Exchange semester(s) in a non-European country on your own initiative

To start with you need to inquire into:


Where do I want to study?


Do you have a specific country in mind? Which universities are in that country? The DAAD's country information tool offers a wide range of information (sorry, they only have a German version online at the moment).

What makes me a Freemover?

You're a 'Freemover' if the country you have chosen is not in the EU, which would be covered by ERASMUS (they recently expanded their list so see what they offer); EUCOR; EPiDi, etc. To be sure, review the list of the department's partner universities and those of KIT in general (German webpage only). If all that doesn't cover your chosen country and uni or you don't want to use those programms then you're a Freemover.

What do I want to study there?

Which universities in that country actually offer the courses you want to take? And are they recognised as creditable universities for the German system? You can't transfer the credit points/ECTS without the uni being officially approved.

And can you be relatively specific about the courses you want to take there? Do they have admission restrictions?

Establish contacts there, write to lecturers and coordinators, ask whether they can support you, whether they would accept you for one or two semesters.

When do I want to go?

When would you like to be there? Consider that you'll have to apply well ahead - up to 18 months! But don't let that put you off. Freemovers can be more flexible depending on the paperwork needed.

How do I apply?

Do you have to apply to study there? What does the complete procedure include?

We have come across unis that haven't got a clear system on how to treat foreign students that want to take courses for one or two semester and then leave again. It might take a couple of emails to get the right information and contact the right people. We will help you but we need to know the general outline of the questions above before we start the adventure.


Your next steps

Share your ideas: talk to other people about it

  • for the study side of things: talk to a mentor, let them in on your ideas and see if they can advise you. Maybe they already have contacts in that country/uni. You'll need this anyway when setting up a Learning Agreement for transferring the credits.
  • ask other students if they've been abroad before
  • read the web pages at KIT's International Office, especially the pages for 'Freemovers' (unfortunately only in German at the moment)
  • come to our student service office at BGU and I'll try to hook you up with the administration at the other uni if you are struggling to get information.

The financial aspect: How will you finance the whole stay?

  • are there scholarships available via KIT or other institutions?
    • other institutions? Yes, local, state level, federal, European, continent-specific, global... Take your time to find out which programmes cover which kind of exchange and whether they partner with the country and studies you're looking for. For example try the DAAD's detailed list (only in German).
  • and always keep an eye on how for in advance you need to apply for the scholarships and which paperwork you need.

Further aspects that will become important later on and will also need time:

  • are there entry and residence requirements? (visa, work permit, etc.)

  • Do you need a special health insurance? And with that the question: do you need vaccinations or need to take certain medications in advance?


The Federal Foreign Office has information on the different countries and so does the DAAD country information database.

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