Criteria and Requirements
The regulations for the compulsory stay abroad are drawn directly from the Verordnung über Masterabschlüsse für Lehrämter in Niedersachsen (Nds.MasterVO-Lehr); § 8 – Studienrelevanter Auslandsaufenthalt beim Studium moderner Sprachen:
1Ist Chinesisch, Englisch, Französisch, Niederländisch, Russisch oder Spanisch Unterrichtsfach, so ist in einem Land, in dem die Sprache Amtssprache ist, ein mindestens dreimonatiger studienrelevanter Auslandsaufenthalt zu absolvieren. 2Die Hochschule kann hiervon aus schwerwiegenden persönlichen Gründen Ausnahmen zulassen. 3Der Auslandsaufenthalt kann während des Bachelor- oder Masterstudiums absolviert werden. 4Ist auch das weitere Unterrichtsfach eine moderne Sprache, so ist ein zweiter Auslandsaufenthalt nicht erforderlich. 5 Ein im Ausland abgeleistetes fachdidaktisch oder bildungswissenschaftlich orientiertes Praktikum kann auf die Dauer des Auslandsaufenthalts angerechnet werden.
Source: Nds. MasterVO-Lehr
Criteria and Requirements
What counts as an official stay abroad?
The British and American Studies Department's official pre-pandemic criteria for what is acceptable for a stay abroad (and what is not!) can be downloaded HERE. If you are unsure about whether your planned activities are acceptable and whether you'll be able to receive full credit for your time away from Oldenburg, please confirm this with one of the departmental advisors BEFORE you leave!
Is a stay abroad compulsory?
Naturally, it is strongly recommended that all students of English complement their studies with time spent abroad in an English-speaking country, either as a student, or in a job, internship or volunteer placement.
However, students intending to graduate with the degree Master of Education (Grund-, Haupt- und Realschule; Gymnasium; Sonderpädagogik; Berufsbildende Schulen) must complete and submit proof of a three-month (twelve-week) stay abroad undertaken during their university studies by the time they submit their master’s thesis. In particular, it is strongly recommended that those intending to graduate with the degree Master of Education (Grund-, Haupt- und Realschule) complete this stay abroad during the bachelor degree.*
“Studierende mit dem Studienziel Master of Education (Grund-, Haupt- und Realschule), (Gymnasium), (Sonderpädagogik) und (Berufsbildende Schulen) müssen bis zur Anmeldung der Masterarbeit einen dreimonatigen Studienaufenthalt im Ausland nachweisen. Besonders Studierenden mit dem Studienziel Master of Education (Grund-, Haupt- und Realschule) wird empfohlen, das Auslandssemester bereits im Bachelor zu absolvieren.”
*However, experience suggests that students intending to graduate with the degree Master of Education (Sonderpädagogik) may find it easier to complete their stay abroad during their master's degree, due to scheduling and curricular demands in their first subject.
Under normal circumstances, the stay abroad must be completed before students register to write their master’s thesis. (Only students studying English as an extra/third subject are able to postpone the stay abroad until after their thesis has been written.)
If you received credit for going abroad from another university before transferring to Oldenburg, then you need to get it credited in Oldenburg as well. Note that your stay abroad should meet the Oldenburg criteria and not those from your previous university!§
§ If you are transferring from another university in Lower Saxony that had already recognised your stay abroad, then please contact the (Dr Anna Auguscik).
However, for the duration of the Covid-19 travel restrictions only, the requirements and criteria for the compulsory stay abroad have been much more flexible. See here for the temporary criteria and the various options now available. Further information can be found in the Stud.IP course "3.02.086: Organisation and Supervision of Compulsory Stay Abroad [Anglistik/Amerikanistik]"
Help! I have small children / a chronic medical condition / other commitments in Germany and can’t be away for so long.
Generally speaking, you need to complete the stay abroad during your studies 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 (Dr Anna Auguscik).
~ This includes students who feel they cannot go abroad at all; as well as students who have been abroad in the past but who feel unable to go again during their degrees; and students who are seeking permission to divide the stay abroad into two - or more - blocks. Please be aware that there is no guarantee you will be granted special consideration in these cases!
The temporary criteria give more options to current Oldenburg students in this category - see Stud.IP for more details.
1: Students who are studying two modern languages as potential teaching subjects only need to complete a stay abroad for one of the languages. (If you are studying French or Spanish in Bremen, you may also need to notify the Oldenburg Prüfungsamt that you have completed the stay abroad.)
2: Native speakers of English who grew up in a country with English as an official language can apply for an exemption from the stay abroad. This does not apply to students who grew up speaking English in Germany (eg. with a parent who is a native speaker of English.)