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Paderborn University in spring. Show image information

Paderborn University in spring.

Photo: Paderborn University, Kamil Glabica.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQs about the Corona pandemic are available here.

Preliminary considerations

How can I find out information about options for going abroad?

During the lecture period the International Office organises group advice sessions once a month to provide general information. The group advice sessions introduce options for spending a semester abroad, explain the application process and answer many general questions. After attending a group advice session 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 group advice sessions and our office hours can be found here.

When is the best time to go abroad?

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 partner university after you have already completed a few semesters of study in Paderborn. Your chances of being offered a place at the more competitive universities also 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. Please bear in mind that it is only possible to apply for an exchange semester at a partner university once a year. You must apply at the beginning of the winter semester.

Will I still be able to complete my degree in the standard period of study if I go abroad?

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

Where can I find information on living expenses in the different countries/cities?

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

Application for semesters abroad at UPB partner universities

When and where is information about the places available at partner universities published?

Every year at the beginning of September, the International Office publishes information about places available in all exchange programmes in the following academic year (winter or summer semester) on the central website of the International Office under partner universities.

Which criteria are applied in assessing student applications and allocating exchange places?

The places on exchange programmes are allocated by the Programme Coordinator in your faculty. Usually a shortlist of candidates is created after reviewing the written applications. The final decisions are made after a personal interview, which is partly conducted in the language of tuition at the selected partner university. 
We asked the Programme Coordinators which general selection criteria they apply when allocating places. The results of the questionnaire can be found here.

How can I find suitable partner universities?

You can use the information published in the announcement of available exchange places to see which exchange programmes are suitable for each subject group or course of studies. Remember to check the semester dates and courses available before you choose an exchange programme!

Experience reports from earlier programme participants at the respective partner universities can also be found in the announcement.

What is a Programme Coordinator and how do I find the Programme Coordinator for each partnership?

The faculty Programme Coordinators are responsible for providing academic advice related to semesters abroad and for selecting which students will be offered places in each exchange programme.  Each university partnership is managed by a designated Programme Coordinator. The Programme Coordinators for your faculty can be found here.

Can I also apply for partner universities with which there is a cooperation in another subject?

In most cooperation agreements with partner universities, the contracts specify for exactly which courses of study/subject groups student exchanges are possible. This means that applications outside of your own subject area are generally not possible. In exceptional cases you may apply, if the announcement lists a subject that is included in your degree studies.  Such applications should always be discussed with the Programme Coordinator beforehand.

What are the chances of being accepted to my chosen university/destination country?

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.

Where should I submit my application? Can I submit my application after the deadline?

Please upload the complete application documents in one PDF document to Mobility Online by the deadline.

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.

How can I calculate the average grade required for the online application?

Using all of the grades (“Noten”) that you have achieved so far, simply calculate the average result.

How can I prove my language level? Do I need to do a TOEFL test?

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.
The Centre for Language Studies (ZFS) will advise you on the various options for achieving a DAAD language certificate. Please be aware of the individual regulations for each course of study and allow sufficient time.

Do I need to submit the CV and letter of motivation in the language of tuition in the customary style/format of the specific country?

It is not necessary to adapt your CV/letter of motivation to the customary style/format of each specific country.

What is the “Sublet Consent Form”? What can I do if I am unable to sublet my room?

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.

After submitting your application

What happens after I submit my application?

After you have submitted your application documents to the International Office we will forward these to the responsible Programme 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.

What can I do if I didn't get a place?

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 again next year.

Do I need to request a leave of absence during my time abroad? Where can I request a leave of absence?

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.

Do I have to pay semester fees at UPB or tuition fees at the partner university during my semester abroad?

As an exchange student, you are usually exempted from any tuition fees at the partner university.

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. If you take a leave of absence, you have to pay a reduced amount. In addition, you can apply for a refund of the ticket fee by returning the semester ticket.

Further information is available at the UPB Service Center.

Do I need international health insurance?

If you are staying abroad within the European Union or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you are insured via the European Health Insurance Card. If necessary, contact your health insurance company to find out whether the insurance cover provided by the European Health Insurance Card is sufficient for you personally when you are abroad. Depending on the country of destination and previous illnesses, additional insurance may be useful.

If you are studying abroad at a country outside of the region covered by the European Health Insurance Card, you will need to take out international health insurance. Search for information about local health insurance providers and their coverage plans as early as possible.

Where can I apply for Auslands-BAföG for studying abroad? Am I entitled to Auslands-BAföG?

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.

Will the partner university provide accommodation?

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.

Where do I clarify the recognition of the compulsory stay abroad within the framework of the B.Ed.?

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

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