Start your preparations for your stay abroad at least a year in advance. Take advantage of one of the many financial support programmes. They offer you financial support and other advantages, e.g. training and internship places or an exemption from paying tuition fees.
Gaining experience abroad – how and where
Financially supported stays abroad are available within the framework of programmes and network such as CEEPUS, Erasmus+, Joint Study agreements – but also for individual students.
Some of the big grant/scholarship programmes:
- Erasmus+ is the most successful programme of the European Union in the area of education. With this programme you will spend a study period at a partner higher education institution or do an internship in one of the 34 European countries: 28 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey and Macedonia.
- CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Program for University Studies) (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies) is a Central European mobility programme. You will spend a study period at a partner institution within a network.
- Joint Study agreements are bilateral agreements between two higher education institutions or their departments. Students can spend up to one academic year at a partner university – usually outside Europe. You can get further information about this at the International Office of your university.
- Internships abroad offer the possibility to enhance your vocational qualifications and to get familiar with the work routine in another country. These new skills can enrich your own work.
Where will I get information?
Your first point of call is the International Relations Office of your higher education institution. Each institution has such an office. They have different names, e.g. "Auslandsbüro" or "International Office". These institutions will inform you about partner institutions within the framework of funded mobility programmes.
Tip: Many programmes have specific coordinators at the individual institutes or departments. Enquire there as well.University databases and cultural departments of foreign embassies also provide information about studying abroad.
Are only well-known universities good?
Choose your target country and target institution according to your academic or personal interests, your chances on the labour market or choose a place where not everybody else also wants to go. In this way you can position yourself in niches. It is also not always the best-known or biggest university of a country that is the right one for your career. Smaller institutions often provide excellent personal support services.
Before going abroad – this is what you should know
- Which entry and residence requirements does my target country have for studying or doing research?
- Do I need a visa or a work permit? The embassies and consulates will answer this question.
Students are obliged to take care of their insurance cover themselves. Enquire in time at your health insurance provider before travelling abroad. The Head Office of the Austrian Social Security Providers issued an information brochure dealing with "Studying and working abroad"(only in German). It provides a short and clear overview of what you should keep in mind when planning a study period or work placement abroad.
Admission criteria of the target institution
- Which documents do I need to apply? Certificates, legalisations, expertise, proof of language skills, …
- Which deadlines apply? Application, language test, …
- Do I have to pay tuition fees? Enquire at your target institution or visit its website.
Tip: if you are going abroad as part of a supported mobility programme many formalities will be taken care of for you.
What else should I bear in mind?
- Will the examinations that I take abroad be credited by my home institution? The admission office and the chairperson of the academic committee are in charge of this issue.
- Which language skills do I need?
- Is the schedule of the academic year in the target country the same as in Austria?
- What accommodation options do I have?
- Will I miss deadlines at the Austrian institution, e.g. enrolment to continue of my study programme or the payment of the tuition fee?
- Will I be exempted from paying the tuition fees in Austria?
- Can I get the Austrian study grant abroad? Tip: In many mobility programmes this is possible.
Costs and funding
Your target institution will tell you how much the tuition fees or course fees are. Embassies and consulates will inform you about the visa costs. For some countries you need a special health or travel insurance. A supplementary insurance is often also advisable.
How will I finance my stay abroad?
With a financially supported mobility programme you can spend a semester or a year of your studies abroad or do an internship abroad – without losing study time. Scholarships will fund part of your costs. Attention: For most of the scholarships you can only apply as of the third semester.
Tip: The Austrian Database for Scholarships and Research Grants www.grants.at provides an overview of all grants and scholarships. Take advantage of this possibility.
You are going to spend a study period abroad within the framework of a university partnership or a recognised exchange programme supported by a scholarship? In this case you can apply for an exemption from the tuition fees. Your university is responsible for this. Maybe you can continue to receive your study grant abroad – the Austrian Study Grant Authority (Studienbeihilfenbehörde) will inform you whether or not this is possible.
Attention: Make sure you have sufficient funds before going abroad. Please do not rely on earning money in your target country: Many countries have restrictive employment laws. And some target institutions, and also visa and residence regulations, prohibit gainful employment.
Scholarships and research funding – how to apply successfully
Enquire in detail at the authority where applications are to be submitted about all application criteria of your programme.
Attention: The selection process for all scholarships is competitive. Even if you fulfil all requirements there is no legal claim to a grant – except for the Federal Aid for Students – Grant for Study Abroad. Therefore prepare your application carefully. And submit all documents at the right office – complete and in time.
In addition to the application form you will usually need other documents, e.g. documentation of successful course of studies, letter of motivation or letter of recommendation. Each funding organisation has other criteria: study success, motivation, language skills, additional qualifications, overall impression of your application.
Studying abroad – tips and hints
If you want to study your whole degree programme abroad there are hardly any scholarships provided by Austria. Maybe you fulfil the requirements for the Austrian study grant. Tip: Enquire about scholarships or other funding options from your target country and your target institution.
Also clarify the following questions:
- Will your degree be recognised in Austria? And: Will you be allowed to practise your profession in Austria with your foreign degree? Naric Austria will inform you about these issues.
- You are planning a postgraduate degree abroad, e.g. a master's, PhD or MBA course? You can find financial support options for this in the Database for Scholarships and Research Grants www.grants.at and at Euraxess – Researchers in Motion.