Working and Studying Abroad
Head of Department
There is understandably a lot of confusion surrounding the virus and what this means for students working or studying abroad who had to interrupt their stay, or for those who were planning to go abroad in the near future and can no longer do so.
We envisage that students will not be disadvantaged due to this unprecedented situation. Individual cases will need to be discussed after students return and as/when the situation becomes a little clearer, but in line with university policy, we will do our best to find appropriate solutions!
Please keep the following advice in mind:
- For the latest Coronavirus information from the university, please see the official site here.
- Note that the federal government has issued a warning against any and all non-essential travel until the end of April 2020 at the earliest. (See here for further information.) As a result, you should return to Germany (assuming it is safe and practical for you to do so), or delay your plans if you were due to depart soon.
- If you do remain abroad for whatever reason, you are strongly advised to register yourself with the local German embassy and to follow their instructions as well as the government regulations wherever you are. (Be aware that any travel insurance may not be valid under the circumstances.)
- You do not need to ask for permission to leave your internship, job, or semester abroad - just make sure you let your overseas university, school or employer know, and make sure someone knows where you are!
- The official university site mentioned above contains advice for students who have to interrupt their stay abroad or who might be stuck abroad. Follow the instructions to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For jobs/internships:
- if possible, ask your employer for documentation over the period of time you were able to complete before returning home.
- if you are cancelling or postponing a stay abroad that was due to start later this year, please do so directly rather than simply not show up, even if the reason for your absence is obvious. You want to leave a good impression!
- For study abroad:
- if you were studying abroad and your university offers the opportunity to complete your studies online, do take advantage of this! If you couldn't complete all the course requirements before the semester was interrupted, please keep any documentation you have (course outlines, reading lists) as well as all the work you submitted.
- if your semester was due to start later this year, please check your e-mail for information closwer to the scheduled start date.
- For jobs/internships:
(BA students should stay calm and wait for the moment.)
If you have further questions, please contact the Fachstudienberatung via e-mail.
Take care, and stay safe!
If you are planning to become a teacher, then yes - you will have to go abroad to a country where English is the official language or the main language spoken for at least three months (twelve weeks) before registering to submit your Master thesis.
However, it is not compulsory for students who do not intend to become teachers to complete a stay abroad.
Nonetheless, it is strongly recommended that all students of English complement their studies with a stay abroad in an English-speaking country, where possible for a year. You will profit from this period on many different levels – an improvement in your language skills is only one of the benefits.
From experience we can say that such a stay abroad makes a major difference in the development of a wide-ranging and sophisticated understanding of the language, culture and society in the country visited, as well as contributing to subsequent academic success to an extent that cannot be overestimated.
Please check the official criteria for an officially-recognised stay abroad for further information. You may choose to work or study – it’s up to you.
Periods of study can involve one of Oldenburg's partner universities or an independent application as a "Free Mover". Advanced language courses are also acceptable as long as they are at an advanced (C1+ level).
Any job or internship needs to be 'relevant for your course of studies'. This can be interpreted fairly broadly, so your time abroad does not have to involve working in a school or with young people, though these are obviously popular options!
You may take part in an organised programme such as the PAD's Assistant Teacher Programme (there are also companies which arrange interships abroad) or you can find a placement yourself. Apart from at a school or kindergarten, you can work in business, in tourism, as a volunteer with organizations like the National Trust in Britain, as a volunteer with faith-based organisiations, with elderly people or people with disabilities, or at a summer camp or holiday programme for teenagers, or...
(For jobs working with *animals* such as wildlife work in South Africa, you need to ensure sufficient contact to native speakers of English or at the very least, non-German speaking coordinators.)
Some further exclusions and limitations are discussed in the frequently asked questions section.
Yes. It is possible to combine different options (language course; internship; multiple jobs) as long as they take place consecutively, without a break in between involving travel to a non-English speaking country. (A brief holiday such as a week in New Zealand between two internships in Australia is acceptable.)
The obvious options include the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. Other less obvious but equally acceptable destinations are Singapore, Malta, Caribbean countries with English as an official language, English-speaking islands in the South Pacific (avoid former French colonies) and a number of countries in Africa including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Dubai is normally acceptable, but please check in advance.
This list of countries is fairly complete as a starting point.
Countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Argentina, Japan and so on are NOT classified as English-speaking and time in these countries will not count towards the compulsory stay abroad, even if you studied in English.
- You can get credit for individual courses completed in English at non-Anglophone universities, though the stay abroad itself does not count.
- Students who are not planning to become teachers can take advantage of English-language opportunities beyond the Anglophone world - the university has a number of interesting exchange partnerships that it is worth considering.
If you're planning to be a teacher, you need to have completed your stay abroad before submitting your M.Ed. thesis. This seems a long way away when you first start studying, but it can take time to find a suitable opportunity or to apply for exchange and teaching programmes.
It is important to note that students are usually 'beurlaubt' during their stay abroad, and thus do not lose any time completing the degree. According to the Prüfungsordnung, 'der studienrelevante Auslandsaufenthalt ist kein Bestandteil der Regelstudienzeit.'
Generally speaking, the most convenient point for a period spent studying abroad in an English-speaking country is either the middle semesters of the bachelor degree (semester four, the summer between semesters four and five, or semester five in particular) or the time immediately after the completion of the first degree. (A popular option is to go abroad for a period of six months to a year between the BA and MEd degrees.)
Given the early application deadlines for most exchange programms, semester five is the best option for commencing a period of study abroad - due to overlapping semesters it is rarely practical to start university in the summer semester in other countries, although this can work in years when the Oldenburg semester finishes in late January, and is a good option for Australia and South Africa due to the different academic year in the southern hemisphere!
In your planning, you should also keep the scheduling of compulsory internships (Orientierungspraktikum/ASP/FP/FEP/Praxissemester) in mind. If you are abroad in September it is frequently possible to complete a compulsory internship in January instead - contact the DIZ for further information.
1. Information for bachelor students in Oldenburg
If you are planning to become a teacher in primary or lower secondary schools (M.Ed. Grund-, Haupt- und Realschule), it is strongly recommended that you complete this stay abroad during or immediately after the bachelor degree. The timing of the Praxissemester (February-June) and the scheduling of compulsory modules makes spending time abroad during the masters programme extremely difficult.
Moreover, if you intend to study abroad, there are very few Anglistik master modules for which you can gain credit, and for Bafög recipients, there is the additional problem that it is extremely difficult to find an overseas university which accepts visiting Masters students.
Note that you can only begin the MEd (G/H/R) degree in the winter, so if you submit your BA thesis in September and then want to go abroad until Christmas, you could have up to nine months of "dead time" after you get back. This is an excellent reason to go abroad for a longer period at this stage, for example via the assistant teacher programme.
2. Information for new Oldenburg MEd students (BA completed elsewhere)
If you are starting your MEd (G/H/R) degree in Oldenburg after completing your bachelor elsewhere, and have not been abroad yet, please start planning your stay as soon as you can, as it can be difficult to arrange around the Praxissemester. You may find yourself needing to split the stay abroad at this point.
Students studying for the degrees M.Ed. (Gym) and M.Ed (WiPäd) have quite a lot of flexibility in terms of timing their stay abroad, as there are suitable mobility windows in both the bachelor's and master's degrees (and indeed, between the two!) to go abroad. M.Ed. (Sonderpädagogik) students may generally find it easier to complete their stay abroad during their master's degree due to course scheduling in that subject. (SoPäd students who receive BAFöG and wish to study abroad should keep the issues listed below in mind.)
However, if you want to study abroad, then please note the following issues:
- Not every overseas university accepts Masters students as visitors or on exchange - check this well in advance! This applies to both partner universities and direct applications.
- If you receive BAFöG, then you should really try to study abroad during your bachelor's degree if at all possible, as there are very few international universities that will allow you to be enrolled as Masters students, and this is a requirement to receive Auslands-BAFöG at all. As this can be extremely difficult to arrange, if you are contemplating this option, please look into it well in advance.
- That said, a seventh bachelor semester or a first MEd Gym/WiPäd semester can also be a good opportunity for students to study abroad, particularly if you do not receive BAföG - it is possible to complete many of the required MEd courses in Anglistik in one semester.
- Additionally, M.Ed. WiPäd and SoPäd students - who normally complete the Aufbaumodule as part of the M.Ed. degree - may be able to complete these early if studying abroad as an undergraduate student.
Thorough planning (gathering general information about a country and university and translating transcripts; obtaining references; and completing application forms) should commence at least a year in advance, for example after the second semester in Oldenburg. As a general rule, you should start preparing in late September/October of the year before you plan to head abroad - the stay abroad contacts and planning are a good place to start.
While the departmental study abroad advisors and advisors in the ISO and Career Service are happy to help you with more complex questions, you should make sure you read the general background information about the stay abroad BEFORE coming to see an advisor. Answers to questions like "I have to go abroad – what can I do?" can be found on this website!
It is true that going abroad can be an expensive undertaking and presents a financial challenge for many students. However, there are a number of sources of financial support which can lower the costs.
Once you have decided whether you want to spend your time abroad in Europe or outside Europe, and whether you want to study, volunteer, do an internship, or something else entirely, you can consider the different options for financing your stay. Which one is right for you depends on where you want to go and what you want to do, as well as what you are eligible for.
Follow this link for information about funding for both studying and work placements abroad.
Generally speaking, you need to complete the stay abroad to graduate as a teacher in Lower Saxony. However, if there are good reasons (family responsibilities, health etc) why you cannot go abroad for twelve weeks, then please contact the Fach
email@example.com) (Dr Anna Auguscik) as soon as you become aware of the issue.
- Please note that requests of this type must ultimately be made to the relevant Prüfungsausschuss. Approval is not granted automatically!
- It is not possible to receive a complete exemption from the stay abroad. (For example, even if your application not to go abroad is approved, you will still be required to complete an equivalent period of work experience in an English-language environment in Germany.)
You are generally required to complete the stay abroad in one twelve-week block. If there are good reasons (these could be personal - such as health or caring responsibilities - or academic - such as a fixed course schedule in your second subject) for doing something different, then a request may be possible. However, there are no guarantees.
- If this is the case, please contact the Fach
firstname.lastname@example.org) (Dr Anna Auguscik) BEFORE you start your planning!
- Do not just split the stay without permisson - in a worst-case scenario, it might not be recognised.*
*In particular, don't just rely on advice from friends who might have done this in the past!
First of all, check this IF...THEN flow chart for help in dealing with common questions and issues.
For more specific assistance AFTER YOU HAVE FOLLOWED THE LINKS AND LOOKED CAREFULLY AT THIS WEBSITE, please contact the following members of staff:
Christa Weers (Erasmus), Tina Grummel (North America) and Roman Behrens (outside Europe/NA) at the ISO.
Staff in in the Career Service.
Erasmus+ and free mover applications (Europe)
Contact the ISO in the first instance; to apply and for advice on direct applications for the UK and Ireland, contact Lauren Freede.
Please attempt to arrange this via one of the Blocktermine if at all possible!
- General enquiries - Fachstudienberatung Anglistik
- Literature and Cultural Studies - Dr. Anna Auguscik
- Linguistics and Language Science - Dr. Ilka Flöck
- Didactics - Christian Kramer
- Sprachpraxis - Lauren Freede
- Compulsory school internships – either the DIZ or Dr. Sylke Bakker
- PB queries - Nicole Griese
Signatures and advice (as of December 2019)
- Credit for the stay abroad: Anna Auguscik (or Lauren Freede in her absence), but read this first!
- Applications for special consideration [Härtefälle]: Anna Auguscik (or Lauren Freede in her absence).
- AuslandsBAföG: Anna Auguscik (or Lauren Freede in her absence).
- Erasmus+ (internship): Lauren Freede as departmental coordinator (or Anna Auguscik in her absence).
- (The institutional coordinator is Andreas Männle in the ISO.)
- Final signature on a non-binding learning agreement: Anna Auguscik OR Lauren Freede (UK and Ireland only)
- Final departmental signature on an Erasmus learning agreement (study abroad): Lauren Freede.
- General confirmation that stay abroad is compulsory for future employers / discount travel etc: Anna Auguscik OR Lauren Freede (but see if this letter will work first!)
- Applications for the new DAAD programme "Lehramt.International: Auslandspraktika für Lehramtsstudierende": Andreas Männle or Tina Grummel in the ISO.
For help with writing statements of motivation, applications, CVs and other materials, please look out for the workshops run as part of the English Language Help Centre or contact the Career Service.
Updated 6th April 2020
For students who are approaching the end of their Master of Education studies and have had their plans for completing the compulsory stay abroad interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic, the English department has arranged with the Prüfungsamt to (temporarily) adapt the stay abroad criteria. The goal is to ensure that students are able to complete their studies as with as little disruption as possible. However, this all depends on how the situation with COVD-19 progresses in the weeks and months ahead.
Please keep in mind that the situation regarding international travel and in-person school, work and university study remains extremely uncertain and that alternative arrangements, once agreed, may still need to be revised again later!
These temporary regulations currently apply to MEd students only.
- New regulation 1: Masters students who have had to cancel or postpone their plans to go abroad later in 2020, or who had to interrupt a stay abroad that was already in progress, now have more time to meet the requirements. It is now possible to go abroad AFTER registering or even submitting your thesis. (The stay abroad previously had to be completed "bis zur Anmeldung der Masterarbeit".)
- New regulation 2: Students can receive credit on a case by case basis for stays abroad that:
- are shorter than twelve weeks in total. (The extent to which shorter stays are OK can only ever be determined on an individual basis, but it is extremely unlikely that two weeks can substitute for twelve!)
- consist of two or more shorter periods, making up [approximately] twelve weeks in total. eg. 2 x 6 weeks; 3 x 4 weeks. Partially-completed stays from the period January-March 2020 will count towards the total in full.
- are a combination of time spent abroad and an equivalent period of work experience in Germany or a neighbouring non-English speaking country. Eg. Five weeks internship in Ireland, seven weeks internship in an English-language school in Hamburg/Groningen etc. Again, partially-completed stays from the period January-March 2020 will count towards the total in full.
- combine in-person study and online study. (Currently this only applies to students whose semester was disrupted before March 31st 2020; discussions about the acceptability of online study going forward are ongoing.
- were completed before commencing a degree in Oldenburg, either in full or in combination with a shorter period outside or within German. (This exemption currently only applies to students due to finish their MEd degrees this year!)
NOTE: Students who qualify for special consideration under the regular criteria (due to health issues or family/caring responsibilities) will continue to do so, but may also benefit from the extra time available to complete a local alternative to the stay abroad.
All requests for credit under these emergency regulations will be decided on an individual basis.
For other common issues, please read the frequently asked questions.
Otherwise, this website really does contain all the background information you need about the compulsory stay abroad for students of British and American Studies at the University of Oldenburg. Read through it carefully before you contact other members of staff - we will send you away to read the website if it's clear you haven't looked and will not answer questions along the lines of "I need to go abroad - what can I do?"