Gaining international experience at university

What do Norwegians do, even if it’s rainy and windy? They go hiking of course. And it’s quite catching. The photo was taken on a rock promontory called Trolltunga, in English “The Troll’s Tongue”. You hike a good 11 km up there along paths which the Norwegians accept in the way that nature intended. It’s a great way to experience Norway’s nature in all its beauty whilst engaging in a sporting activity which is said to be important for Norway’s working world too, since exercise is a good balance and they like to compete at sports. On the photo you can see me with my French and Italian friends. It’s thanks to the Italians that I wave my hands about when I’m talking. It was a thoroughly rewarding time!
Nicole Osiecki, semester abroad at NHH Bergen, Norway

Gaining international experience at university or through an internship abroad are a matter of course nowadays. That’s why you only have a competitive advantage if:

  • You have made targeted and verifiable progress in the areas of culture and language
  • This has contributed - also verifiably - to shaping your personality
  • You can present this in a reflective manner in a job application or interview

Awakening your sense of adventure: Student bloggers report on their studies or internships abroad for the DAAD - from all around the world. What an experience!

Study around the world - What an experience!

We, the University of Konstanz and the Department of Economics, cultivate numerous partnerships with European and non-European universities so that you can complete part of your studies abroad. We help you to plan and undertake an internship abroad too (Erasmus+ funding is also available here for placements in Europe).

When and how should I prepare for a stay abroad?

When should I start to plan my semester abroad?

Careful preparation is the most important thing for making your stay abroad successful. Ideally, you should start to plan about 12 to 18 months before your intended visit.

Language proficiency

To study successfully abroad, it’s helpful to master your host country’s language. Many of our partner universities offer courses in English, but some don’t: You must be able to follow what’s going on in class and express your views on topics related to your subject both orally and in writing.

The Language Institute of the University of Konstanz (SLI) organises numerous language courses each semester and sometimes also preparatory courses for special language certificates. You can also participate in the following programmes: TANDEM, Local ERASMUS Initiative (LEI) or the International Office’s Buddy Programme Taking part in the Buddy Programme is also a plus if you want to submit an Erasmus+ application.

You can get in touch with international students in Konstanz and hence to students at your potential host university though the Local ERASMUS Initiative (LEI).

Language tests

Only one of our department’s Erasmus+ partner universities insists on a TOEFL or IELTS certificate: CBS in Copenhagen. None of the others expect a certificate or else they accept one from our Language Institute.

Most overseas partners insist on a TOEFL or IELTS certificate. Both tests are only valid for 2 years. The IELTS certificate is € 20 cheaper. In the case of the IELTS certificate, the oral exam is with a person whilst the TOEFL test takes place with a computer.

Please note: The test centres are often booked out months in advance. We therefore advise you to book an appointment as soon as you know that your host university demands a TOEFL certificate. Students with disabilities can expect to wait a far longer time.

Visa

Thanks to freedom of movement in the EU, as an EU citizen you do not need a visa for a study visit to an Erasmus partner country. The exception to this rule is Turkey.

For study visits to non-EU countries, you generally need a visa for study purposes to enter the country and to stay there for study purposes. It is not possible to enter a country on a tourist visa and have it converted there to a visa for study purposes.

Depending on the host country, processing your visa can easily take several weeks. That means it is important to apply for your visa in good time in order to avoid complications when you enter the country.

More information is available on the International Office’s website.

Insurance

It’s your own responsibility to ensure that you have sufficient insurance cover for the duration of your stay abroad.

We recommend:

  • Personal liability insurance with overseas cover
  • Accident insurance with overseas cover
  • Health insurance with overseas cover as well as medical evacuation and repatriation cover

Many host universities overseas insist that you take out health insurance with the university’s own scheme. Whether and which insurance this is can be found on the respective host university’s website. Otherwise please enquire at the International Office.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to attend master’s courses as a bachelor student?

This depends on the host university. If the partner university allows bachelor students to attend courses at master’s level then students may attend these courses at their host university. These credits can be transferred to the University of Konstanz either within your BSc or later if you decide to do your master’s degree here in Konstanz. Prior consent is required.

May I apply as a master’s student to a partner university with which the agreement only applies for bachelor students?

This is possible in individual cases. You must, however, attend only bachelor courses and you cannot transfer the credits (with the exception of the master’s programme in Business and Economics Education).

Am I allowed to attend courses in non-economics subjects?

To find that out, it’s best if you take a look at the Experience Reports. It will be possible at most universities without further ado but not at others.

Our University, on the other hand, is very accommodating in this respect and exchange students more or less have a free choice.

Does the host university charge tuition fees?

If you go abroad in the framework of an exchange programme between the University of Konstanz and one of its partner universities, the tuition fees at the host university are waived. However, if you take leave of absence for your semester abroad, you will have to pay your social service fee at the University of Konstanz whilst you are abroad.

Am I obliged to attend a certain number of courses during my stay abroad?

During your stay abroad you should attend courses at your host university equivalent to 30 ECTS.

Are there other exchange programmes apart from Erasmus+?

There are numerous other exchange programmes apart from Erasmus+. Please note that for exchange programmes outside Europe you generally need a TOEFL or IELTS certificate. For applications overseas, you also always need a reference from one of our professors (or, as a master’s student, under certain circumstances a reference from a professor at the university where you did your bachelor’s degree).

May I, in exceptional cases, write a Konstanz exam abroad?

Occasionally it is possible to write a Konstanz exam abroad, provided that the Konstanz professor agrees to this. This application with all signatures should be sent to the Team. It also explains the process and what you need to pay attention to.