The USA and Canada are countries of focus in RWTH's internationalization strategy. Collaboration with North American universities and research institutions plays a prominent role.
General Information about Canada
You can find general information about Canada on the following pages:
- Canadian Embassy in Germany (does not have a visa and immigration department)
- Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
- German Consulates – German Embassay in Canada
- Federal Foreign Office
Information about Studies in Canada
You can find general tips about internships abroad on the RWTH pages Internships Abroad. On the DAAD pages you can also find a detailed overview of the allocation and funding possibilities for internships abroad. The Career Center sometimes publishes internship offers for Canada.
The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD for short, has a information center in Toronto, where you can find additional tips.
The Deutsch-Kanadische Industrie- und Handelskammer also allocates internships.
Research funding organizations include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Kanada.
The visa department of the Canadian Embassy in Austria is responsible for processing visa applications for individuals with German citizenship or living in Germany.
You need English skills at an atleast BI level for your stay in Canada.
Detailed Information about Required Language Skills
I need at least level B1 in English - what does this mean? What is CEFR?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR, is the product of over twenty years of research and exactly what the name implies – a frame of reference.
The CEFR describes foreign language proficiency at six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) and also defines three plus levels (A2+, B1+, B2+). This scheme makes it possible to compare examinations across languages and national boundaries.
For more information, visit the Council of Europe website.
Electronic Version of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, assessment (pdf).
What is the TOEFL? What is the IELTS? Do I need a score?
The Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL, and International English Language Testing System, IELTS, are two standardized assessments for determining English language proficiency.
Virtually all US academic institutions will require an individual to document her/his English ability in order to satisfy admissions requirements. These requirements vary greatly by institution and may be adjusted over time.
Within an institution, it may also be the case that a minimum requirement will be program- and level specific. For example, a graduate student in an industrial engineering program may have to submit proof of a higher language level than an undergraduate student studying in a physics program.
How does a CEFR level compare to a TOEFL score?
Educational Testing Service, ETS, the developers of the TOEFL, carried out a study with a panel of 23 experts from 16 European countries and was able to draw connections between the TOEFL and CEFR.
Recommended TOEFL score ranges and the minimum score for each modality (reading, listening, speaking, writing) at each CEFR proficiency level have been reported and can be viewed here: Mapping TOEFL iBT on the Common European Framework of Reference.
Do I need a standardized assessment score?
If you are undertaking an exchange term to an RWTH partner institution and will be following coursework, you may very well need to sit for a standardized assessment and submit a score in order to qualify for admission; however, the time at which you would need to do this is somewhat flexible.
You do not need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score at the time you submit an application to the International Office of the RWTH, that is January 15 or August 15 - other documents will allow you to substantiate your English skills.
If your application is favorably considered and you receive a nomination for the coming academic year, you would be informed of your next steps and whether a partner university will require a standardized test score. It might be the case that a university is willing to accept a certificate from the RWTH Language Center or statement written on your behalf in order to satisfy their admissions criteria.
If you are undertaking an exchange term to pursue research or work on a thesis, you likely will not be required to submit formal proof of language ability. The decision to admit you for research work is often at the discretion of your would-be supervisor or sponsoring institute. More or less: if this person or team is content with your language ability, you’re in.
If you are undertaking an exchange term and organizing it on your own, that is not going abroad within the framework of a partner exchange, you likely will need to sit for a standardized assessment.
Again, every institution treats the subject differently, so you would be well served to research this topic and find out the admissions criteria and language proficiency requirements of your target colleges/universities.
You should also note deadlines by which certification of language proficiency must be met as well as how these items must be submitted (Should they be ordered and sent directly by the testing service? Are originals required or will copies suffice? Is it sufficient to send an electronic version, then have an original verified upon arrival in the US?).
On a positive note, many institutions are willing to exempt individuals who have completed coursework in an English-speaking environment or studied within a certain academic framework (our Scandinavian neighbors often fall into this category).
Be sure to explore a university’s site and, if in doubt, contact one of their admissions counselors.
Terms that may guide your search: language proficiency standards, English language requirement, English proficiency waiver, language proficiency exemption, language assessment battery.
General points about standardized language exams
Standardized exams vary in cost and may carry additional fees to have official score reports sent to an institution or forwarded at a later point in time.
Various study guides and preparation materials may be purchased, though many sample questions are available at no charge on the websites of the administering companies.
It may be a worthwhile investment to sit for a standardized language assessment, provided that you are planning a stay abroad within the coming months/years; one advantage of sitting for an exam at an early stage in your preparation is that you can control its timing. For example schedule for a weekend when you have few other academic responsibilities).
Note that exam scores tend to be reported for a fixed period of time. For example two years from the date of testing.
Pressed for time in sitting for a standardized exam? Living in NRW and having a semester ticket, you should absolutely broaden your search of testing facilities! Just because there isn’t an upcoming exam in Aachen doesn’t mean there isn’t an offering in, say, Cologne or Essen. Make use of the search functions on assessment company sites and cross-check offerings with area language centers.
You have the opportunity to meet Canadian exchange students within the framework of the BeBuddy Program.
Each summer, between 40 and 50 students from US and Canadian universities, including RWTH Aachen partners, come to Aachen within the framework of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, UROP, for a ten-week research stay that includes German language study and cultural programming.
If you’re considering an exchange to the US, what better resource than a current student from a stateside university, where you may be enrolling next year?
Canada and Canadian Culture in Germany