Preliminary considerations for a stay abroad

Stays abroad open up a wide range of opportunities and enrich not only one's CV but also personal growth. Employers increasingly value candidates with international experience as it indicates openness, adaptability and intercultural competence. By spending time in different countries, you gain valuable experience, broaden your horizons and develop skills that are essential in today's globalised workplace. Dare to look beyond your own nose!

There are various options to choose from when staying abroad during your studies. Depending on personal interests and goals, various options can be considered. Studying abroad allows you to immerse yourself more deeply in another culture and gain new academic perspectives. On the other hand, those who want to gain practical experience can consider an internship abroad. Another option is to participate in shorter stays (e.g. a summer or winter school) that offer intensive courses and intercultural exchange. Ultimately, it depends on which type of stay abroad best suits one's needs and goals.


When deciding to study abroad, it is advisable to keep an open mind about various countries. By not limiting yourself to just one country, you open up a wide range of possibilities. We would like to point out that the language of instruction at our partner universities is not always limited to the national language. In fact, many of our partner universities also offer a wide range of courses in English. You can research which languages of instruction are available and weather there are any other conditions that need to be fulfilled (e.g. GPA) per partner university in our partner university portal.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you obtain an official language certificate in good time. See the note on language certificates in the application documents.

Ultimately, however, the answer also depends on individual preferences, goals and interests. Some prefer to go to a country where they already know the language or want to improve their language skills. Others are curious about completely new cultures and want to explore a country that is previously unknown to them. Some choose a country that has particularly renowned universities or research institutions for their field of study. You can find inspiration in our partner university portal. Get a comprehensive overview, remain unbiased and open to new possibilities.

When deciding on a stay abroad during your studies, the question often arises: How long do I want to stay abroad? There are various options to choose from, such as stays during the semester break, for one or two semesters.

However, it is important to remember that longer stays abroad can offer numerous advantages. A longer period of time gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself more deeply in the culture, better integrate into the daily routine of studying and develop a deeper understanding of the host country. You have more time to make new friends, get involved in the local community and really feel at home. Longer stays abroad also allow you to significantly improve your language skills and gain in-depth training in your field. You have the chance to build a broad network and make international contacts that can prove valuable in the long run.

Therefore, we encourage you to consider the possibility of a longer stay abroad. This will open up a world of new experiences, personal growth and professional opportunities for you. Take the opportunity to broaden your horizons and dare to spend longer abroad.

A shorter stay abroad can still be useful, as it is flexible and can be easily integrated into your own study schedule. Semester breaks or a single semester abroad allow you to gain international experience without taking too much time away from your regular studies. This can be particularly beneficial for students with tight schedules or specific academic requirements. Perhaps you do not have the opportunity to participate in longer stays for personal or family reasons. In addition, a shorter stay abroad can also serve as a stepping stone. It can help you explore the benefits of an international study experience and allow you to decide whether you want to plan a longer stay abroad in the future.

For some degree programmes, there are special time slots or phases in which it is particularly beneficial to plan a stay abroad. This information can be obtained directly from the programme directors, the relevant study advisors or study offices in your faculty. They are usually familiar with the specific requirements and possibilities of the respective degree programme and can give you valuable advice on how to integrate a stay abroad into your study programme.

When integrating a stay abroad into your course of study, it is advisable to plan your course selection and learning plan in advance. In this way, you can ensure that the credit points and academic achievements gained abroad can be properly integrated into your studies. See also: Recognition.

The semester times abroad are usually different from ours. In the event of major deviations, there may be semester overlaps with UPB. You must expect this and take it into account in your planning. If the semester times of your host university overlap with those of UPB and you are therefore unable to take part in examinations, for example, we recommend that you make individual arrangements in your faculty and with the lecturers of your courses. There are no inter-university regulations for this case. However, you must be at the partner university at the beginning of the semester abroad.

The UPB application procedure always uses the designations WiSe and SoSe, as our own systems are designed for these semester types. Other terms are used abroad (e.g. Autumn semester, Fall semester or Winter semester and Spring semester or Summer semester). Please do not let this confuse you. Semester periods abroad that are approximately between July and February correspond to an application for the WiSe and semester periods that are approximately between January and July correspond to an application for the SoSe. The exact semesters in which we are allowed to send exchange students to the partner universities are determined by contract. Therefore, please research the semester times of your preferred universities in advance.

The DAAD provides an overview of European university periods.

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.
Other fees (such as application fees, administration fees, visa costs or health costs (e.g. compulsory vaccinations)) are not included in the tuition fee waiver and must be paid by you. Accommodation costs and living expenses must also be paid by the students themselves.

When it comes to the question of how to finance your stay abroad, there are various options and resources that can be used. The International Office offers scholarship programmes (e.g. Erasmus+ or PROMOS) specifically for students who want to go abroad. These scholarships can help you cover the costs of your stay, such as semester fees (not tuition fees) or administrative fees, accommodation, travel tickets, visa fees or living expenses.

In addition, other financing options come into question, such as education loans, financial support through education funds or opportunities for part-time student work abroad (depending on the country).

It is important to start looking for funding opportunities early, as some scholarship programmes have specific deadlines. In addition, it can be helpful to look for funding opportunities from external organisations or foundations that offer financial support for students abroad.

Use the information on the International Office website to find out about the various funding options and, if necessary, seek personal advice. With careful planning and an early search for funding opportunities, you can successfully realise your plans for a stay abroad.


Studying abroad with child(ren) often presents students with organisational challenges. The Family Office of Paderborn University offers qualified support in planning and implementing stays abroad for studying (and doctoral) parents.

In addition to organisational questions, financial aspects also play a major role. Additional financing options are offered by the Erasmus+ programme, as well as the Auslands-BAföG with child allowance.

Planning a stay abroad with a handicap? It's definitely possible with the right support! While the International Office can provide you with basic information on the different types of stays abroad, the partner universities as well as tips on organisation, the representative for studies with disabilities at Paderborn University is at your disposal to include your special needs in the planning.

Special funding is available, for example, from the Erasmus+ programme or the DAAD.

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