A-Z of Planning a Stay Abroad
Found a place to study? Figured out some good options to apply for funding? Then you have taken some important steps toward organising your semester abroad. But you are not done yet! There are still a few important things to get you off to a good start.
Find out more about your next steps here and on the testimonials website.
Ask your contact person at your faculty about any prerequisites for getting recognition for credits earned abroad. The Learning Agreement is a very important part of this. The Learning Agreement outlines your study programme abroad and the provisions for the formal recognition of learning outcomes at your home university. The Learning Agreement must be signed and accepted by all parties involved: Student, supervisors in Göttingen and at the host university. In exchange programmes such as Erasmus+ or the Global Exchange Programme, it is a mandatory document.
After the stay abroad, the host university issues a formal certificate of notes (grades), scope and content of the courses and assessment modalities (Transcript of Records). The Transcript of Records is the basis of recognition. Here you can find more information contacts and procedures in the faculties as well as an overview of previously recognised courses from abroad.
It is possible to take a leave of absence for the duration of the time abroad. Advantages: The semester abroad is not counted against the duration of studies and the semester fee is reduced or even waived under certain conditions. The university student status is retained during this period. If the stay abroad is required to fulfil the regulations of a degree programme, a leave of absence is not possible, but a waiver of the semester fee may be possible. You can find more information under Leave of Absence.
In many countries, it is almost a basic requirement to have a credit card, eg to pay security deposits or fees. Find out about your destination country and available credit card providers as early as possible. Also check whether you will have access to your German bank account from abroad.
Financial planning tip: Be sure to calculate enough for the first few weeks of your stay (e.g. for the purchase of a means of transport, mobile phone cards).
Vaccinations for certain stays abroad need to be planned well in advance, sometimes several months before the start of the trip. More information can be found on the German Federal Foreign Office website and via the weekly tropical medicine or general vaccination consultation of the Institute for Medical Microbiology at the University Medical Center of Göttingen.
Some health insurance companies may offer information about medical care in the destination country. Take advantage of this and inform yourself before the start of your planned stay.
If dealing with a chronic illness, find out as early as possible what additional arrangements should be made.
Finding your way around in a different environment, being able to (re)act appropriately, dealing with uncertain situations – a stay abroad is full of challenges. The better you prepare, the easier it will be to master these challenges. Familiarise yourself with the country and its people, as well as your own openness and ability to cope at an early stage:
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is recognised all over the world as a student ID, which offers advantages and benefits.
Travelling consumes resources. How much is often up to the traveller. Help shape the cost for the environment – by conscious choices for transportation or by voluntarily offsetting the CO2 emissions generated by air travel, for example with Atmosfair.
Information regarding the Coronavirus can be found on the Coronavirus information page of the University of Göttingen and the DAAD website.
The Federal Foreign Office provides information on current travel warnings and the safety situation in the country of your stay. Before you start your journey, sign up for the ELEFAND crisis prevention list (for German citizens). It is also a good idea to bring copies of your travel and identity documents with you or store them online. You should also make note of essential (emergency) telephone numbers and contact details.
Investing time in good language preparation pays off quickly. After all, making friends, finding your way around in a new environment and, above all, the success of your studies or your internship depend to a large extent on your language skills.The central point of contact for acquiring and deepening language skills is the Central Institution for Languages and Key Qualifications (ZESS) at Göttingen University.
Often, students from other disciplines can also participate in the language courses of the philological subjects at Göttingen University – this is particularly useful for languages that are not offered as standard at the ZESS.
For a successful application for a study place abroad or a grant, you must also be able to prove your language competence. ZESS offers some options for you here:
Before you go abroad, make sure that you have sufficient insurance coverage for the period of your stay. Insurance companies offer information and advice on this topic. Within the European Union, German insurance policies are typically effective. Your insurance card is proof of your German health insurance, which must be marked “European Health Insurance Card” on the back. We also strongly recommend that you take out additional health insurance abroad, eg, to cover the costs of repatriation. German insurance policies are usually not accepted outside of the European Union. Proof of appropriate insurance coverage must be provided when applying for a visa or enrolling at a foreign university.
In addition to health insurance, you should also take out accident and liability insurance. Liability, accident and health insurance are often offered as a package (for example, by DAAD).
Bring written confirmation of your insurance coverage with you (in English, if possible). Special regulations apply to medical and medical-related degree programmes, especially with respect to liability insurance.
As a student or intern, you may need a visa to enter all non-European countries including, since 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom. Contact the appropriate embassy or consular office as early as possible for information and to apply. It is not often possible to change your visa status after you have entered the country. You can find an overview of embassies and consulates here.
Students at the University of Göttingen who do not have EU citizenship should be sure to inform themselves well in advance of the visa and legal residency criteria of the host country.
Many partner universities offer exchange students rooms to rent in a residence hall. Information on this can be obtained from the host university. Student testimonials are another good source of information.
The Accommodation Service of Göttingen International offers assistance with subletting out their place, for students who are planning a stay abroad.
Dr. Maren Büttner
South Africa, China, Latin America, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan
India (from winter semester 2022/23)