Common Questions about Study Abroad Worldwide
Orientation & Preparation
How far ahead do I need to plan my stay?
If you are thinking about studying abroad, you should start planning no later than a year in advance. The success of a stay abroad depends on good preparation. Find out about application deadlines for programs and scholarships. Make note that independently organizing your stay is part of the abroad experience and self-initiative.
Where can I find information about semesters abroad and partner universities?
Group information sessions are regularly offered during the semester. Students from the partner universities or who have been abroad there are present:
The country coordinators in the International Office are available for questions after the general group information sessions.
Please get information about cooperations with your faculty from the faculty's study abroad advisor.
You can temporarily find experience reports from students who have studied abroad here.
At which partner universities can I study my course of study?
You can see an an overview of the faculties on the page Partner Universities Worldwide. Check the homepage of your desired university for more detailed information.
Do I have to earn a certain number of credit points while abroad?
Generally there is no minimum requirement for the number of credit points students must earn while studying abroad. Sometimes there are students who only take language or culture classes or classes that interested them outside of their disciplines. However, some partner universities, especially in the USA, require a minimum number of credits to be reached per semester. There you need to inform yourself individually.
Can I study abroad during my Bachelor studies?
Under the individual RWTHworldwide: Partner Universities you will find information about what exchanges are possible for which degree program: Bachelor, Master, or doctoral studies.
Can I also conduct research at the partner university?
Stays abroad at partner universities primarily refer to studies, that is lectures and seminars. At some partner universities or research institutes, only a research stay is possible. The country coordinators will gladly contact the partner university for you to find the appropriate information.
Where can I find experience reports?
You can find experience reports from RWTH Aachen students here.
How can I finance my stay abroad?
Cost and financing possibilities play a deciding role in the decision of where to study abroad. You can find information about this topic on the page Financing Study Abroad as well as the respective partner university webpages.
What do I do if RWTH Aachen does not have a partnership in a certain country?
As a so called freemover, you have the possiblity of going to a university, with which RWTH Aachen does not have a partnership. You independently organize your stay and are resonsible for the tuition fees at the host university.
When do I need to apply?
You apply with the RWTH Aachen International Office for partnerships at the university level, and with the faculty for faculty partnerships. The deadlines may vary.
The application deadline in the International Office is December 15 of the previous year for both the winter and the summer semester. Applications for Latin America can be submitted by December 15 or August 15 each year. Applications for a stay in the following summer semester for a small number of open spots with other university partnerships can be submitted by August 15.
If, for example, you plan to study abroad winter semester 2017/18, or summer semester 2018, you must submit your application by December 15, 2016.
Can I apply for multiple universities?
Principally yes. You can submit a total of four applications.
You can apply to partner universities outside of Europe via the International Office Application portal. Additionally, you can apply for an ERASMUS spot or to partner universities of your faculty.
In case that your application is approved by the selection committee, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to let us know whether you intend to accept the offer.
According to the application requirements, applicants must be in their third university semester or higher. Does this apply to Master’s students as well?
No, this applies to Bachelor‘s students only. Master‘s students can apply from the 1st semester onwards. The only exception is Latin America, where applications are already admissible in the second semester at university.
How high are the chances of being accepted to the desired university?
Your chances depend on the number of applicants and on the university, since the number of available spots varies. Some countries are more popular than others. We recommend applying for more than one university.
The periods of study or terms at my host institution differ from those at RWTH – it has trimesters and quadrimesters. Which semester do I have to name in my application?
In the application portal, you can only select winter or summer semester. Please select the term where the most time of your study abroad falls.
An example: You will be studying abroad from August to December. The winter semester at RWTH runs from October to March. Thus three months of your stay abroad are during the winter term, and only two in the summer term. You would therefore select winter semester in your online application.
What language do the application documents need to be in?
The application documents should be in English for all countries outside of Latin America.
Applications for partner universities in Latin America must initially be in German. Some universities in Latin America require application documents in the native language. For this reason it is possible that the documents will need to be redone in the native language after you are nominated.
What is the best type and format for my CV?
You can choose whether to follow the European or American type of CV and whether to include a photo or not. However, applications to the Internation Office the CV must be written in English.
Please note: The CV is one of the documents that in most cases must be submitted to the host university as well, even if you have been nominated by the International Office for a stay at the partner institution. Thus you save time and work when you prepare a CV that you can use later on as well. A number of universities in Latin America and Russia require you to provide application documents in the langugage of the host country. Thus it is possible that in case of nomination, you must prepare your documents in the langugae of the country as well.
What language skills do I need to have?
For English-language programs, proof of language proficiency through the Abitur / secondary school certificate, that is at least five to six years of regular English classes, is sufficient. After your nomination, the host university may require a further language certificate, for example the TOEFL test or a certificate from the RWTH Language Center. This must then be submitted as soon as possible.
Language certificates for other languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian can be obtained by taking a language test at the RWTH Language Center.
Please note: If you are participating in a language course at the time of application, the current confirmation of participation or a relevant screenshot is sufficient proof of the required level.
Certificates from other language courses are also generally recognized.
Native speakers can prove their language skills by obtaining a certificate from a secondary school in their home country or by taking a language test.
Students who would like to participate in an exchange with a Brazilian university, must submit proof of Portuguese language skills corresponding to level A2 at the time of application. By the time they are nominated at the partner university - typically in October - students must be able to submit proof that they have completed level B1.
How do I provide proof of my language skills?
The Abitur certificate is sufficient proof for programs in English. After your selection by the RWTH Aachen International Office, it is possible additional proof of language skills, the TOEFL test, will be required by the partner university. This must be submitted as soon as possible.
Proof of language skills for other languages such as Spanish or Russian can be acquired with a language test at the Language Center. Certificates from other language courses are typically accepted.
Are my application documents passed on to PROMOS if I select the corresponding option in the application form?
Yes, if you check this option, your documents will be automatically passed on to the person responsible for the PROMOS scholarship.
What is the necessary GPA for a successful application?
To apply with the International Office you don't need a particular GPA score.
Some partner univerisites require proof of good to very good academic performance.
Do I need a recommendation letter?
A recommendation letter is not necessary when submitting your application to the International Office. If it is necessary in order to be nominated for the partner university, you will be informed by the International Office after the selection. Recommendation letters must be written in English.
What is the application and selection process?
The application along will all relevant documents must be submitted exclusively online before the application deadline. After being selected by the selection committee, you will be nominated at the partner university, who ultimately determines your acceptance. Some universities offer an online application as well. The partner university reviews your application and sends your acceptance.
When do I find out about the result?
You will likely be notified of the selection results not later than ten weeks after the end of application period. Please refrain from inquiries regarding the state of the procedure before.
Is there a list of courses at the partner institution whose completion is recognized by RWTH?
The Board of Examiners of your RWTH course of study decide on whether or not the coursework and assessments taken at the host institution are recognized and count towards your degree at RWTH. To learn about the details, please contact the study abroad / international relations coordinators of your faculty or department. RWTH’s recommendations concerning the conversion of grades can be found at Recalculation of Grades Earned for Studies and Exams Abroad.
Information about the Country
Where can I find information about the country and the education system?
The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD for short, has put together academic guides for many countires that offer a good read as an introduction to study abroad. Aside from an introduction to the university system of the respective country, the DAAD academic guides offer addresses of universities and practical tips for planning your stay.
Student Representative Councils
As self-governing student institutions, the student representative councils can provide concrete experiences on the preparation for a stay abroad. They often know students who have completed a stay abroad and are ready to share their knowledge with others.
You can find information about arrival and residency conditions for the host country on its embassies webpages. There is also information available from cultural institutes from the host country that could be relevant to study abroad.
How high is the cost of living in the host country?
This differs greatly from country to country. You can get informatin about the cost of living in the host country from the experience reports of past exchange students.
After Selection by the International Office
What do I need to do if I want to take a language course?
Please register online with the Language Center for the respective language course. Pay attention to registration deadlines.
Do I need a medical evaluation?
If your host university requires a medical evaluation, contact the country coordinator at the International Office. They will arrange the evaluation through the University Medical Center.
Before the Departure
Do I stay enrolled at RWTH Aachen during my stay abroad? Is a leave of absence possible?
An official leave of absence during your stay abroad has the following advantages:
- The fee for the social contribution is smaller for the time of your leave of absence.
- The so called mobilty fee, that is the fee for the semester ticket, is automatically waived. The core semesters during your leave of absence do not count.
Should you foresee a leave of absence, it is possible to be reimbursed for the mobility fee. You can get the application from the General Students' Committee. Please make sure you know the deadline for turning in the application.
A disadvantage of taking a leave of absence is that it may not be possible to complete exams if you come back from abroad early. Please clarify this with your faculty.
Do I need health insurance for abroad?
Health insurance for abroad and insurance protection are mandatory in Germany.
German health insurance is sufficient if you are studying in the European Union. You must request form E 128 from the health insurance company and submit it, in the case of illness abroad. Your health insurance provider can give you more information. You should look into your own health insurance's services abroad before travelling outside of the EU.
Private liability insurance is highly recommended
Where can I find information about visa requirements in the host country?
You should contact the embassay or consulate of the host country early on to find out about the necessity and modalities of applying for a visa. Please note that you must apply for a student visa as an exchange student. It generally is not possible to turn a tourist visa into a student visa abroad.
Apply for a passport early on as well, since a passport number is often required for admission to non-European universities. Important: Often your passport must be at least three to six months valid after leaving the host country, in order to apply for a visa.
How can I find housing in my host country?
A majority of students find a room with the help of the partner university. Pay attention to registration deadlines. Rooms are often offered in student dorms, and in Latin America with host families.
If this is not possible, look at the local housing market.
Which vaccinations are necessary?
The Federal Foreign Office can provide information on necessary and country specific vaccinations.
At the Partner University
Can I extend or shorten my stay at the partner university?
It is possible to extend or shorten your stay. Please contact the country coordinator in the International Office before you talk to the partner university.
How can I let my grades for studies or exams abroad get validated?
For questions of recognition, please contact your faculty and the examination office. General information can be found here.