FAQ on Studying Abroad with Erasmus
How do I find out which universities I can apply to?
Where can I find out who in my institute is responsible for the Erasmus program?
See the Department of International Affairs website for your Erasmus coordinator.
Where do I apply and who decides on the Erasmus places?
At Universität Hamburg, Erasmus places are offered by your faculty after you have uploaded your online application and all supporting documents to the Mobility Online database. Make sure you consult beforehand with your Erasmus coordinator.
Can I apply to more than one university?
Yes. For each application, you can name up to 5 different universities and these may be located in different countries.
Can I also apply for my second subject?
Yes, you can apply for either your major or your minor.
Can I also apply at universities that do not have any departments cooperating with Universität Hamburg?
Within the scope of the Erasmus program, you can apply only to those universities with which Universität Hamburg has a bilateral agreement. Of course, you can also go abroad as a freemover, meaning you can organize a period of study abroad on your own and apply directly to a university abroad outside the scope of a program.
My institute does not cooperate with the university I want to attend, but another department does. Can I also apply through another department?
Yes, in exceptional cases, applications from other departments are possible. However, you need to discuss this with your own and the other department in advance. The host university also has to be willing to accept your application. Students in the same department always enjoy preference.
What supporting documents do I need for my application?
As a rule, the application for an Erasmus place includes, in addition to the online application form, the following documents:
- letter of motivation
- curriculum vitae
- current transcript or grades
- preliminary course plan for the application
- proof of language skills
- proof of enrollment
Some departments also require evaluations, recommendations, or other documents. Contact your Erasmus coordinator in good time about the documents you need to submit.
What are the application deadlines for an Erasmus exchange?
The central deadline for an Erasmus application is 31 January. Complete application documents need to be uploaded to the Mobility Online database by that date (there are different deadlines for mathematics).
What are my chances of getting a place?
Every year, a different number of students apply for the Erasmus program, so it is difficult to make predictions. The chances of being offered a place also depend on the number of exchange places set in the cooperation agreement.
Is it possible to apply for places not offered in the first selection round?
Yes, this is possible depending on the institute or department. Ask the Erasmus coordinators about remaining vacancies; in consultation with them and the partner university, these places can still be offered.
If I am not a citizen of an EU country, can I still take part in the Erasmus program?
Yes, all students can take part in an Erasmus program if they are completing a program based at Universität Hamburg that leads to a recognized degree. Please note that you may need to apply for a visa, depending on the status of your residence in the host country.
What do I need to include in a letter of motivation?
The letter of motivation (up to 2 pages in German unless otherwise stated by your institute or department) should clarify what qualifies you to attend the desired university (language skills, interest in the profile in question at the university, etc.).Include the following information:
- Describe your motivation for going abroad and your choice of country/countries and partner universities.
- How is study abroad related to your studies or research? What are your goals?
- Explain your study goals in detail. Explain your interest in the subject and the necessity and feasibility of study abroad.
The letter of motivation should focus on your first choice.
What language skills do I need?
Most partner universities recommend that you already have sound knowledge of the country’s language (at least B1). For the application, you will need to provide proof of your language skills. This proof may not date back more than 2 years. Often, Erasmus students can also attend language classes at the host university—either as an intensive course before the semester begins or during the semester. A few universities also offer programs held in English. Universität Hamburg students can attend preparatory courses at the University Language Center. There, you can also be tested to acquire proof of your language skills. This test is free for Universität Hamburg students.
See the University Language Center website for more information.
How good do my grades need to be to get a place?
The Erasmus coordinators in the faculties decide on whether or not to offer a place based on all the application documents you submit. Good grades are certainly advantageous in the application procedure but they are not the only relevant criterion.
Does it matter if I am pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate?
As a rule, you can take part in Erasmus while pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate. Nonetheless, partner schools set up exchanges for particular levels of study and, generally, you can apply for a place only at your level of study.
Can I go abroad through Erasmus more than once—once for my bachelor’s, once for my master’s, and once for my doctorate?
Yes, students can receive funding for study or internships for up to 12 months (24 in the case of state examinations) per study cycle (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate). If you have already received funding within a given cycle, the funded months will be deducted from the maximum funding period.Example: 5 months Erasmus study completed during the bachelor’s
- Up to another 7 months can still be funded through Erasmus during the bachelor’s (study / internship / graduate internship)
- Possible distribution: 5 months Erasmus study, 2 months internship
Are there special support options for Erasmus study for students with fewer opportunities?
Yes, there are 2 types of special support (“top-up”) for students with fewer opportunities.
Additional support grants:
- students with a degree of disability of 20 or over,
- students with chronic illnesses,
- students with children,
- students who are the first academics in their family,
- and students who must interrupt or terminate their employment during the semester abroad
can receive an additional support grant of € 250 per month. To do so, fill out a sworn declaration in Mobility Online and keep the relevant documents. Find details on the various supplements in our Infosheet on Additional Funding.
Individual request for up to € 15,000 per semester
- students with a degree of disability of 50 or over,
- students with chronic illnesses,
- students with children,
can submit a long request (individual request) to have all additional costs (e.g., for an accompanying assistant, care, etc.) covered. In this request, only those additional costs should be included that public assistance demonstrably does not cover. Within the scope of this request, you can apply for up to € 15,000 per semester. To do so, check the box on the application form for special funding (long request). To submit the request, contact the Erasmus University Coordinator(erasmus.coordination"AT"uni-hamburg.de) in the Department of International Affairs directly. The request must be submitted to the national DAAD agency at the latest 2 months before you leave.
Contact us in good time so that we can best advise you!
Before you leave
What documents does the Erasmus Team need from me?
Before you begin studying abroad, we need the following documents:
- the Digital Learning Agreement Part I (DLA, Before the Mobility)
- the Grant Agreement
- proof of enrollment at Universität Hamburg (for the semester abroad)
List the courses for the Digital Learning Agreement on Mobility Online. After internal review and signing at Universität Hamburg, the DLA will be sent digitally to the host university, where it will also be reviewed and signed. Print out the Grant Agreement at Mobility Online and send the original, with a wet signature to the Department of International Affairs. After the Erasmus University Coordinator has signed the document, the Department of International Affairs will upload it to your records. Upload the proof of enrollment in the database.
What do I need to add to the Digital Learning Agreement Part I (Before the Mobility)? Who has to sign it and who sends it to the partner university?
In the Digital Learning Agreement (DLA), fill in the courses that you would like to take at the host university (Table A, 30 ECTS credits per semester, 20 ECTS credits per trimester). In Table B, add those courses from the host university that you would like to have recognized in Hamburg as equivalent. The DLA needs to be signed by the following:
- the student
- the Erasmus coordinator, professor, or degree program coordinator of the respective institute or department at Universität Hamburg
- the coordinator at the partner university
The Digital Learning Agreement is complete only when all of these signatures have been provided and Tables A and B have been filled in. Contact your Erasmus coordinator and/or degree program coordinator in good time for advice. The DLA is sent automatically (digitally) after you submit and sign it via the Mobility Online database.
How do I create a Digital Learning Agreement?
The document must be completed and signed by all parties and be uploaded to Mobility Online prior to starting your study abroad. If you study abroad for 2 semesters, indicate the courses for both semesters in your Learning Agreement when you begin your stay. For changes or additions, use Part II of the Learning Agreement. In some cases, it can be difficult to get the signature from the host university before you begin your semester abroad. In this case, notify your faculty’s Erasmus coordinator in writing. Your signature and the signature of the person responsible at Universität Hamburg, however, must be provided before you start.
The host university would like a Learning Agreement when I register—what should I do?
A few partner universities already request a Learning Agreement when you register. Because a course plan is often not set that early, you should list past courses that interest you. The host university simply wants an idea of your goals. This preliminary Learning Agreement does not replace the later Digital Learning Agreement.
Do I have to apply for a vacation semester?
Erasmus students are not obligated to apply for a vacation semester. It is advisable, however—the vacation semester is not an official university semester but it does count as a subject semester; thus, you do not “lose” time from studying if you apply for it. However, remember that you are not permitted to take any exams at your home university during a vacation semester.
See the Campus Center pages for more information about the vacation semester.
What happens if the semesters of my host university and the semesters of Universität Hamburg overlap?
In many countries, semester dates are different from those in Germany. For example, winter semester might already end in December or January and the summer semester begins immediately thereafter in January or February. At some universities, the academic year is not divided into semesters but into trimesters. Find out in good time by consulting the partner university’s website. Find out from your department’s Erasmus coordinator when and in which semester it is advisable to study abroad.
I need proof of my study abroad for the partner university / the BAföG office / academic administration / to apply for a visa. Where do I get this proof?
You can get proof attesting to the duration of your study abroad, the amount of Erasmus funding, etc. from your Erasmus coordinator or the Erasmus Team in the Department of International Affairs.
Do I need to have a certain number of ECTS credits at the partner university to get an Erasmus place?
30 ECTS credits per semester (20 ECTS credits per trimester) are the EU standard. If you have completed fewer ECTS credits, the Erasmus Team in the Department of International Affairs has the right to request a statement in writing.
What options are there for taking language courses before I depart?
To navigate daily life in your host country, we recommend that you gain at least basic language skills before you start studying—it is best to start learning these in Hamburg. Here are few possibilities:
Many partner universities also offer language courses before the semester begins or during the semester. Erasmus coordinators or the web pages of the partner universities can provide more information.
How can I find a room or apartment for the duration of my study abroad?
International universities assign dorm rooms in very different ways. Sometimes, you can get a place in a student dormitory; sometimes, you may be completely on your own. First inquire at the host university’s international office about whether they can help you find a room or apartment.
Am I insured through Universität Hamburg while abroad and is my health insurance valid in the host country?
Erasmus funding is not linked to insurance protection. Universität Hamburg, the European Commission, or the DAAD are not liable for damages or injuries that result from illness, death, accidents, harm to others, loss, or damage to things in connection with an Erasmus stay. By accepting funding, students promise to secure sufficient insurance (international health insurance and liability insurance) for the duration of their stay.
- Health insurance Just as in Germany, in your host country you must prove upon enrollment at your host university that you have health insurance recognized by the host country. You can often—but not always!—gain an exemption from mandatory health insurance in the country in question if you have this proof. If necessary, you should take out additional international health insurance, including return transport, in Germany that, for example, assumes the costs of medical treatment in non-EEA countries or countries with which Germany does not have social insurance treaties, and, if necessary, will cover the costs of having you return to Germany. Germany has insurance treaties, for example, with Croatia and Turkey.
- Accident insurance and liability insurance For stays in countries with which Germany has no insurance treaties, it is advisable to take out additional accident insurance and liability insurance, especially if your host university does not insure you for accidents.
Via the DAAD, you can take out “combined insurance,” which includes international health, accident, and private liability insurance. See the DAAD website for detailed information.
Before you take out new insurance, ask your current insurance providers about the scope of your insurance coverage throughout your planned stay abroad and, if necessary, also seek independent advice.
During your stay abroad
I have arrived in my host country. What should I do now?
Once your studies at the host university begin, contact the staff responsible for you or your program and have them fill out the Confirmation of Stay Part I. Scan this document and upload it directly onto Mobility Online. Make sure you keep this document! You will also need to note the date of your departure and upload this to the database.
My courses changed after I arrived. How can I record these changes?
You need to record the changes in your Digital Learning Agreement Part II (During the Mobility) and the document needs to be signed at the latest one month after you start studying abroad. This data set is also created using Mobility Online and you can complete and sign it before you forward for further signatures to the coordinators and the host university.
Can I extend my stay?
Extending study abroad at the same partner university is possible only from a winter semester to the summer semester immediately following it. Students must request an extension at the latest one month before the originally scheduled end of their stay at the host university. To do so, upload the extension request alongside the Learning Agreement to Mobility Online. The maximum funding period is 8 months within an academic year.
After you return
How can I have my coursework completed abroad accredited?
The respective examinations board for your department decides on the recognition and accrediting of coursework completed abroad. In every department, subject, or degree program, there are contacts for questions about recognizing coursework completed abroad.
Is there a uniform rule regarding the conversion of grades from abroad?
Since 2009, the new ECTS guidelines from the European Commission have been used for converting grades for coursework completed abroad. For more information on ECTS, see the European Commission website.
Most partner universities provide helpful information about their grading systems and grade conversions when they issue the final transcript of records. Talk to your Erasmus coordinator in advance to determine how many ECTS credits the courses you complete abroad are worth.
Universität Hamburg is part of the web-based tool EGRACONS, which makes it easier to understand and convert grades, providing the host university has also added its data.
Which documents do I have to submit to the Erasmus Team after I complete my stay?
When you end your study abroad, we need the following documents:
- Confirmation of Stay Part I and II
- transcript of records
- if applicable, missing proof of enrollment
- online EU survey using the EU tool
You will be sent an email with the request to complete this EU survey. You will need to upload all of the above-named documents to Mobility Online yourself.
What is a transcript of records and where do I get one?
A transcript of records shows all of the courses you attended and grades you earned for those. At the end of your study abroad, have your host university issue your transcript of records showing all of the courses you attended while there, including grades and earned ECTS credits. The transcript of records is the basis for having your coursework and examinations recognized at Universität Hamburg.
When and where do I have to submit the transcript of records?
After you return and have received the document from your host university, you must scan the transcript of records and upload it to Mobility Online. Every Erasmus student must submit this transcript and it will also be required as proof for the EU Commission.
Do I have to pay the semester contribution at Universität Hamburg while I am abroad?
You have to re-enroll every semester at Universität Hamburg, including the ones you will spend abroad, so that you stay enrolled. You can take leave for the semester abroad by contacting student administration. Then your contribution for the Studierendenwerk will be refunded. You may also get a refund for your semester public transport pass (see below). See the Campus Center pages for more information about taking leave.
Is it possible to have the semester public transport pass fees refunded for the time I am not in Hamburg?
Yes, you can submit a request for a refund. Keep in mind, however, that after a short semester abroad (for example, 3 months), you will not have a valid pass when you return to Hamburg.
Which kind of funding do I receive from Erasmus?
The Erasmus program offers an Erasmus+ mobility grant intended to cover any additional costs related to your stay abroad. The amount is based on the average costs of living in the respective host country and ranges from € 490 to € 600 per month.
Country Group 1: € 600 per month (€ 20 per day) Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden
Country Group 2: € 540 per month (€ 18 per day) Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain
Country Group 3: € 490 per month (€ 11 per day) Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey
The Erasmus funding period corresponds to the length of your stay at the host university. The amount of your monthly payments and the funding period are reset every academic year once funding has been authorized by the DAAD.
How is the Erasmus+ mobility grant at Universität Hamburg transferred?
The Erasmus+ mobility grant is paid out in 2 installments. The first installment is 70 percent of the total funding amount and is paid out after your study abroad begins and all required documents have been submitted in full. Please note that payment can be made only when all documents have been submitted. Otherwise, there may be delays in payment. The second installment is paid out after you complete your stay abroad and all final documents have been received in full.
Do I have to request the Erasmus+ mobility grant at Universität Hamburg separately after I receive confirmation that I have a place?
No, when you apply for an exchange place, you also apply for the funding. If you have been accepted for an Erasmus place and uploaded all required documents to the database, then you have also automatically requested the Erasmus+ mobility grant at Universität Hamburg.
What happens with the grant if I shorten my stay?
If you shorten your stay, you must pay back the respective share of the grant. For study abroad that lasts less than the minimum 2 months, you must pay back the grant in full (unless study is organized on a trimester basis).
Special support for students with disabilities
Students with disabilities (with a degree of disability of 20 and over) and students with chronic illnesses can request special funding for their stay abroad. If you would like to apply for special support for students with disabilities / chronic illnesses abroad, contact the Erasmus Team in the Department of International Affairs directly.
Are there funding possibilities outside of Erasmus?
BAföG (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz—German Federal Education and Training Assistance Act) grants for your time abroad: If you are in an EU member country, you can complete your studies entirely or partially abroad. Studies abroad must last at least 6 months (meaning a semester) if you want BAföG. For required internships or exchanges within the scope of university cooperation, study must last at least 12 weeks. A further requirement for BAföG for the purposes of study abroad is that your stay contribute to your education and training in Germany. The benefits pursuant to BAföG for the purposes of studying abroad should be requested at the educational funding office responsible for the country in question at least 6 months before you start studying abroad. Students who do not receive BAföG in Germany may also be eligible for BAföG to study abroad. What is important for domestic BAföG recipients is that, following your return, you need to submit a new request to the educational funding scheme office responsible for the German university in question. Please note: A maximum of one year abroad is deducted from the regular period of study in Germany. This essentially extends the maximum period of BAföG funding by one year.
DAAD: The DAAD funds German students, graduates, doctoral researchers, and post-docs at public or publicly recognized universities and, under certain circumstances, international applicants with the same status as German citizens. DAAD international grants are awarded based on educational qualifications and personal suitability; usually, a selection committee decides on the funding. The grant amounts vary depending on program and host country. Further DAAD grants focus on certain subject groups (e.g., the natural sciences, economics, languages, literature, geography, etc.) or specific universities or countries.
Begabtenförderungswerke: The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports 12 organizations promoting young talent, especially talented university students and doctoral researchers. The funding is offered in various forms or for various formats: monthly scholarship payments and grants for study abroad; language courses and internships abroad; seminars, symposia, academies, conferences, and workshops; networking with speakers, mentors, and tutors.
Privately funded and publicly funded scholarships: Use the scholarship search engine offered by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, an interactive platform, to find the best scholarship for you. You can do your search on the comprehensive scholarship database using many different criteria such as educational phase, subject area, or target destination. The search engine is the central platform for national and international scholarships offered by private and public providers.
Study-related loans: Study-related loans with varying interest rates to cover your living costs while doing your first degree are offered by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), a public organization run by the German federal and state governments who grant loans to German students, and under certain circumstances international students, under 30. In contrast to BAföG, these loans do not require you to prove financial need. The loan is also paid for semesters abroad providing you do not request academic leave.
Educational loan: German and, under certain circumstances, international students under 36 can also apply for an educational loan with variable interest if they have concluded the fourth semester of a bachelor’s program or enrolled for a master’s program. Financial need does not play a role. The loan can be granted for study abroad if the coursework can be accredited for your program in Germany or for an internship abroad if there are clear links to your program in Germany. The educational loan can be used in addition to BAföG if there are unusually extensive costs involved.
Do I still receive BAföG while I am studying abroad?
Domestic BAföG is not paid while you study abroad. You can, however, request BAföG for study abroad at the office responsible for you. Your Erasmus coordinator or the Erasmus Team in the Department of International Affairs has the certificates related to your study abroad which are required to request BAföG for study abroad. What is important for domestic BAföG recipients is that, following your return, you need to submit a new request to the educational funding scheme office responsible for the German university in question. Please note: A maximum of one year abroad is deducted from the regular period of study in Germany. This essentially extends the maximum period of BAföG funding by one year.
I have a scholarship from the Begabtenförderungswerk/ DAAD. Can I still receive financial support from Universität Hamburg?
Yes, all Erasmus program participants receive funding. Please note, however, that you cannot receive funding for Erasmus study abroad at the same time you pursue an Erasmus internship or receive Hamburglobal funding. Generally speaking, Erasmus program participants cannot accept any further funding from EU budgets at the same time.