Planning is everything

Organizing a stay abroad

Spending time abroad requires a great many planning steps and, above all, throws up numerous questions. Below, we would like to point out a few aspects that you will need to consider when planning your stay abroad.

What you need to consider when planning

A good time for bachelor’s students to spend time abroad would be their fourth, fifth or sixth semester, while master’s students would be better off going in their second or third semester. Internships abroad can be undertaken whenever you like – before, during and even after your studies – with no restrictions on timing.

To avoid missing any application deadlines, we recommend starting your research about a year before you plan to go abroad. The first step is to get in touch with the International Office. Make an appointment with the Study Abroad Advisory Service for an initial discussion to find out about the many various options for studying or doing an internship in another country. Alternatively, you can take part in one of our information webinars to get an initial overview of the study programs and funding options available.

The University of Bonn has numerous partners in other European countries and further afield. Find out about exchange programs in our Mobility-Online search portal.

Since both tuition fees and living expenses vary from country to country, it is not possible to make a one-size-fits-all statement about the cost of studying abroad. As well as being determined by the universities themselves, for instance, tuition fees also often depend on the individual country (e.g. another EU country or a country outside Europe), the status of the university (private or public) and the degree program in question.

The DAAD’s Country Pages provide detailed information about living expenses and tuition fees as well as the various types of higher education institution and degree programs available and questions about visas and finding accommodation.

One aim of any study visit abroad is to get course work and exams completed abroad credited toward your degree program at the University of Bonn.

Before you go abroad, ask your department about the relevant criteria and documents you will need in order to get your achievements recognized (there is no standard rule for who will be responsible for this, so contact your degree program manager, Erasmus departmental coordinator or examination office).

You should also consider your own safety and security when planning a stay abroad. We have therefore put together a few tips from the German Federal Foreign Office below so that you know who you can contact in an emergency.

Information from the Federal Foreign Office

A stay abroad does not just exist in isolation. Rather, it forms an integral part of various preparatory and follow-up measures designed to improve and reinforce your intercultural skills and promote exchange and dialogue across the board. The University of Bonn offers you a whole range of courses that you can choose from and that, naturally, are also available to students who are not planning a stay abroad themselves but who are welcome to take part in our international activities.

Good foreign language skills are essential to give yourself the best possible preparation for a stay abroad. It goes without saying that students who are not planning a stay abroad can also take part in our courses and gain key qualifications for their studies and for getting on the career ladder further down the line.

Language courses

The University of Bonn offers a range of free language courses for students. These are provided by:

Needless to say, you can also pay for language courses organized by external providers, such as the extensive range offered by the Adult Education Center Bonn.

As well as straightforward language courses, the University of Bonn also offers so-called language tandems, which pair up native speakers of different languages.

The University of Bonn’s language portal lets you make a targeted search for specific language courses.

Language certificates

If you are looking to study abroad, you will usually have to provide evidence of a sufficient grasp of the relevant local language or language of instruction. Although there are a whole host of common language certificates, the decision as to what proof you will need to provide in your specific case will always be made by the corresponding partner university abroad. The cost of the various language certificates and how long each will take to complete will also vary. You can find an overview of the various language certificates (PDF) here.

Scholarships for language courses abroad

The PROMOS program awards students and doctoral students scholarships for intensive language courses (except English) at foreign universities (preferential treatment is given to Eastern European and Asian languages as well as Portuguese).

The DAAD scholarship database lists scholarships for other specific language courses.

Even if you will be spending some time abroad, you will need to re-register at the University of Bonn as usual by paying your semester fee.

Taking a leave of absence during your study visit abroad is possible as a basic principle but is not always recommended. Please note that you will not be able to take any examinations at the University of Bonn during a leave of absence. This does not affect any credit you will obtain for study achievements abroad, which will usually be granted in the term following your stay abroad.

Submit your application for a leave of absence to the Student Registry so that the time you spend abroad is not counted toward your total period of study (the application deadline for the winter semester is November 15 and for the summer semester May 15). You will then only need to pay a much lower semester fee.

If you are not considering a leave of absence, you can be reimbursed for the cost of your student transit pass (pro rata) provided that you will be abroad for at least three months. You can find out more from the General Students’ Committee (AStA) (the application deadline for the winter semester is November 10 and for the summer semester May 10).

Spending time abroad with a child or children often poses organizational challenges for students. The Office of Family Services at the University of Bonn can offer parents who are students (or doctoral students) expert support with planning and undertaking a stay abroad.

Besides organizational issues, financial aspects also play a major role. The Erasmus Programme and the International BAföG with additional family allowance provide extra funding options.

For people with disabilities, planning a stay abroad is perfectly feasible with the right support. While the International Office will give you basic information about the various forms of stay abroad, partner universities and organizational tips, the Representative for Students with Disabilities or Chronic Illnesses at the University of Bonn is on hand to help you incorporate your specific needs into the planning process.

Dedicated funding is available from e.g. the Erasmus Programme or the DAAD.


Avatar Scharf

Hannah Scharf

Study abroad advisory


Poppelsdorfer Allee 53

53115 Bonn (Germany)

Office hours

Please make an appointment via eCampus

  • Tuesdays (in person)
    10:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Thursdays (phone or zoom)
    01:30 pm - 04:00 pm

  • and by appointment
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