As an alternative to a semester abroad at a partner university, you can also organise semesters abroad independently as a freemover at a university of your choice.
Going abroad as a freemover has advantages and disadvantages:


+ Application to the university of your choice is possible
+ Individual and flexible in terms of destination, duration and design
+ Independent of the exchange programmes and partner universities of Paderborn University



- A lot of personal initiative required, additional organisational work.
- No Erasmus+ funding
- Financing of tuition fees, etc.
- You have to arrange the application procedure and the recognition of academic achievements yourself.


Freemovers are also often referred to as visiting students, study abroad students or non-degree students. The application does not take place via the International Office of Paderborn University, but directly at the respective university of choice. Since each university has its own admission requirements and application procedures, extensive research on your part is necessary.

Credentials and support

Once your application has been accepted by the university abroad, you will usually need to provide further evidence in order to be formally admitted.


Many universities, especially in the USA, offer their students their own health insurance, which is often compulsory. Nevertheless, we recommend taking out additional German health insurance abroad. It is advisable to check the websites of your future host university for the exact requirements.


Many Universities (in the USA and Canada in particular) require a bank letter. This document confirms that you have sufficient financial means to finance your stay abroad. The host university uses the bank letter to secure itself. If you run into financial difficulties, the university is not obliged to cover for you.


If this has not already been required for the application, language tests such as TOEFL or IELTS are usually required, especially in countries outside Europe. Take care of this in good time, as these are usually subject to a fee and require a lot of preparation, and you have to register for them in advance.


If you are planning a stay outside Europe, you will most likely need a student visa. You can apply for this visa at the relevant embassy or consulate as soon as you have received an official acceptance from the foreign university.


The International Office offers freemovers the opportunity to apply for the PROMOS scholarship. There are also some offers of funding outside UPB.


We recommend all freemovers to fill out a learning agreement in order to clarify which courses from abroad can be recognised at UPB and which cannot. You can find information on the recognition process on the faculties' websites.


Placement agencies

Placement agencies work together with individual foreign universities to which they place freemovers. The services and universities offered can vary greatly from agency to agency - so check the respective offers carefully.