you were in your internship semester immediately beforehand and were able to complete this in December. Please check, also with your Dean of Studies, whether you can swap your internship semester and your semester abroad. 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  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.

Course selection/Learning Agreement 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 Download file:Preliminary Learning Agreement (LA) which should be signed by the international coordinator of your faculty or your regional coordinator.

  • Exception for students of the HFU Business School and IEB for applications to ERASMUS+ partner universities:

The Learning Agreement will only be drawn up upon acceptance into the ERASMUS+ programme and signed by the international coordinator/regional coordinator and the host university. You will be contacted by the ERASMUS* university coordinator in due time. Important: please find out about the courses you are interested in when you apply, so that the ERASMUS+ Learning Agreement can be processed quickly.

  • Exception for students of the HFU Business School and IEB for applications to partner universities in Latin America.

It is your responsibility to submit the Learning Agreement to the regional coordinator responsible at a later point in time (the LA does not have to be submitted to the International Center at a later point in time!) Your regional coordinator will contact you about this.

  • Note for HFU online application: in the case of the above exceptions, a blank sheet can be uploaded in the "Learning Agreement" section of the application portal.

With the LA, you ensure that the academic achievements you have completed abroad will be recognized at HFU. You can usually find the subjects to be taken on the websites of the foreign university.
Often there are changes in the course selection after arrival, as certain courses do not take place or are already full. If necessary, you will have to agree these changes with your international coordinator/regional coordinator via email.

ERASMUS+ Programme:
Students who apply for an ERASMUS partner university also initially only have to fill out the preliminary learning agreement (except for HFU Business School and IEB students, see above). Only after they have been accepted in the ERASMUS programme and have been nominated at their guest institution, do students have to create an additional Online Learning Agreement (OLA), which must then also be signed by the guest institution.

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 External link opens in a new window:DAAD Proof of Language Proficiency certificate. For English this can be completed by the Language Center. For Spanish and French, non-HFU Business School students can also contact the HFU language lecturers for the certificate: for Spanish, Email application is started:Alejandro Pastor and Email application is started:Dulce Rudolph; for French, Email application is started:Raphael Gilles.

Please complete the Download file:DAAD Form with your personal details before requesting completion!

IBW, IBM, BMP and IEB students should contact the relevant regional coordinator for their French or Spanish language proficiency certificate. For certificates of English proficiency, IBW and IBM students should contact Email application is started:Morag McNair. BMP and IEB students should contact the Language Center.

Study programme

English

Spanish

French

IBW, IBM

Email application is started:Morag McNair

Regional coordinator

Regional coordinator

IEB, BMP

Language Center

Regional coordinator

Regional coordinator

All others

Language Center

Email application is started:Alejandro Pastor, Email application is started:Dulce Rudolph

Email application is started:Raphael Gilles

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 usually 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 for HFU Exchange programmes

Application deadlines at HFU:
20 January for the following winter semester.
20 June for the following summer semester.

  • Applications must be submitted via our External link opens in a new window:online portal and can be submitted no earlier than 2 months before the above deadlines.
  • Be sure to indicate three priorities (especially if you have to do a mandatory semester abroad). By doing so, you will increase your chances of getting an exchange place. The number of exchange places is limited!
  • Please write a letter of motivation and a learning agreement for your first priority only.
  • Please note that there are no more exchange places for certain subjects at some partner universities in the summer semester. You can see which ones above under NEWS.
  • The deadlines for application are binding. The online application must be completed by the deadline.
  • Please note that your application is binding. If you withdraw your application or are unable to start your stay abroad for important reasons (e.g. illness, foundation level studies not passed, no recognition possible due to changes at the partner university), there will be no consequences. However, if you cannot prove there are such valid reasons, then a further application on your part at a later point in time will be given lower priority, i.e. you will then only be assigned whatever place abroad may still be available.

NOTE: Applicants who want to go to a non-EU country need a valid passport. In many cases, the partner university already requires the passport number before issuing an admission. It can take up to 6 weeks to apply for a passport.

Regulations on the order of priority in the selection of applications:
Download file:ADDITIONAL RULES DURING THE PANDEMIC (in German only)

  1. Selection criteria include academic achievement, language proficiency, and commitment to the university.
  2. In the case of faculty-led collaborations of the HFU Business School, priority will be given to students of the respective country focus.
  3. Incomplete foundation level courses at the time of application is not an exclusion criterion, but applications will generally be given lower priority than applications with a completed foundation level courses.
    At the time of the semester abroad, however, the foundation studies must have been completed (exception HFU Business School: 1 language certificate may be open if language = language of the target country).
  4. In the case of inter-faculty cooperation, the selection also takes into account which faculty has accepted more guest students from the partner university. This faculty decides on the allocation of places.

Note on GPA (Grade Point Average):
Some universities require a conversion of the grade point average according to the American system. Click here for External link opens in a new window:more information on conversion to the GPA system.

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 for your semester abroad

Admission to the guest university

If you are going to an HFU partner university, if the letter of acceptance is sent directly to you by the host university, please send a scan of it by email to your contact at the International Center.

Re-enrollment and notification regarding semester abroad

You should re-enroll as usual. You should also submit the "Notification of Semester Abroad (Mitteilung über das Auslandstudiensemester)" form to the Examinations Office.

Medical insurance

You must organise 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.

With the European Medical Insurance card (EHIC), you have basic insurance coverage in other EU countries and in countries with which Germany has a social insurance agreement. However, this basic coverage is very likely not sufficient, particularly if it is necessary to be transported home for medical reasons, or if special medical treatment is necessary. We therefore strongly recommend a supplementary private travel health insurance which covers such additional benefits and also the pandemic case. 

If you have private health insurance in Germany, please contact your insurance company to obtain proof of your insurance coverage abroad, if necessary.

To cover you in such cases, we recommend taking out additional private insurance. In non-EU countries and in countries where Germany has no social insurance agreement, private insurance is necessary.

Students can take out insurance over the group insurance contract of the DAAD. This includes Accident and Liability insurance. More information can be found External link opens in a new window:here.

Please be aware that medical insurance does not always cover pandemic cases and in some cases may refuse to pay if a travel warning by the Foreign Office (Auswärtige Amt) has been issued. Please make sure you check this before taking out insurance.

Accident and Liability insurance

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 Download file:Information sheet and on the website of Student Services Freiburg.

Visa

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.

Travel information

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.

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!

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

Information regarding the International Student Identity Card can be found here.

Things to do when you return from your semester abroad

Feedback report

Please email your feedback report as a PDF to your contact at the International Center within 4 weeks of completing your study semester abroad. Please use this report cover and follow these Download file:instructions.

This applies even if your semester abroad was completed entirely online due to corona. Although you will not be able to comment on some of the points, your report will nevertheless be an important source of information for future exchange students.

Certificate and accreditation

Who is responsible for accreditation?
Accreditation takes place within the faculties. Please contact your International Coordinator (AB) / Regional Coordinator (RK).

Are digital certificates recognised?
Certificates in electronic form are only recognised by the Examinations Office if they are sent directly to HFU by the host university. The IC or the person responsible for accreditation within the faculty confirms the authenticity of the digital certificate to the Examinations Office.
You will then no longer need to submit a paper certificate.

What is the procedure?
There are three different situations:

  1. The certificate is received by the IC: The IC forwards the certificate to you, the AB/RK and the Examinations Office and confirms its authenticity.
  2. The certificate is received by the AB/RK: The AB/RK does the grade conversion and arranges for accreditation. The AB/RK forwards the certificate to the Examinations Office together with the recognition form, and confirms the authenticity of the certificate to the Examination Office.
  3. The certificate must be downloaded from the portal of the host university: please give your consent to the host university to send the certificate directly to HFU.

How is the grade conversion done?
The grade conversion is done according to the standard HFU conversion table, which can be found in FELIX under "International Center".

Financing options