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BAföG: study abroad

Travel is well-known and a longer study or work-related stay abroad offers a very special opportunity. In the age of globalization, foreign language skills are important.

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Score points with intercultural competences

With intercultural competences one can at the Casting you can show your flexibility and mobility to your future employer. Meanwhile, foreign experience is considered almost natural.

Many students want to study, according to a social survey of the German Student Union, especially in the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Austria and France. No wonder - these are the countries with which, perhaps due to the cultural similarities or language skills from the school relatively few points of friction can be expected. Far down in the favor of the students are the Eastern European or so-called developing countries. But if you have such a rather exotic stay abroad in your resume, you certainly have advantages over other applicants.

Alternatives to studying

Incidentally, you can not only study abroad, but also study languages, work as an AuPair, work (for example during the holidays) or work there as part of one of the countless international programs, a work camp, a Voluntary Social or Ecological Year.

It should be noted, however: A stay abroad costs time and money. For example, you pay travel and double rental costs, you may have loss of earnings if you do not study or internship or just for less money besides. And. The more exotic the goal, the more complex and expensive the organization.

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Many students and interested parties are therefore unsafe financed by a stay abroad - there are numerous funding opportunities and programs, of which the foreign BAföG is only one.

Planning your stay abroad: 4 tips

If you want to study abroad, you have a lot to plan, organize and apply for - it depends on which country you want to study in, whether you are participating in a program like Erasmus / Socrates for a few months or several years in the country Want to study abroad. When planning, for example, you should consider the higher education system of your host country:

  1. Maybe there are strict admission procedures, maybe you have to pay tuition fees?
  2. And are German study achievements abroad or foreign achievements recognized here?
  3. In addition, you must clarify financial and insurance issues and should prepare thoroughly - for example, by learning or improving the foreign language.
  4. Finally: If you apply directly to a foreign university (attention: please note formalities and deadlines!), Must be measured with the same degree as the native applicants, including in terms of language skills. Since you will not do all that overnight, you should start planning in good time.

Here is a small recommendation on the organizational process has been put together - if you participate in a program or want to study abroad, your organization process may look different:

Guidelines for planning an international stay

Minus one and a half years:

  • Knowing which country you want and inform yourself about culture, language, business, politics, education and study opportunities
  • Contact your university for programs / partnerships with foreign universities, companies / organizations for internships
  • Application and admission requirements for studies / programs / internships
  • For self-organization contact directly with the foreign university / company

Minus one quarter Year:

  • Acquire or improve your language skills, as they often have to prove that they are applying for programs or enrolling abroad - they often take a language test.
  • To inquire exactly in Germany and abroad, which benefits are recognized - depending on subject and university, there are significant differences!
  • To take an expert opinion if this is necessary for the application

Minus one year:

  • Begin to gather documents (health insurance or language certificates, certificate translations, etc.)
  • Find enrollment dates - depending on the country, study places are awarded directly or via central offices via the university.
  • If you plan financing and organization through a program: Apply at the latest at this point

Minus six months:

  • Foreign BAföG, so that you get the money in time.

Minus a quarter of a year

  • Check validity of passport / ID card
  • Possibly. Apply for visa application at Embassy / Consulate
  • (if necessary) apply for an international driving license
  • necessary medical advice / vaccinations
  • Your arrival and your apartment / your room abroad
  • In Germany apartment to cancel / intermate
  • Stay in the student secretariat for the duration of the stay abroad

When and where to apply the BAföG application?

You should submit your BAföG application at least six months prior to your stay abroad. This advance is necessary, which grind the mills of the bureaucracy here very slowly - who comes too late, there is a risk abroad to receive no or very late payments. Because: Your local BAföG office of your university location in Germany does not simply pay the BAföG.

Attention: If you want to go abroad during the last semesters of your studies, you will only receive BAföG if your stay abroad is of particular importance for your studies.

The application will not be submitted to the office of your own university but to a BAföG office responsible for your destination country. These are distributed all over Germany - for the most important countries, the offices were put together here:

Overview of the most important international BAföG offices

Africa or Oceania: Studentenwerk Frankfurt / Oder Office for Education Funding Paul-Feldner-Str. 8 15230 Frankfurt / Oder Tel. 0335 / 5650 922 Fax. 0335 / 5650 999 eMail: bafoeg@studentenwerk-frankfurt.de

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Cyprus, Australia: Studentenwerk Marburg Erlenring Training Office 5 35037 Marburg Tel. 06421 / 296 - 203 o. - 204 Fax: 06421 - 15761 eMail: schulzek@mailer.uni-marburg.de

America (except the USA and Canada): Senator for Education, Science, the Arts and Sports State Office for Educational Support Rembertiring 8 - 12 28195 Bremen Tel. 0421 / 361 - 4995 o. - 6298 o. - 4797 Fax: 0421 / 361 - 15543 Visiting address: Emil-Waldmann-Str. 3, 28195 Bremen

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Belarus Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau Office for Educational Support Postfach 10 32 09001 Chemnitz Tel. 0371 / 5628 -215 or -450 Fax: 0371 / 5628 - 455 eMail: auslands.bafoeg@swcz.smwk.sachsen.de

Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Asia (with the exception of the parts of Turkey and except Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan): Region Hannover Team 40.04 - Hildesheimer Straße Training Support 20 30169 Hannover Tel. 0511 / 616 - 22252 o. - 22253 o. - 22554 Fax: 0511 / 616 - 1123205 eMail: bafoeg@region-hannover.de

Denmark, Iceland, Norway: Studentenwerk Schleswig-Holstein Funding Administration Westring 385 24118 Kiel Tel. 0431 / 8816 - 0 Fax: 0431 / - 8816 204 eMail: Studentenwerk.sh@t-online.de

Finland: Studentenwerk Halle Amt für Ausbildungsförderung W.-Langenbeck-Str. 5 06120 Halle / Saale Phone 0345 / 6847 - 113 Fax: 0345 / 6847 - 202 eMail: bafoeg@studentenwerk-halle.de

France District administration Mainz-Bingen Office for training support Postfach 13 55 55206 Ingelheim Tel. 06132 / 787- 0 Fax: 06132 / 787360 eMail: kreisverwaltung@mainz-bingen.de

Great Britain, Ireland, Turkey District Government of Cologne Training grant Theaterplatz 14 52062 Aachen Tel. 0241 / 455 02 Fax: 0241 / 455 300 eMail: bafoeg@bezreg-koeln.nrw.de

Canada: Studentenwerk Erfurt-Ilmenau PO Box 10 16 17 99016 Erfurt Tel. 0431 / 8816 - 0 Fax: 0431 - 8816 204 eMail: swe-i@swe.uni-erfurt.de Visiting address: Nordhäuser Straße 63, 99089 Erfurt

Italy / Vatican City: Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf District Office of Berlin Office for Training Support - International Office - 10617 Berlin Tel. 030/9029 - 10 Fax. 030/9029 - 17593 eMail: bafoegitalien@charlottenburg-wilmersdorf.de Visiting address: Heerstraße 12 / 14, 14052 Berlin

Malta, Portugal: University of Saarland Office for Educational Support Studentenhaus Universitätsgelände Construction 28 66123 Saarbrücken Tel. 0681 / 302 - 4992 Fax: 0681 / 302 - 4993 eMail: bafoeg-amt@stw.uni-sb.de

Austria: City of Munich School and Education Department Office for Education Funding Schwanthalerstraße 40 80336 Munich Tel. 089 / 233-28653 or 233-21785 Fax. 089 / 233-24411 eMail: sch-afa@muenchen.de

Sweden: Studentenwerk Rostock Office for Training Support Auslandsamt St. Georg-Str. 104 - 107 18055 Rostock Tel. 0381 / 4592 617 Fax: 0381 / 4592 9431 eMail: auslands-bafoeg@studentenwerk-rostock.de

Switzerland / Liechtenstein: Studentenwerk Augsburg Office for the Promotion of Education Eichleitnerstr. 30 86159 Augsburg Tel. 0821 / 598 4930 Fax. 0821 / 598 4945 eMail: bafoeg@stw.uni-augsburg.de

USA: Studentenwerk Hamburg Office for Training Support BWF-Foreign Promotion Postfach 13 01 13 20101 Hamburg Tel. 040 / 41902-0 Fax: 040 / 41902 -126 eMail: bafoeg@studentenwerk.hamburg.de

Visiting address: 20146 Hamburg, Grindelallee 9

What is promoted?

BAföG you get, if you fulfill certain conditions, also for an Auslandsaufhalt. There are different types of stays abroad:

Promotion in EU countries

If you want to start your studies in a country of the European Union, you can not expect BAföG to do so, because you only get BAföG abroad if you study at least two semesters at a German university at the beginning of your studies.

But then the terms and conditions of support are the same as for a BAföG payment in Germany, ie you get the BAföG as a student, student or trainee under 30 for the first training (for additional, additional and second training only in special cases) is also a master's course, which is based on a Bachelor's degree.

The BAföG maximum rate is 585 €. An extra charge will not be paid for studying within the European Union. However, you can complete your studies in other European countries and continue to be supported. However, you must demonstrate good language skills in the target country. Your travel expenses for a one-time return) and study fees up to 4600 € per year are also included.

By the way: If you complete your studies after a long stay abroad in Germany, you can receive BAföG for the period spent abroad - even if only as an interest-bearing loan.

Promotion outside the EU

If you wish to study in a country outside the EU, the following conditions apply: You can be funded for a maximum of one year and your study credits must be at least partially recognized in Germany. However, it is a good thing that in addition to the normal BAföG rate, you receive a foreign supplement that does not have to be repaid. Even if you do not receive a BAföG in Germany or within the EU, for example because your parents earn too much, you have chances of getting a BAföG abroad due to the additional payment.

Important: You first have to prove good language skills of the target country. Also included are travel expenses (for once round trip) and tuition fees up to 4600 € per year. By the way, at the end of your studies, you can receive longer BAföG as interest-bearing loan for the period spent abroad.

Living in Germany, study or part-study abroad

Studying in Germany, studying in France and getting BAföG? In principle, as a beneficiary of BAföG from Germany or another EU country, you have the opportunity to have a full or partial study abroad, but still live in Germany. For this to happen, you must meet two conditions:

  • From your permanent residence in Germany, she must be easily accessible to the university
  • Higher education in Germany must be equivalent to that in the other country

Part-study abroad with full study in Germany

Even if you study in the interior and want to complete only part of your studies abroad - whether within the EU or not, you can get BAföG - eg in the context of a university partnership or an exchange program. You must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Your studies abroad continue your studies in Germany, so you have to be at least partially counted (for more on the recognition of your studies)
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the language (not the language of instruction!)
  • Your foreign study must last at least 3 months


If you want to enroll in a foreign university only as a guest auditor, you have bad cards: Although you circumvent the partially quite strict admission conditions (language certificates, etc.) with this status, but you can not get a foreign BAföG for this study. However, if you are enrolled at the German university during this time, you may be able to simply keep your Innlands BAföG running. Inquire with your BAföG office.

Internships abroad

Even if you want to do an internship abroad, you can get BAföG for it - and that if the internship lasts at least three months, is prescribed for the study, is recognized and you have sufficient language skills. You should definitely consider such support, because you will receive money for an internship abroad even less frequently than at home - certainly not a pleasure for the travel and housing costs, which you sometimes have to pay twice.

It is not easy, however, to find a suitable internship. You can try it on your own, eg with suitable companies abroad, German companies with foreign subsidiaries or international organizations - for example, the Foreign Trade Chambers or the Employment Agency offer assistance. Incidentally, you must also clarify legal and insurance aspects in advance. If you are lucky, your university will help you organize your internship. Organizations such as the DAAD, INWENT or AIESEC also help with information, arrange internships and, in some cases, also cover your financial expenses.

linguistic proficiency

If you want to study abroad, you often have to have good language skills when applying for funding, but also when enrolling at a foreign university. But how do you prove that? And how can you acquire these?

language certificates

If you want to apply for BAföG funding abroad, you must have good knowledge of the language of your host country. The best way to do this is through an examination certificate, which has the note "for submission to an office for training support". You can obtain such a certificate from the following places.

  • a university lecturer
  • a foreign cultural institution in Germany
  • a philologist with the faculties for the higher Lehramt
  • a sworn interpreter
  • the foreign university, which confirms that all language requirements are fulfilled.

It may also be sufficient if you have passed a recognized language test - perhaps the best known is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

However, if you meet one of the following requirements, you do not need any voice recognition:

  • They participate in a recognized exchange or scholarship program for the state concerned
  • They have earned the university entrance qualification in a double or foreign language grammar school, and they have been taught in the same language as at the training place
  • You have learned the language of your host country at a school for at least six years
  • They have at least one year of training in a country or country with the same teaching and language as at the place of study.

LanguageCourses and language learning abroad

If you want to make a language course abroad, you only need to schedule it for a few weeks. Usually, you have to organize and pay for it yourself, but there are numerous full offers on the market, which include languageCourses, accommodation and cultural ambience. If, however, the languageCourses serve a particular purpose, for example, if certain language skills are prescribed by the regulations, you can also be supported by a scholarship, such as the DAAD. This promotion is often carried out by the faculty of your university. However, paid languageCourses are also included in many exchange programs. There is no BAföG funding specifically for languageCourses.

Foreign language skills improve on the ground, but often as if by themselves - but especially if you have as much contact with locals as possible in addition to attending university or a language course. However, this sometimes sounds simpler than it is, because the differences in the language are also the differences in mentality and culture: How to express yourself correctly, if already made accusations of a politeness an insult? How do you rate openness or hospitality in some countries?

Exchange programs - alternative funding opportunities

If you want to study abroad, do your doctorate or do an internship, you will not only have the opportunity to be supported by the BAföG: Especially for stays abroad, there are numerous alternative exchange programs between institutions and foundations that partially subsidize your stay abroad. The chances of participating in it are better than in Germany - eg one of the numerous foundations that also offer alternative funding opportunities in Germany. However, the conditions are often stricter than the BAföG. The more money you get, the more bureaucracy you have to reckon with, and the more difficult it is to get a suitable scholarship. The requirements often include opinions from Professoren, social commitment and very good academic performance. But even if one calculates little chance: Sometimes left over seats must be forgiven, so you should apply in any case.

In return, you will be paid the money free of charge, ie you do not have to pay back afterwards. In addition to the financial problems and study fees, organizational hurdles such as the application to the foreign university and (often, not always!) Problems with the recognition of study achievements, sometimes the apartment search is also taken off. Most programs also prepare their participants for their professional and linguistic skills.

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

If you are a student, a graduate or a researcher (the subject matter is not relevant), the DAAD helps you organize and finance (the amounts cover nearly all costs) of several months' stays for study or research purposes, as well as language assistants or lecturers Countries around the world.

However, you have to meet a number of requirements for this: The intermediate exam / the intermediate diploma you should have already brought in your pocket and good academic performance so far, as well as good language skills of the host country and the recommendation of a Professors can prove. Depending on the program, you can apply to the international office of your university or directly to the DAAD.

Educational Exchange Service (PAD)

The PAD is a service of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, which you can usually use especially if you are studying to become a teacher and during your studies abroad as a foreign language assistant and organizes the placement of teachers at German schools abroad.

International Continuing Education and Development (INWENT)

INWENT is an organization for international personnel development, further education and dialogue and emerged from the merger of Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft eV with the German Foundation for International Development. INWENT provides programs for vocational education and training on behalf of various clients such as the Federal Government, the European Union, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, but also foundations and companies. These include, for example, languageCourses, study coaches or internships, etc. The aim is to train the participants in international and intercultural skills.

You can apply to INWENT as a student, graduate, but also as a specialist and manager - no matter which country you come from.

Programs of the European Union

The European Union also offers a variety of mobility programs, where you can usually get less money than an organization like the DAAD, but you are usually easier to get there.

Socrates / Erasmus

Socrates / Erasmus is probably the most well-known and popular mobility program of the European Union - probably because participation in it is quite easy: you can participate, no matter which subject you study and if you come from the European Union or other European countries.

However: You get as an Erasmus student up to 250 Euro a month. However, you often have to reckon with less, but you can also apply for foreign BAföG. And the subsidy is only granted in a period of between three and twelve months.

However, you should consider financial support as secondary, because other things are helpful in this program:

  • no study fees
  • fixed contacts in the target country
  • Advantages in the recognition of studies

You apply at your university, either with special program coordinators or in your department. In any case, please note the application deadlines. Information is also provided by the DAAD.


Unlike the Sokrates / Erasmus program, the Tempus program does not directly support you as a student, but rather promotes joint projects in areas such as university management, curriculum development, institution building and student mobility. The participating countries include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Mongolia, the NIS and the EU states.

If you have completed the first academic year and come from one of these countries, no matter what you are studying, you can apply for a degree or internship lasting up to three to twelve months in one of these countries. To do so, apply to the Tempus Coordinators of your university, your department or special counseling centers.

Leonardo da Vinci

Not only students and graduates have the opportunity to go abroad through the European Union, but also trainees and young workers. Leonardo is an exchange program for vocational education. You will be helped with the financing and organization of internships with about 300 Euro per month - but the amount varies according to the amount of the internship fee, because you should receive 500 Euro per month.

However, your university degree (if you have one!) Must not have been more than twelve months old, and you may not have been employed during this time. You have to complete your internship for three to twelve months in a company in another state of the European Union, one of your accession countries or Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway or one of the candidate countries. The internship must, however, be recognized in the interior. For Leonardo, apply to your department or to the appropriate coordinator of your university.

Scholarships for individual countries

Another possibility to finance a study abroad is to obtain a scholarship of the respective country. For reasons of space, only a few of the most interesting countries were mentioned here. If you are looking for information on another country, you should ask your local host country in Spe, the International Office of your university, the DAAD or perhaps your department which possibilities are available.

  1. USA: If you want to study in the US, you should contact the Fulbright Commission: As a German student, you can receive well-endowed scholarships from US universities here. You can apply each year in April / May (for residence scholarships) and in December (for travel scholarships). The scholarships are advertised at the universities. Very important are proven, good English skills.
  2. U. Kingdom: If you are particularly interested in the UK, you can find links and information about languageCourses, study at about 350 universities and funding opportunities, such as the British Embassy, ​​on the British Council website
  3. France: If you want to live like God in France: The Institute Francais offers you a wealth of information on recognition of study achievements, languageCourses, formalities, funding programs, accommodation and the French higher education system. After completing an online questionnaire you will receive information by post.
  4. Southern Europe: For example, if you want to study, study, or complete your doctorate in Goethe, you can apply for a scholarship from the Italian government through the DAAD or directly to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to the subordinate cultural departments of the Italian Messages. Spain and Portugal offer similar opportunities. Further information: Stephanie Dostal, Simone Janson, Study Guide Spain, Portugal, Italy, W. Bertelsmann Publishing House, Bielefeld 2005, ISBN: 3-7639-0415-8.

Scholarships of other institutions

There are also numerous smaller foundations that also promote domestic studies. The best known is probably the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. A comprehensive scholarship database is offered by the German Academic Exchange Service. About individual foundations, you can also inform under.

University partnerships

Many colleges and departments have partner universities abroad, with whom you have agreed direct exchange programs. In most cases, you will not be able to expect any financial support, but you will be strongly supported by the organization and you will have concrete contacts abroad. It is sensible to settle the financial component via BAföG or one of the many subsidy programs for a stay abroad in a university co-operation. Please contact your department or the Akademisches Auslandsamt of your university.

Auslands-BAföG in combination with participation in exchange programs

You certainly have the opportunity to combine BAföG with other scholarship services, be it financial benefits or benefits in kind such as the organization of your stay - yes, this option is explicitly recommended here.

Example Erasmus program of the EU: Here the financial benefits are very low, so you should definitely apply BAföG. In the case of DAAD scholarships, however, this is not possible because of the amount of financial benefits, since, of course, the scholarship is calculated as income on BAföG.

In case of doubt, please contact your scholarship holder or scholarship holder directly at your local BAföG office to inquire whether a combination of scholarship and BAföG is possible

BAföG between foreign and domestic promotion

If you have just spent part of your studies abroad, you can get BAföG up to two months before the start of your studies, so to speak, as intermediate funding. The conditions are:

  • There are no more than four months between the end of the visit to the foreign educational institution and the subsequent continuation of your studies in Germany.
  • You have submitted your application for domestic BAföG in time.

Proof of achievement and recognition of study achievements

If you want to receive BAföG for an international study, you have to regularly prove your studies. This proof is often more than difficult by different education systems, hardly comparable examination services and different grading systems. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, you should ensure that your foreign study achievements are recognized in Germany.

In theory, the recognition of study performance within the EU should be made much easier by the Bologna Process. Thus, with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) created a unified system for assessing examinations - the exams are now assessed by international credit points. The graduated courses should also guarantee the international recognition of study achievements and degrees. However, this development is still in full swing, also in Germany with its bachelor and master programs.

In practice, however, it is often the case that individual lecturers decide on the recognition according to purely subjective criteria. Participation in exchange programs and scholarships does not guarantee the recognition of your achievements. Whether your achievements are recognized can vary from university to university and from study to study.

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