Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Preliminary considerations

During the lecture period the International Office organises information events to provide general information. The information events introduce options for spending a semester abroad, explain the application process and answer general questions. After attending the information event you are welcome to visit our office hours (no appointment necessary) to ask any individual questions that you still may have. If you would like information on a specific country or partner university, please contact the advisor for the respective region directly. The dates and times of upcoming information events and our office hours can be found here.

It is possible to go abroad during both bachelor and master degree studies.

For bachelor students the fifth or sixth semester of studies is a good time to go abroad. In this case you would need to apply at the beginning of your third semester (if you started your degree in the winter semester). It is usually easier to choose the right host university after you have already completed a few semesters of study in Paderborn. Furthermore, your chances of obtaining an exchange place at a partner university with high demand improve as you will be able to provide more evidence of your academic achievements.

Master students generally choose to go abroad in their third semester.

If you are not sure, it is best to discuss the options with the academic advisor in your faculty as early as possible.

This is possible with careful planning. Find out about the semester dates of the host university and the courses offered as early as possible. You should check if you can take any courses not offerend at the host university at Paderborn University at an earlier date or after you return from your semester abroad.  If you study two or more subjects (e.g. joint bachelor degrees, teaching degrees or interdisciplinary study programmes such as Business Informatics) it may not be possible to pursue your studies in both subjects at the host university. Please keep this in mind when planning your semester abroad.

In addition, you should also inform yourself in good time (e.g. with your study advisor) about which academic achievements you can successfully complete abroad and have recognised.

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) provides information and various helpful tips on planning a stay abroad on the DAAD website. This also includes information on living expenses. You can follow the experiences of current outgoings from all over Germany at Studieren Weltweit.

Further useful information on travel costs, living expenses, costs of accommodation etc. can also be found in the experience reports of past outgoing students from Paderborn University.

Yes, it is possible. It just has to be well planned.

Here you can find information from the FamilyServiceOffice.
Here you can find information about Erasmus+ top-ups (for students with child(ren)).
Here you can find general information about studying abroad with a child.

Application for semesters abroad at UPB partner universities

Every winter semester the International Office publishes information on current exchange opportunities for the following academic year (winter and/or summer semester) on the website of the International Office under partner universities. During the summer semester, remaining places and possibly new cooperations are offered for the following summer semester.

Here you can find all information regrading the application.

The exchange places are allocated by the Departmental Coordinators in the faculties. Usually, candidates are shortlisted after reviewing the written applications. Departmental Coordinators might also invite you to an additional personal interview, which may be partly conducted in the language of instruction at the respective partner university. 
The general selection criteria were surveyed among the Departmental Coordinators. The results can be found here.

You can use the information published in our partner university portal to see which exchange opportunities are suitable for each field of study. Remember to check the semester dates and courses available before you choose to apply to a certain partner university!

Experience reports from former exchange students at the respective partner universities can also be found in the portal.

With regards to an exchange, different people are involved at both the home and the host university. At Paderborn University, the staff members of the International Office are the contact persons for administrative and organisational questions regarding the exchange, and the departmental coordinators are the contact persons for subject-related questions regarding the exchange, e.g. for advice on studying at the host university from a subject-related point of view or for course selection. In addition, the departmental coordinators select the students who apply for an exchange place at the partner universities.

The respective Departmental Coordinators for your field of study can be found in the detailed information in our partner university portal.

In most cooperation agreements with partner universities, the contracts specify exactly for which fields of study student exchanges are possible. Therefore, applications outside of that subject area are not possible.

The chances of a successful application depend on how many applications are submitted for each programme and your preferences with regards to the destination country.  If you are flexible in your choice of partner universities, you have a greater chance of being offered a place on an exchange programme.

Please upload the complete application documents in one PDF document to Mobility Online by the deadline. An application in paper form is not necessary.

Your application must be submitted by the deadline stated in the announcement. After the deadline the application phase is officially closed and no further applications will be accepted.

You can provide proof of language skills either through a recognised language certificate (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge, DELE, DELF/DALF, UNIcert®) or through a DAAD language certificate. Other certificates or confirmations will not be accepted for the application. You can find more information about the language certificate on our homepage. Please be aware of the individual regulations for each course of study and allow sufficient time.
The Centre for Language Studies (ZFS) will advise you on the various options for achieving a DAAD language certificate.

It is not necessary to adapt your CV/letter of motivation to the customary style/format of each specific country. The application documents are solely used for the internal faculty selection procedure and are not being forwarded to the partner universities.

If you have provided your consent for your room to be sublet, it will be made available (if possible) to an exchange student for the duration of your stay abroad. This is a convenient way to sublet your room and support incomings in finding accommodation at the same time. We are sure that you are aware of the shortage of student accommodation in Paderborn.  We urgently ask for your help in providing housing for incomings. 

The Studierendenwerk in Paderborn is responsible for the room allocation process. If you are offered a place on a student exchange, we will send you the relevant form from the Studierendenwerk, in which you should provide details about your room/apartment.  You should send the form back to the Studierendenwerk.  Any questions regarding the rental agreement or otherwise can be clarified in a personal consultation. If you are unable to sublet your room (for example because you live with your parents or partner) you can ask the Studierendenwerk to exempt you from the room allocation process.

You can find more information here.

After submitting your application

After you have submitted your application documents to the International Office we will forward these to the responsible Departmental Coordinator in the faculty.  After reviewing the applications (and in some cases after drawing up a shortlist) selected candidates will be invited to a personal interview. Here you can find more information regarding the selection process.

If your application for an exchange semester at a partner university is not successful, you still have the option to apply to spend a semester abroad as a Free Mover either by applying directly to the university or in some cases through an agency. You may also wish to consider other options for going abroad such as internships abroad,  summer schools, work & travel, etc.

If your application is not successful this time around, you can still apply for a student exchange at a partner university in the next application round.

You can request a leave of absence for the duration of your semester abroad at the UPB Service Center. Please do this before the deadline for re-enrolment. The Service Center can provide information on the advantages and disadvantages of a leave of absence. Please also clarify how a leave of absence may impact your entitlement to BAFöG.

If you do not take a leave of absence for the duration of your semester abroad, you will continue to pay the regular semester fees at UPB. Make sure you remember to pay the semester fees within the re-enrolment period. If you take a leave of absence, you might have to pay a reduced amount. Further information is available at the UPB Service Center.

We want you to be aware that a stay abroad is associated with increased costs. Depending on which country you go to, the cost of living can differ greatly from the German standard.
Even if you are exempt from pure tuition fees at our partner universities, you may, for example, be required to show certain financial resources in advance as a guarantee (possibly through a sponsor). In non-European countries, this can be several thousand euros per semester.
Likewise, other fees (such as application fees, administration fees, visa costs or health costs (e.g. mandatory vaccinations)) are not included in the tuition waiver and must be paid by you. Accommodation and living costs are also to be paid by the students themselves.

You can find information about insurance here.

The Studierendenwerk in Paderborn is not responsible for Auslands-BAföG. You will need to submit your application to the international BAföG office responsible for your destination country (e.g. for semesters abroad in Spain: Studierendenwerk Heidelberg, for semesters abroad in the USA: Studierendenwerk Hamburg). You can find out which BAföG office is responsible for your application here

Auslands-BAföG provides financial support for additional costs (e.g. travel expenses and international health insurance etc.) not usually covered by the regular national BAföG. In some cases it may be possible to receive Auslands-BAföG even if you are not usually entitled to BAföG. Detailed information can be found here.

The partner universities vary greatly regarding if and how they support incomings in finding accommodation. Please be aware that the room subletting process for incomings at Paderborn University and the possibility of being allocated a room at the partner university are not related.

Information about searching for accommodation will be sent to you by your contact person after you have registered at the partner university (e.g. registration forms for student dorms, private offers, Facebook groups etc.). You might also find further information on the local housing market in the experience reports of past exchange students.

The recognition of the compulsory stay abroad within the framework of the B.Ed. takes place in the faculty. Your contact persons are
Anglistik: Dr. Markus Freudinger
Romanistik: Mara Büter

You can find information about the Erasmus+ Scholarship here.