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Antworten auf viele Fragen rund um das ERASMUS+ Programm.

1. Basic questions to begin with
2. What you should know for the application
3. Preparations – after acceptance
4. What you should note when abroad
5. After your stay abroad: important for all returnees

Basic questions to begin with

What you should know for the application

  • When and how can I submit an application?

    In principle, applications are accepted only after the information session. There is, in principle, usually one information session in summer and another at the beginning of the respective winter semester. Please note here the notices and the homepage. The application always apply to the following academic year as the places are allocated yearly (in December, 2010, for instance, a person applies for the academic year 2011/2012).

    Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

    The applications can be handed in during the office hours of contact persons or sent via post.

  • What does a complete application look like?

    In this case, complete means:

    - Student application form with passport photograph
    - Curriculum Vitae (CV) in English with passport photograph
    - Official Transcript of Records (listing courses completed up till now)
    - List of courses currently being attended or not yet documented in the transcript
    - Cover letter (letter of motivation) (1-2 paged personal and academic reasons for your motivation to study abroad and your choice of university, based on the first choice)  
    - Copy of data sheet (Stammdatenblatt) from the current semester (the winter semester)

    The cover letter (letter of motivation) will NOT be forwarded to partner universities! You do not need to be afraid to give a university a clear preference in the cover letter, but it can be what decides between an acceptance and a rejection. Course achievements alone are not decisive!

  • How high are my chances of an acceptance from the first choice?

    The vacancies, rather the exchange agreements, are updated regularly. As the application situation varies very much from year to year, it is difficult to say something concrete about chances. Furthermore, the chances are dependent on course achievements, the cover letter and of course on the profile of requirements set by the partner university or if the teaching and research profile of the partner university speak to the applicant (it is generally to be expected that courses outside of the literature spectrum can be taken only in exceptional cases!). A thorough search on the corresponding homepage can help prevent disappointment. The overall chances are of course also dependent on the number of applicants.

  • Can I contact student who are at my desired university right now or have already been there?

    Yes, as soon you are told that you have a placement at this university, you receive the email addresses of your “predecessors” provided they are okay with it. You are free to go over testimonials by former exchange students during your application process. You will find these on ILIAS (IAA: LLP/ERASMUS).

  • Who or what are the departmental coordinator and the institutional coordinator?

    The departmental coordinator is the ERAMSUS coordinator on location, as in at the department of the home university. You will find all current coordinators under contact persons.

    At the Philipps University, we do not really differentiate between departmental and institutional coordinators. You must only take care of obtaining the signature of the respective Erasmus coordinator.

  • When do I learn if I can take part in the exchange?

    Usually, all applicants receive an email saying if the application is successful or not after the Christmas holidays (in the first weeks of January) at the end of the selection process in December. Students that have received a place have till the end of January to decide if they accept it. This decision is binding. Should students decide to withdraw, these places will be given to their successors. Who the successors are will have been decided during the selection process and they will know around the end of January if they have a placement.

  • Can I apply again after a rejection?

    Yes, of course. You must, however, write a new cover letter where you it is mentioned you are applying for a second time.

    The higher the number of semesters you have been studying, the more unlikely it is that you will be accepted because you have to bring in at least 30 ECTS points per semester during your stay abroad.

  • Can I apply again after a completed Erasmus exchange?

    No. An Erasmus exchange can be completed only once per stage of study (Bildungsabschnitt). Former exchange students can therefore not take part in an exchange for a second time.

Preparations – after acceptance

  • Leave of absence (Beurlaubung) or exmatriculation?

    According to EU regulations, exchange students must retain their student-status at the home university for the duration of an exchange. An exmatriculation is therefore excluded.

    It is possible to take a leave of absence, although student loan payments (BaföG) will not be made then. You remain therefore in your semester which can lead to a loss of priority when it comes to course selection.  

    Independent of a leave of absence, you can be reimbursed the fee for the semester ticket. Please see AstA for more information.

    You will find information on rules pertaining to a leave of absence when studying abroad here. Additionally, here you will find general information about a leave of absence.

  • How do I finance my stay abroad?

    As the Erasmus mobility grant is not a scholarship, but rather a grant to help cover additional costs, you should plan the financing like you do your studying in Germany (parents, student loans, etc.).

    Important: unlike in Germany you can usually not work while you study in England and Ireland to finance your studies. You can and should apply timely (6 months before the start of the stay) for foreign student loans (Auslands-BAföG) also when you are normally not entitled to student loans because the funding rates for stays abroad have a higher turnout. Please speak to the student loan office (BAföG-Amt) about this.

  • What is and for what do I need a Learning Agreement?

    The Learning Agreement is a contract that you close with the host university and is therefore very important. On the corresponding form, enter the courses you want to take, the corresponding titles, codes and ECTS points (in total you should arrive at 30 ECTS points per semester abroad). This contract must be signed by the Erasmus coordinator. Then the LA will be sent to the host university, also signed and sent back. Then on, the Learning Agreement will be forwarded to the RES which will undertake the transfer of the mobility fund.  

What you should note when abroad

  • Where can I live once there? Hostel, shared apartment or in my own apartment? Who helps me find accommodation?

    Usually, the partner university will either offer you a place in a dorm or actively assist you with the search for accommodation. After registration you receive from the Accommodation Office of the partner university separate documents that you should process and respond to as quickly as possible.

    For those that have flatshare experience or believe themselves to be “suited to flatshares”, a flatshare is the more economically sound variant.  

    In most instances it is possible to find something on location relatively quickly on one’s own. However, someone spending only a semester abroad should definitely opt for arrangements by the university since most leases run for an entire year of study, whereas the university could help arrange accommodation for a semester.

    You can find some information on this on ILIAS (IAA: LLP/ERASMUS) or through former exchange students.

  • Can I study subjects other than English once I am there?

    Every place on offer is based on an agreement between a department, seminar or department at the home university and the home university. Accordingly, you are primarily studying the subject you are going abroad for. In exceptional cases, for instance when the host university has the capacity for this and the permission to do so, it is possible to study also other subjects that are not directly connected to the department.

    The important thing here is that the majority of courses taken are in the subject of English. When you want to take one or two courses from other subjects, you must arrange for this with your department and the host university.

    You must collect altogether 30 ECTS points per semester. Everything beyond this is voluntary.  You should be aware though that the effort studying takes here is quite possibly higher than in Germany.

  • What happens to my ECTS point when I fail my written exams, other exams or tests at the end of the semester?

    It is normal to worry at the beginning of your stay abroad that due to initial language difficulties you might fail exams at the end and thereby not collect the ECTS points agreed upon in the Learner Agreement. No Erasmus student has failed at final exams in the past years. Should you still fail a course, you can speak to your teachers to see if you could receive partial credit for attendance, participation, homework, etc. If your efforts are recognised, failing to get full marks will not have consequences for you. As mentioned, your efforts should be recognisable and therefore you should definitely attend class and take the final exam.  

After your stay abroad: important for all returnees

  • What are testimonials, when should I write them for whom?

    You will be required by the International Office via mobility online to submit a detailed report and questionnaire after your stay abroad.

    In the narrative experience report, you should briefly explain how you found your way around, what you recommend, what one should definitely see, what offers there were, where one can best go out and shop, how you found a place to stay, etc. We would be very thankful to you if you could send us photographs to give the future generations a better, realistic and clear picture of what awaits them. Please also let us know if your email address can be shared with new applicants.

  • Am I obliged to make information available to future exchange generation after my stay abroad?

    No. There is no obligation to complete the two experience reports. It is for you to decide if you are okay or not with your email address being shared for a limited time with a limited number of exchange students (usually, the Erasmus generation that follows immediately after). However, only you can contribute to making the exchange clearer and better in the long run since you have the insider information. It is only through your experiences on location that future generations of exchange students can have a realistic idea of the university. This is why we expressly ask you to complete the report, help your fellow students and send us photographs.  

  • Who is responsible for calculating my credits completed abroad?

    The Erasmus coordinator is responsible for calculating credits for courses at the Department for English and American Studies. You will find more detailed information about calculating credit collected abroad and the documents required for this on Ilias.