In this ultimate study abroad guide, you will find helpful tips on how to organize and conduct your time abroad.
Study Abroad Ultimate Step by Step Guide: How-To Study Abroad For International Students
Studying abroad guide for students + checklist
A semester in London or a year in Paris: for many students, the thought of going abroad is a dream come true. But it doesn’t have to remain a dream. You will find helpful tips on how to organize and conduct your time abroad in the following.
There is a lot that speaks for a stay abroad. The benefit that such a stay can have on your later professional career is only one aspect of many. Above all, it is an opportunity to grow personally and to make international acquaintances.
A study visit abroad is more widespread than ever and is possible for everyone. You can get support with your organization and the financing of your project from numerous sources. Many students are not really aware of the possibilities. This article will tell you how to best start planning, where to get help, and what to look for.
What you can expect from your stay abroad
As a first step, you should ask yourself what you actually expect from your time abroad. The expectations can be very different and of course influence your further planning.
Just see something different
Perhaps you are one of those students who stayed in their hometown to study after graduating from high school. You like it at home, but you are slowly feeling the desire to live in another place. You want to get to know a different culture and not just as a tourist. Then a stay abroad during your studies might be just the thing for you.
You have the opportunity to live in a different place, but you don’t have to commit yourself and leave your home completely behind you. On the contrary: You have the opportunity to return to your home country after a certain period of time if you want to.
To become self-employed
Or you are one of those students who still live at home during your studies. Sometimes that can be useful. Especially financially, it is often worthwhile not to move out immediately after graduating from high school, and enables you to study without part-time jobs.
With rising rental prices, it is simply impossible for some students to finance their own apartment. And rooms in shared apartments or rooms in student residences are also not cheap and often so overcrowded that it is difficult to find something. The “Hotel Mama” offers a cheap and stress-free alternative.
At some point, however, the desire awakens in every young person to finally lead a life according to their own rules. Real growing up is not so easy for most when parents are still doing the laundry and putting the food on the table.
To many, a stay abroad seems like the ideal introduction to self-employment. Indeed, such a stay can really mature you personally. However, you should ask yourself whether you can cope with the multiple personal stresses that a stay abroad can mean. Because it is not only about the first step out of the parental home, but also a step out of the personal environment and mostly also the language and culture area.
For some, jumping into the deep end can be ideal. It can be very enriching, especially if you’re an outgoing person who makes friends quickly. But you shouldn’t underestimate what it means to go alone to a foreign country where you don’t know anyone. It can be difficult for more introverted people to make friends.
With all the anticipation, you shouldn’t forget to ask yourself if you’re the type to go somewhere alone, to a foreign university, where you don’t know anyone at the beginning. If you then add the stress of running a household independently for the first time or fitting into an unfamiliar flat share structure, it can quickly become too much for some.
You should know all this, but it shouldn’t prevent you from jumping into the deep end anyway. For one or the other, this shock is just right, maybe for you too.
To learn a foreign language
Languages are much better and more effectively when they are spoken and heard. Anyone who has already spent a long time abroad will confirm this. Language courses or language lessons in school are ideal for learning the basics of a language. However, the real application results only through regular practice and contact with native speakers. Where better to do that than during a stay abroad during your studies.
Foreign language skills are excellent skills that are ideal on your resume. Since most companies now operate across national borders or even work internationally, foreign language skills are in great demand. A good knowledge of English is generally required and other foreign languages are always an advantage.
If you want to study or work in a foreign country, you are usually expected to have at least the basics of the language of the country in question. Such basic knowledge can be acquired at school, university, language school or independently via an app.
Once in the other country, you should use every opportunity to practice the language. Go to many lectures, take an active part in the seminars, meet with others for dinner or an evening glass of wine. Go to the theater, listen to the radio, read and watch TV programs. Try to speak as much as you can. Then you will be making great strides in no time.
If you are toying with the idea of going abroad with a friend, you have to bear in mind all the benefits that it will tempt you to speak a lot in your native language. This will make it much more difficult for you to deepen your knowledge of the foreign language.
Get to know a foreign culture
Many people travel to get to know foreign cultures. Of course, this is even better if you are in one place for a longer period of time and not just for a few weeks. Later in life, it is often difficult to spend extended periods of time abroad unless you are transferred there. In this case, however, you can usually not choose the destination yourself.
During your studies you will enjoy many advantages and opportunities. The opportunity to spend time in a different culture is one of them. Alternatively, there is also the wonderful opportunity to spend some time abroad between high school and university. Many high school graduates use the time to complete a voluntary social year or to travel through a foreign country with Work & Travel.
However, if you have already started your studies or do not feel like taking a break between school and studies, it is ideal to use the study time for this. The connection to a university gives you the opportunity to come into contact with others very quickly and to be introduced to the culture of the country by them. So it doesn’t stop with the usual tourist attractions, but you will soon know the places that are only reserved for “insiders”.
In addition to studying, fun is of course high on the priority list of most students, regardless of whether they are at home or abroad. Student parties are legendary and for most of them are simply part of this phase of life. Most working people wistfully remember their own student days. Once you have arrived at work, free time becomes scarce and other things begin to take up more space than before. That is why it means more during your studies than in any other phase of your life: Use the day & use the night.
In most university cities there are even so-called Erasmus parties: parties that are specially organized for Erasmus students and are therefore usually attended by students from all countries. Evenings like this are perfect for networking and making friends.
In general, many friendships or even relationships begin while studying abroad. It doesn’t have to be at a party, maybe a picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, a walk through the old town of Barcelona or in the lecture hall of the University of Cambridge. According to recent surveys, students who spend time abroad during their studies are more than twice as likely to enter into partnerships with foreign partners than their fellow students who stayed at home.
Attend a special university
Cambridge, Oxford, Bologna or the Sorbonne in Europe, Yale, Princeton, Harvard or Columbia in the USA – the list of famous and important universities is long. Stations at one of these universities are recorded in the résumés of many successful people. That’s not surprising. Studying at an outstanding university sets you apart from your competitors and usually enables you to enter professional life without problems. You should also not underestimate the network that can be built up by attending an outstanding university.
Places at these universities, regardless of whether it is a study or just a semester abroad, are usually very popular, and the competition for places is correspondingly high. Universities can allow themselves to demand above-average performance. At some elite universities, there are also high tuition fees. With a scholarship, however, these fees are covered and do not represent a financial burden for you.
Inquire at your university about a possible exchange to your dream university. Maybe you are lucky and it is one of the partner universities of your home university. In this case, the probability of getting a place at the university of your choice increases.
Get to know new living conditions
But maybe you don’t have a specific university in mind. That’s no problem at all. On the contrary, it increases the likelihood that you will also get a place. Even so, you should perhaps ask yourself beforehand what criteria your goal should meet.
Maybe you really want to go to the sea? Or do you really want to go to a country where French is spoken? Or are you drawn to a metropolis? These are questions to ask yourself before applying for a place. Just think about what is important to you.
If you are interested in a metropolis like London or Paris, consider the high cost of living in these cities. Of the horrendous rental prices in these metropolises, the prices for food and leisure activities should not be underestimated either. Ordinary activities like coffee between lectures or a beer in the evening with a student budget quickly become problematic.
What are the options?
You have several options if you want to spend time abroad during your studies. Which of the options you choose depends on your own ideas, but also on your performance and skills.
Study abroad guide
Of course, in most countries school leavers are free to apply to universities abroad. When studying at a university abroad, you are enrolled at this university like any other student and receive the possible degree directly from the respective university.
You can usually only register if you have the required language skills. The requirements vary from university to university. You can find information about this on the website of the respective university.
Even if these restrictions seem like barriers at first glance, they make perfect sense. Anyone wishing to study at a university in Spain should be able to understand and use Spanish fluently. Otherwise, the learning quota of a degree is probably difficult to cope with.
If you enroll as a student at a university abroad, the same tuition fees apply as for other students. These can vary greatly depending on where the university is located and whether it is a private or public institution.
Due to the Bachelor-Master system, which guarantees that the degrees in different countries are similar, degrees that you have acquired in other countries are usually also accepted in many.
Exceptions are, of course, country-specific courses such as law or teacher training courses. Here the studies must be completed in the country in which the professional activity is to take place later.
You can find more information on the recognition of training courses acquired abroad on many government portals.
Study Abroad Guide: Specialized Courses
Studying abroad in courses of study that are highly such as medicine, psychology or biochemistry, is particularly popular. Those whose high school graduation mark is not good enough can still get a place at the university of their choice by waiting enough semesters.
However, if you don’t want to wait, you also have the option of switching to a foreign university that has not set a standard for the course. However, it is important to check on a case-by-case basis what the recognition in that country looks like for the individual course in the respective country. And even if a degree is recognized, there is still the question of what kind of image a degree abroad has in the respective industry.
If you are thinking about studying only the first semester at a foreign university and then continuing your studies at a domestic university, you should study the content of the courses concerned intensively.
In 1982 the so-called Lisbon Convention was passed. This regulation states that study achievements from other universities should be recognized if there is no significant difference to the required achievements at the university in question. Here you have to find out about the possibilities of recognition in individual cases. Usually a case-by-case examination decides on recognition or rejection.
Also, not every course is highly regulated in higher semesters. Therefore, you may not have a chance to study in the second or third semester either. In that case, you only have the option of completing the entire course abroad.
Study Abroad Guide: Semester abroad
Most students choose to study and graduate from a university in their home country. The universities often offer their students the opportunity to study for a semester at one of the partner universities. You can find out which partner universities each university has on the university’s website.
A semester abroad has the advantage that you can obtain your degree at most universities abroad. If you do the semester abroad through a partner program at your university, a large part of the organization will also be taken over for you. You can return to your university after your stay abroad without any problems.
Study Abroad Guide: Year abroad
Some universities allow students to go abroad not just for one but for two semesters. Here, too, the universities mostly cooperate with Erasmus. The program provides funding for periods between three and twelve months.
The ideal thing about a longer stay is the opportunity to consolidate skills in the foreign language and also to be able to spend the lecture-free time in the respective city. This leaves the opportunity for any vacation jobs and more time that can be filled with cultural activities or activities with new friends.
Study Abroad Guide: Internship abroad
Many degree programs today provide for compulsory internships within the study period. Internships are also useful if they are not compulsory for graduation. They are an ideal opportunity to acquire practical skills and gain initial professional experience. Internships during your studies look good on your resume and increase the chances of a quick career entry after graduation.
It is often a tempting idea, especially for students of internationally oriented courses, to do an internship abroad. As a rule, interns are expected to have a very good knowledge of the respective national language. In most cases, a language level of B1 or higher is required, regardless of the industry in which the internship is being carried out.
For most of them, applying is more difficult than applying for an internship in their home country. Writing applications is often a challenge even in your mother tongue. When applying in other countries, not only is the foreign language a hurdle that has to be overcome, but the application formalities can also differ from the usual procedures in your country.
Of course, it is also hardly feasible financially and in terms of time to travel briefly to the USA for an interview. This restriction makes the application much more difficult. However, the company you are applying to may have a location nearby. Then it is sometimes possible to complete the interview there. However, many companies now also offer job interviews as telephone or Skype interviews. This way they can get a first impression of you and save you and them a lot of time.
Different rules apply depending on whether the internship is completed within or outside the EU. Within the EU you can work in the respective country without a work permit. The same is true for Switzerland. Outside the EU, you need a work permit in addition to the visa. The formalities and conditions vary from country to country. Find out more in advance from the respective embassy.
Study Abroad Guide: Language course abroad
A stay abroad during the lecture-free period can be optimally combined with a language course. On the one hand, there are various so-called language trips, which are organized trips that are a mixture of vacation and language course. Such trips are offered by various providers as complete packages. The cost of such trips can vary widely. The language courses themselves are available for around 100 euros per week, but the prices for accommodation, meals and travel must be added.
Another possibility to learn a language directly in the respective country is to do it directly at a university or college. A number of universities offer language courses for foreign students.
It is best to find out about possible collaborations with other universities and funding opportunities at your home university.
Study Abroad Guide: Going abroad as a foreign language assistant
A foreign language assistant works abroad as an assistant teacher for his mother tongue, usually at a state or private school, less often at a university. He supports the teacher in teaching and leads smaller study groups. The presence of the language assistant is intended to motivate the students to speak and to make it easier for them to learn the foreign language.
Foreign language assistants are generally expected to have completed a university degree. It is ideally suited for a break between Bachelor and Master studies or as preparation for a later teaching profession. They are mediated through an educational exchange service. As a rule, the salary of foreign language assistants is paid by the employer, i.e. the respective school or university. In addition, you can apply for a scholarship during your time as a foreign language assistant.
An experience as a foreign language assistant can be enriching for anyone. Graduates from pedagogical and / or humanities courses in particular often opt for such an option. For more information on the selection and procedure, check your home university.
Organization of your stay abroad
Depending on which program you choose, there are different ways you can organize this. Although organizing a stay abroad is always a hassle, some programs do some of the organization for you.
Study Abroad Guide: Erasmus program of the EU
Actually most universities offer the opportunity to go to other EU countries with the Erasmus program. The Erasmus program is a funding program of the European Union in which the 28 member states such as Germany, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Turkey participate.
The Erasmus program offers students the opportunity to receive a scholarship and organizational aid for one or more semesters abroad. It usually covers the following costs:
- Tuition fees / semester fee
- Mobility grant
Taking over the tuition fees is particularly interesting in countries where the tuition fees are very high. Independent financing with student funds is often not possible here.
The so-called mobility grant is not, as the name suggests, a sum that is made available for getting around by car or public transport. He simply means the amount that is guaranteed to the scholarship holder as financial support.
This amount depends on the cost of living in the respective destination country. The countries are divided into three groups:
- Country group 1: 420 euros per month
Country group 2: 360 euros per month
Country group 3: 300 euros per month
In addition to financial support, help is provided to organize the stay abroad. At every university there are contact persons who are available to assist the scholarship holders with advice and action. In particular, this makes it easier for the scholarship holders to orientate themselves towards the new university and provide information on course selection and crediting.
Erasmus can also help you prepare for your stay abroad. The help includes the following points in particular:
Many of the host universities help the scholarship holders to find accommodation by providing them with a place in a student residence. Whether the respective university offers this service must be inquired individually in advance.
Universities often offer students language courses with Erasmus in preparation for a stay abroad. In some cases, intensive courses are also made possible in advance in the respective target country. Online language courses are also often offered. The respective offer depends on the cooperation or the respective partner program of your university. It is best to inquire with the advertised contact person at your university.
At many universities there are intercultural preparatory meetings at which the scholarship holders are prepared for the cultural characteristics of the target country. In addition, meetings are usually organized between former and future scholarship holders, in which experiences can be exchanged and tips can be given. Here, too, it makes sense to find out about the offers at your university in advance.
The announcement and allocation of Erasmus places is usually carried out by the respective departments or institutes. A limited number of scholarship places are available for each degree program. How high the requirements are for applicants depends on two main factors.
On the one hand, every university places a linguistic requirement on the students who come to study from abroad with Erasmus. In most cases, the language level is assessed according to the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference.
The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions that can each be further divided into two levels; for each level, it describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing. The following section briefly describes these levels.
Level A1: Breakthrough or beginner
- Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
- Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know and things they have.
- Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Level A2: Waystage or elementary
- Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
- Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
- Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Level B1: Threshold or intermediate
- Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
- Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
- Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Level B2: Vantage or upper intermediate
- Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.
- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Level C1: Effective operational proficiency or advanced
- Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognize implicit meaning.
- Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
- Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Level C2: Mastery or proficiency
- Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
- Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
On the other hand, the home university decides on the basis of various criteria who will accept the scholarship. The criteria are usually the following:
- Academic achievements
- Language skills
- Extra-curricular activities
The weighting of the individual points can vary depending on the university and the institute. Whether you have a chance of an Erasmus scholarship depends on the individual case and cannot be said across the board. The decision depends on factors such as the number of applicants and the free scholarship places at the university of your choice.
In any case, the following applies: It is worth trying. And if you are not accepted for your dream university, it may be another university and another city, where many enriching experiences are sure to be waiting for you.
Bi-national courses are becoming increasingly popular. They are often referred to simply as an international degree program. This designation is misleading, however, as many courses are now called international without being bi-nationally oriented.
Bi-national courses are offered in cooperation between two universities in two different countries. These courses are available in different subject areas. As a rule, applicants apply to a university in their home country. Those who are admitted to the respective course of study will automatically be accepted for a stay at the partner university. This stay is necessary for the completion of the course.
A bi-national degree has the advantage that the graduate receives a double degree. He will receive a degree from his home university as well as from the partner university abroad. Such a double degree is definitely an advantage for the resume.
The bi-national courses also have the advantage that you have direct contact with the students at the partner university and language skills are specifically promoted through language courses and practical language exercises.
Anyone interested in a bi-national course of study must expect that a good school leaving certificate will not be sufficient for admission. Most universities allow themselves to examine the applicants independently and to test their motivation in a short interview. However, such an entrance exam shouldn’t put you off. On the contrary, here you have the opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the language and culture of the partner country as well as for the respective degree program.
As a free mover abroad
Of course, it is also possible to go abroad without an organization or a grant. As a so-called free mover, you can apply for a semester or year abroad at the university of your choice.
We recommend universities that offer so-called study abroad programs. The advantage of this is that you do not have to limit yourself to the partner universities of your university and are not dependent on the approval of decision-makers.
The disadvantage is that the entire organization and financing of your stay abroad is up to you. This option is only recommended if you have a talent for organization.
What kind of financing options are there?
The question of how you organize your stay abroad is closely linked to the question of how to finance your stay. Even a frugal student life cannot be managed without at least a minimum of financial resources.
If you go abroad with Erasmus, the mobility allowance already finances a decisive part of the cost of living. As a rule, however, this help is far from sufficient. That is why most of the scholarship holders are also dependent on financial resources.
Study Abroad Guide: Child benefit
Parents of children up to the age of 18 receive child benefit. For children who start studying afterwards, the entitlement applies up to the age of 25. Even if the child benefit is actually awarded to the legal guardian, the children usually receive it when they no longer live at home and have to take care of their own living.
You are also entitled to child benefit during your stay abroad. If you are under 25, are studying or doing an apprenticeship, no longer live with your parents and still do not receive child benefit, it is worth talking to your parents. You will definitely agree. If you are urgently dependent on the money and have a bad relationship with your parents, there is still the option of a so-called diversion application. In this case, child benefit could be awarded directly to you. However, this is only possible if you do not receive any or insufficient maintenance payments from your parents.
But that is a very rare exception. As a rule, students receive child benefit from their parents, at least if they no longer live with their parents.
Study Abroad Guide: Foreign Stipends
If you are entitled to little or no maintenance, most governments provide support during your first and postgraduate studies. You can find out whether and how much stipend you are entitled to on this.
You may also be entitled to stipend during your stay abroad. How much you receive depends on whether the host country is a member of the European Union or not.
- When studying abroad within the EU: Within the EU, studies are funded from start to finish.
- Anyone studying at a German university or college and doing an exchange in another European country will be funded for the entire duration of the exchange program
- Those who study in Germany and want to go abroad outside the EU are funded for a period of one year
- Those who study in Germany and complete a compulsory internship abroad are also funded for a maximum of twelve months
The great thing: In addition to the rates, additional supplements may be paid abroad. For example in Germany;
- Tuition fees of up to 4,600 euros for a maximum of one year
- Within the EU: 250 euros each for a return trip
- Outside the EU: 500 euros each for a return trip
- For possible additional health insurance costs
- Foreign surcharges may be added for higher cost of living outside the EU
The application for a stipend abroad is submitted to the respective international office. This should be done at least six months before the planned stay abroad.
Study Abroad Guide: Scholarship
If you receive a scholarship during your studies, you should find out exactly whether this will continue to be paid to you during your stay abroad. Scholarships are usually linked to conditions such as above-average performance, financial need or special commitment.
It is not possible to say in general whether the scholarship will continue to be paid abroad. You should therefore inform yourself in advance from your scholarship provider.
Study Abroad Guide: Part-time job
If you are going to be abroad for a longer period of time during your studies, in some cases it is useful or even necessary to take a part-time job. Typical student jobs such as waiters, tutoring or other temporary jobs are of course everywhere. Of course, if you have a sufficient language level, there is nothing against taking a part-time job. You can also ask at your host university whether there are any vacancies as student assistants. These are rarely advertised openly, which is why a personal request is always the better choice.
Important Read: How to Undertake Part Time Studies and Graduate
A student job is usually only worthwhile if you stay abroad for several semesters or even complete a complete degree abroad.
It is also important for you to know where and under what conditions you are allowed to work abroad. Here, the distinction between domestic and non-EU EU countries is of crucial importance, because as an EU citizen you enjoy special benefits in the EU.
Study Abroad Guide: Savings
Maybe you still have some savings from your school days or a previous job? It’s always good to have some money on the high edge. Of course, only you can know whether you want to use the money for your time abroad.
Who knows, maybe you will also find one or two “sponsors” within your family or friends who would like to support you during your stay abroad.
How and where do you find an apartment?
How do you want to live What is your budget for renting? Would you prefer to live in the city center or a little further out? Do you have the opportunity to view the potential rooms or apartments beforehand? You should ask yourself these or similar questions before you start looking for accommodation for your stay abroad.
Study Abroad Guide: Shared room
Shared apartments have the advantage that they are usually cheaper than your own apartment. Perhaps you already live in a shared flat in Germany and you like it a lot. Perhaps you still live with your parents or in your own apartment, but you could well imagine living with other students.
Flat shares have the advantage that you can get connected very quickly. During joint cooking evenings or a glass of wine, you get to know each other quickly and maybe even make friends for life. If you move to a shared apartment abroad with other students who are not from Germany, you also have the advantage that you are to a certain extent “forced” to communicate and thus learn the foreign language much faster than you would in one own home.
If you are only abroad for one or two semesters, rooms in shared apartments also have the advantage that they are often offered for temporary rent, often because one of the actual residents also spends some time abroad.
There are plenty of shared flats in most student cities, but they are also very popular. So you should find a room early on. For understandable reasons, flat share residents usually want to get to know the applicants before moving in in so-called flat share castings. If you cannot afford to travel to the city in advance, financially or in terms of time, or if the distance is too great, the search will be more difficult. Only a few shared apartments give commitments to applicants they have not seen before.
It is therefore worthwhile to start the search as early as possible (guideline: 3 – 6 months before the start of the semester).
Study Abroad Guide: Own flat
When looking for a (small) apartment of your own, the following applies: the earlier you start looking, the greater the likelihood of finding what you are looking for. At the beginning of the semester, all students start looking for apartments and the housing market can become tight.
It is also not uncommon for students to rent apartments who are abroad themselves. Of course, you can also rent an apartment normally. In the case of students, the landlord usually requires a parental guarantee, and sometimes also a declaration of income. Without a guarantee from your parents, however, you will find it difficult to find an apartment in a new city/abroad.
You should definitely watch out for fraud or excessive renting. Especially if you are not yet fluent in the national language, it can happen that you quickly get ripped off during negotiations. If you are unsure, seek help from someone who is confident in the local language. You should be particularly careful with dubious inquiries that require you to transfer money to any accounts abroad before signing a contract.
You should also be careful with offers that differ greatly from the average rental prices in the city. If you are offered a 40m² apartment in the heart of Paris for 400 euros on a property website, you should be careful. The usual rents at this size are in the four-digit range. Just take a look around a few pages in advance and find out about the usual square meter prices in the location that is of interest to you.
Room in student hall
As in Germany, there are also student residences abroad where students can rent a furnished room at comparatively low prices.
Many universities offer Erasmus students a place in a student residence. Find out in advance whether your host university offers this service.
Similar to flat shares, rooms in student dormitories have the advantage that you can get in touch with other students relatively quickly. Since the rooms are furnished and the kitchens equipped, you can easily move in with one or two suitcases.
Rooms in student dormitories are ideal for those students who like to be around a lot and also like to party in the evening. However, if you go to bed early or want to spend the evenings studying, there is usually no place in student residences. Evening beer rounds or dormitory parties are the order of the day. This can be very pleasant, especially at the beginning of a degree, but it can be extremely exhausting, especially in the exam phase or when you are currently doing difficult housework.
Help for Erasmus scholarship holders
Regardless of which type of accommodation you choose, it is not easy to search abroad on your own. Find out in advance whether there are any offers of help from the respective host university.
Some universities offer a network between former and future scholarship holders who pass on rooms or apartments to one another. Take advantage of the offer if there is one. There are also helpful offers on Facebook for stays abroad, groups in which exchange takes place and helpful tips on free rooms.
In any case, remember to sublet your room or apartment in your hometown in good time. Provided, of course, that you intend to return there after your stay abroad.
Study Abroad Guide: What else do you need to consider?
When you’ve found a host university, funding, and accommodation, the most important points are already done. However, there are still a few small things that should be done sooner rather than later.
Find out in advance from your health insurance company whether you are insured in the country in which you are planning your stay. The so-called EHIC, the European health insurance card, is contained on the back of German insurance chip cards. This applies in all EU countries, such as Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia.
If you are traveling with Erasmus, you are usually on the safe side. If you are staying outside the EU and partner countries, you must take out international insurance. Address it early on. Traveling uninsured can quickly push you to your financial limits. You can never tell when something will happen to you.
In any case, it is advisable to open an account in the country in which you plan to stay. This simplifies many processes and avoids unnecessary costs for transactions and withdrawing money.
Apply for a visa
It has already been mentioned several times: the visa, which is absolutely necessary in non-EU countries for a study stay. The cost of a visa varies greatly depending on the destination. There are usually special student visas that are tailored to the needs of students. Find out more from the relevant embassy.
Study Abroad Guide: Exceptional Cases
For many students, a stay abroad during their studies is a dream that they absolutely want to fulfill. Even for the average student, however, a stay abroad is associated with a lot of stress and organization. If there are additionally aggravating living conditions, the dream seems to move into the unattainable distance. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For every situation there are specific grants that students can take advantage of.
Study Abroad Guide: Going abroad with a child
Studying with a child means multiple burdens for young parents. Good time management, stress resistance and sufficient financial support are the prerequisites for such a project to succeed. But it is not impossible, just as it is not to go abroad with a child.
If you go abroad with a child, you should think carefully about where you are going. Not only your own preferences, but also the needs of the child are decisive when considering. Do you want to go to a big city with a child, or would you prefer to go to a small town or a rural area?
Childcare offers vary greatly from country to country. You should also find out more about this in advance. There are also universities that provide childcare especially for their students with children. It is best to find out from your home university which of the partner universities offer a child-friendly infrastructure.
A stay abroad is also not recommended for children of any age. The child should be out of the phase in which round-the-clock care by the parents is necessary. Otherwise it will be difficult for you to really use your stay effectively.
If the child is already of an age at which school is compulsory, it must be clarified in advance where and whether they can go to school abroad. In this case, it is essential for the child to acquire language skills in advance.
If the child is six years or older, they will need their own passport, which must be applied for in advance. When staying outside the EU, it must also be clarified whether the visa applied for is also valid for the child.
If you are studying abroad, you are usually still entitled to child benefit. In addition, financial aid is available for parents with children. For more information, you should contact the family office at your home university early on.
Study Abroad Guide: Going abroad with a handicap
It is now no longer a problem to study with a disability or chronic illness. Accessibility, the same disadvantages during admission and during your studies as well as financial support are provided.
The illness does not have to stand in the way of a stay abroad. Find out in advance directly at your university about the offers of the respective partner universities. The offers can vary depending on the country and university.
You can find more information about a stay abroad with a handicap on relevant government websites.
Study Abroad Checklist: Now we’re ready to go
With the following checklist you can check once again whether you have really thought of everything when planning your stay abroad:
- Secure a place at a university (at a partner university or as a free mover)
- Clarify financing: scholarship, savings abroad
- book a flight
- Find an apartment / room
- Sublet your own apartment / room
- Check or apply for international insurance
- Apply for a passport (outside the EU)
- Apply for a visa (outside the EU)
- Apply for a work permit (outside the EU)
Nothing stands in the way of your stay abroad.
We hope this study abroad guide helps! Share with us your experiences on Studying abroad and we shall be glad!