Frequently Asked Questions


(click each question for more information)

General queries

NEW: Where can I find the most up-to-date-information about the compulsory stay abroad (02/21)

This website will only be updated infrequently during the pandemic.

For the most up-to-date information on the topic of the compulsory stay abroad, please join the Stud.IP group "3.02.086 - Organisation and Supervision of Compulsory Stay Abroad [Anglistik/Amerikanistik]".

  • Read through the information there and post your questions in the forum!
  • This is also where you need to submit/upload your documents to get credit for your stay abroad (work or study), or to get learning agreements signed - do not just send them via e-mail!

Best wishes,

the Auslandsberatung team

Which countries are considered ‘English-speaking’?

  • The obvious options include the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.
  • Other less common but equally acceptable destinations are Singapore, Malta, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Guyana, Caribbean countries with English as an official language, English-speaking islands in the South Pacific such as Fiji (avoid former French colonies and French overseas territories) and a number of countries in Africa including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Namibia is normally acceptable, but please check with us in advance. The same applies to Dubai.
  • This list  of countries is fairly complete as a starting point.

Can I combine different options for the stay abroad?

Yes. It is possible to combine different options (language course; internship; multiple jobs) as long as they take place consecutively or simultaneously, 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.)

Any requests to complete the stay abroad in two or more blocks (eg. 2 x six weeks) must go via the (Dr Anna Auguscik).

I have children / a chronic illness / am a carer - am I exempt from the stay abroad?

If you are dealing with a situation that makes it impossible for you to complete a stay abroad that fulfils the standard criteria, then please contact the (Dr Anna Auguscik) as soon as possible!

You must provide proof of completion of the stay abroad by the time you register your Master's thesis. If you cannot complete a standard stay, for example due to family or health issues, CONTACT US ABOUT ALTERNATIVES WELL AHEAD OF TIME! Do not leave this until the last minute.

Note: Any requests for special consideration in this area need to be accompanied by appropriate (medical or government) documentation. Students suffering from mental health issues are often concerned about the effect treatment may have on their chances of "Verbeamtung" later on. The staff in the department are aware that this can be a difficult choice, but we cannot proceed without the appropriate paperwork. You may want to contact the Psychologischer Beratungsservice [direct link here] if you are struggling with this.

Can the English department help me pay for my stay abroad?

No. The English and American Studies Deparment does not offer any financial support for the compulsory stay abroad. See here for information about other options for funding your stay.

When can I apply for funding or a paid position?

Please check the individual scholarship and job/exchange programmes for up-to-date information about application deadlines for different funding options.

Generally speaking, the key deadlines are roughly as follows:

I need a signature! Who can I ask?

That depends on what sort of paperwork you are completing! (This chart can also point you in the right direction.)

  • Credit for the stay abroad: Anna Auguscik (or Lauren Freede in her absence), but read this first!
  • Härtefälle applications: Anna Auguscik (or Lauren Freede in her absence).
  • AuslandsBAföG: Anna Auguscik (or Lauren Freede in her absence).
  • Erasmus+ (internship):  Lauren Freede (or Anna Auguscik in her absence).
  • Final signature on a non-binding learning agreement: Lauren Freede OR Anna Auguscik
  • Promos: Lauren Freede OR Anna Auguscik
  • General confirmation of stay abroad for future employers / discount travel etc: Lauren Freede OR Anna Auguscik (but see if this letter will work first!)

I've heard there are lots of useful documents available. Where can I find them?

Go straight to the useful stay abroad documents! (They are sorted based on different stages in the planning process.)

I've planned a stay abroad but there are now problems due to the Coronavius / Brexit / a civil war / riots in the street / a family emergency! What should I do?

(1) For information on the impact of COVID-19 on the stay abroad, see the updates at the top of the page here.

(2) With regard to Brexit, it remains unclear what will happen at the end of 2020, and we can say very little with certainty at this stage. Erasmus study programmes (although not Erasmus funding for living expenses) are guaranteed until the end of the next academic year; Erasmus internships that begin before the end of the transition agreement (currently 31.12.2020 ) should be able to be completed as planned. For everything beyond that, see the DAAD website and other official sites for up-to-date information.

(3) If you are faced with issues such as civil unrest, disease, cyclones, earthquakes, political disruption etc, then do not panic - no-one is expected to complete a stay abroad in a war zone! We will work with any students who have to cancel a stay abroad at the last minute or who need to come home early to make sure they are not disadvantaged. Just make sure you contact the Fachstudienberatung as early as possible if you have any serious problems. If you have to leave in a hurry, please make sure someone is aware of your location at all times!

Do note that the English department in Oldenburg cannot offer any emergency support - please contact the appropriate authorities (police, embassy etc.) abroad in these situations.

(4) If a family or personal emergency (medical or otherwise) forces you to end your stay abroad early, then please keep the relevant student advisors informed. Again, if you have to leave in a hurry, make sure you inform your university/workplace etc. If possible, you are of course encouraged to discuss your situation in advance before simply coming back to Germany.

If you need to interrupt your stay abroad for medical reasons, please see a doctor for appropriate documentation as soon as possible.


What's the latest stay abroad news?

See here.

But to be really up-to-date,  please sign up for the Stud.IP course "3.02.086 Organisation and Supervision of Compulsory Stay Abroad [Anglistik/Amerikanistik]". Read through the information there and post your questions in the forum!

Previous stays abroad

I spent time in an English-speaking country or environment before starting my studies - will it count?

Generally speaking, when we're not in the middle of a pandemic, the stay abroad needs to be completed during your studies and NOT BEFORE. This can be during either the BA or MEd degree. There are more details in the official criteria.

If any of the following situations apply to you, please contact the (Dr Anna Auguscik) for advice. Note that none of these can be automatically recognised for the stay abroad and your chances of getting credit in most cases are very low!

  • You spent time at high school in an English-speaking country before you started university.
  • You spent time as an au pair in an English-speaking country - for example between leaving school and starting university (and may or may not have taken language or university courses at the same time).
  • You worked in a job with a clear relevance for your planned degree (such as working as an assistant teacher or house assistant at a boarding school) before starting your studies in Oldenburg.
  • You completed a degree in English in a non-English speaking country.
  • You completed a degree from a country where English is the official or dominant language.
  • You previously spent an extended period of time living in an English-speaking country (at least three years) at an age where you were able to have extensive contact with a range of English speakers (ie. not as a baby!)
  • English is your native language.

My previous university gave me credit for an internship or semester completed in English in a *non-English* speaking country. Can I get credit for this in Oldenburg?

No. You may be able to get credit for subjects studied in English at a university in a non-English-speaking country, but this will not count as the compulsory stay abroad. Generally you will only get credit if your time abroad also meets the Oldenburg criteria (in terms of length, timing, activities and location).

If you feel you cannot go abroad again for family, health or other reasons and would like to ask for your previous stay to be recognised even if it does not meet these criteria, then please contact the (Dr Anna Auguscik).*

*This may also apply to students who previously studied in Göttingen.

My previous university gave me credit for an internship/language course abroad that would also meet the Oldenburg criteria, but it was shorter than twelve weeks! Can I still get credit for this?

That depends.

Did you spend at least 81 days abroad and work for at least sixty days? Then PERHAPS.

Was the stay abroad substantially shorter (eg. only six weeks in total)? Then PROBABLY NOT.

If either case applies to you, then please contact the (Dr Anna Auguscik).

Studying abroad

Which partner universities do we have? Where can I find out more?

For general information about studying abroad, see here.

For further information, contact Christa Weers (Erasmus), Ann-Kristin Schuling (North America) and Roman Behrens (outside Europe/NA) at the International Office.

What is the general timeline for study abroad applications?

Note that the majority of study abroad programmes are run via the IO -  see here for more information.

A very rough timeline of the different countries and their deadlines can be found below. Please keep this in mind when you are planning your stay abroad - there is no point asking about Erasmus places in March or trying to apply for the USA in August. Remember that all places are awarded for the next academic year.

  • January-February: English department Erasmus application period
  • Feb-April: any remaining Erasmus places (awarded via the ISO only)
  • March-June: direct EU/free mover applications, UK/Ireland/Malta (for following WiSe)
  • July-August: partner universities outside the EU (Australia/South Africa/India etc
  • September-October: direct EU/free mover applications, UK/Ireland/Malta (for following SoSe)
  • October-November: partner universities in North America (US/Canada)
  • November: any remaining places for partner universities outside the EU
  • October-December: English department Erasmus partners; Erasmus partner universities through outher departments and faculties

You should also keep the following rough semester dates in mind (each university differs slightly):

  • Semester 1, Australia/New Zealand/South Africa: Late February-June
  • Semester 2, Australia/New Zealand/South Africa: July-November
  • Winter semester, UK/Ireland Malta: mid-September-Christmas/early January
  • Summer semester, UK/Ireland Malta: January-May
  • Semester 1/trimester 1, North America: late August/September-Christmas/early January
  • Semester 2/trimester 2 or 3, North America: January-May

Do I need to complete a language test to study abroad?

If an overseas university requires an official language test then you will have to do one. If they simply ask for proof that you can speak English/study (in) English, or if you have done an official test that is now older than two years, then you can use this letter. (Remember that universities are not obliged to accept this sort of document.)

Students applying for an exchange place outside the European Union (especially for North America) must submit a valid language test at the time of application! Please consult the Sprachenzentrum for information about suitable tests offered in Oldenburg.

(Note that the DAAD-Sprachnachweis is offered most frequently.)

If you are a student from a non-EU country, then you will probably need an official language test to study abroad in almost every situation. This is particularly likely to be the case if you are from a country whose citizens require an entry visa for the UK or the Republic of Ireland.

How do I check whether the courses I want to study abroad will count? Who can I ask?

You can get advice from the following members of staff. Please note that this should be done via a Blocktermin if at all possible.

  • For general course advice, contact the Fachstudienberatung and see the website.
  • Literature and Cultural Studies - Dr. Anna Auguscik
  • Linguistics and Language Science - Dr. Ilka Flöck
  • Didactics - Christian Kramer
  • Sprachpraxis - Lauren Freede
  • Final signatures on learning agreements - Anna Auguscik for non-binding learning agreements (Lauren Freede in her absence); Erasmus agreements must be signed by Lauren Freede (Dr Auguscik in her absence)
  • PB queries - Nicole Griese

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the appropriate learning agreement (for studying abroad or for an internship abroad) before they go - this will help you avoid issues with credit transfer when you get back.

I'm interested in doing a language course rather than studying. What do I need to keep in mind?

Attending a language school / taking a language course is acceptable for the stay abroad in its own right or in combination with time spent as an au pair or another part time job. The following conditions apply:

  • The language course must be at an appropriately advanced level of C1 or higher.
  • The course does not need to involve a final exam, but the langauge school must be able to document your regular attendance for the duration of your studies.
  • The school must issue documentation about the dates, level and length of the course.
  • If the course is not taken in combination with a job or other position: you should be enrolled in a language school as a full-time student. Individual schools calculate this slightly differently.
    • The absolute minimum number of full-time hours/lessons per week for credit in Oldenburg is twenty (20).
    • Many language schools do offer courses up to 25 or even 28 hours a week - these should always be preferred to a shorter option when available.
    • If you study fewer than twenty hours a week, then you either need an a job/position in addition so that you are working or studying for the equivalent of full-time hours, or you will need to spend more than twelve weeks abroad! (Given the price of many language schools, the latter option might be slightly cheaper.)
  • A part-time course taken in combination with time as an au pair or in another part-time job should involve a minimum of three hours a week (or equivalent in longer blocks) for at least twelve weeks. Four hours a week is preferable.
    • In total, this should involve completing the equivalent of two weeks full-time language study.

*Do note that language courses are NOT usually covered by Auslands-BAföG.§ However, you are are eligible to apply for a PROMOS scholarship to complete a language course.


§ Die Ausbildung i[m Ausland] muss einer Ausbildung in Deutschland, in einem Mitgliedstaat der Europäischen Union oder in der Schweiz gleichwertig sein. Die Gleichwertigkeit ist von Amts wegen zu prüfen. Auf besondere Anforderung ist eine Dokumentation der ausländischen Hochschule vorzulegen.  Sprachkurse erfüllen diese Voraussetzung nicht.

⇒ Quelle hier.


Working abroad

Where can I get advice about finding a job or internship abroad?

Read the advice on the department's website!

If you'd like to talk to someone in person, take advantage of the options currently offered by the Karriereberatung in the ZSKB  (See the Career Service website and this page in particular.)

For information about completing a compulsory school internship abroad, contact Dr. Sylke Bakker / Christian Kramer / the DIZ  

I'd like to work as an au pair during my studies. What do I have to do to make sure it counts?

If you want to go abroad as an au pair, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1) This must take place during your Oldenburg degree - time as an au pair before your studies will not automatically count.

2) In addition to your childcare work, you must also complete a language course at the appropriate level or another type of educational activity in English. (This may also include a second job at the school attended by the family's children or similiar.) It is not enough just to work around the house or babysit.

The language course should be the equivalent of approximately two weeks full time. How you arrange this is up to you. Any of the following options are acceptable:

  • 10 weeks au pair preceeded or followed by two weeks studying. The course and au pair work do not have to be at the same location.
  • A part-time course (eg. several evenings a week) for the duration of the period spent working full-time as an au pair, equivalent to two weeks of study.
  • A full-day activity on weekends involving at least 10 days of study.
  • Part-time childcare work combined with part-time study. You need to accumulate at least 50 working days and 10 study days with this method, which may involve spending more than 12 weeks abroad!

If you choose to do additional part time paid or volunteer work (such as helping at a local school) instead of a language course, this should also be the equivalent of approximately two weeks full time and must be formally documented.

I'd like to work on a farm / be a receptionist / teach surfing / work in a German-run call centre / help save endangered tigers while abroad. Will this count?

As a rule, the following conditions and exclusions apply to activities abroad.

*You should spend timing interacting with other adult speakers of English (at least some of whom should be native speakers) at relatively sophisticated, academic and/or professsional level. This excludes activities such as fruit picking; working in a factory; working in fast-food restaurants; manual farm labour without additional responsibilities; programmes run by German organisations where all the participants are German and there is limited contact to locals; working in German-language office environments; working on a building site...

*Work at the front desk of a hotel or hostel is fine; working in housekeeping in a hotel or similiar without visitor or other staff contact is not.

*Work as an assistant teacher in all types of schools counts, even if it is not the school form you are studying in Oldenburg (ie. MEd Gym students can work in primary/elementary schools). It is also fine to work at a kindergarten or pre-school.

*It is perfectly acceptable to complete an internship teaching German as long as interaction outside the classroom takes place in English.

*Work as a rugby coach or surf teacher can count under some circumstances as long the teaching and profesisonal interaction is in English.

*Work as an au pair needs to be accompanied by some form of academic or formal interaction - a second job, a part-time language course, volunteering at a school...

*Work with wildlife (esp. in Africa) can count, as long as there is sufficient interaction with locals and non-English-speaking co-workers.

*General office or volunteer work in a non-educational context is fine assuming the general criteria are met - you do not have to do something school related!

When in doubt, please contact a stay abroad advisor to check your plans in advance and complete a learning agreement!

How do I check whether the job I've found is acceptable?

Start by checking the stay abroad criteria!

Otherwise, for general job and language course queries - Anna Auguscik (main); Lauren Freede (substitute).

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the appropriate learning agreement for an internship abroad before they go - this will help you avoid issues with credit transfer when you get back.

I want to work at a school in Australia/New Zealand/South Africa but the school term is only ten weeks! What should I do?

Schools in the southern hempisphere (Aus/NZ/SA etc) frequently have shorter ten-week terms, and we often receive enquires about whether this is acceptable for the stay abroad given that it is not always practically to stay into the new term. (This situation also arises in Britain and Ireland on occasion.) This is fine as long as the following conditions are met:

1: Even if you only spend ten weeks actually working at a school, you must spend the full twelve weeks in the country (this can include travel days). In countries like South Africa with very tight 90-day visa restrictions, you should complete a minimum of 81 days.

2: You generally need to complete the equivalent of 60 working days [length of a standard school day] during the stay abroad. Ideally you should try to fulfil this requirement by doing additional hours during your internships (before/after school; on weekends; supervising school sport, music or other extra-curricular activities) or via additional approved activities during the other two weeks (language course, other work experience etc). Please check in advance if you're not sure whether your plans are acceptable and fill in an internship learning agreement to be on the safe side!

3: If you are teaching for fewer than ten weeks, then you will need to make up the time in some way - see the next question for more information.

I have a really interesting job offer, but I wouldn't be working for twelve full weeks! What can I do?

In addition to enquires about the length of school internships in the southern hemisphere (see the previous question), we frequently receive questions about job offers that are shorter than the required twelve weeks and whether this is acceptable for the stay abroad given that it is not always practically to stay longer or work a second job.

This is not a problem under the following conditions:

1: Even if you spend less time working, you must spend the full twelve weeks in the country (this can include travel days). In countries like South Africa with very tight 90-day visa restrictions, you should complete a minimum of 81 days.

2: You generally need to complete the equivalent of 60 working days [length of a standard school day] during the stay abroad. Ideally you should try to fulfil this requirement by doing additional hours during your internships (before/after school; on weekends; supervising school sport, music or other extra-curricular activities) or via additional approved activities during the other two weeks (language course, other work experience etc). Please check in advance if you're not sure whether your plans are acceptable and fill in an internship learning agreement to be on the safe side!

3: If it really isn't possible to complete extra hours on top of your main job, and you are working for a minimum of eight weeks full time (or equivalent), then it may also be possible to make up at least some of the missing hours via the completion of a Lehr/Lerntagebuch or similiar, or an extended report on your job/internship. If you are in this situation, please contact the Fachstudienberatung in advance to be on the safe side! Remember that you must spend the full twelve weeks in the country.

  • A total stay in country of under eleven weeks with no extenuating circumstances and no additional activities, and/or a period of fewer than eight weeks of full time work (or equivalent) without additional activities would therefore not count as fulfilling the requirements of the stay abroad

Can I do an unpaid internship in the US/Australia/South Africa on a tourist visa?

Staff in Anglistik/Amerikanistik are *not* qualified to give immigration advice! Please check with the embassy of the country you are planning to visit. Under no circumstances can we tell you it is OK to break the law and complete a stay abroad without the correct legal documentation - do not ask us to do this.

Here are a few official links to get you started:

* Who needs a visa for the US?

* There is a visa exemption for South Africa for voluntary or charitable activities lasting no longer than three months, but there are no guarantees. It is virtually impossible to get a visa to do an internship in South Africa that lasts longer than three months.

* Working holiday visas can be a good option for countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Note that working holiday visas can be much harder to get if you are over 30. Canada also offers an internship visa.

* As a result of Brexit, you will need a temporary work visa to do an internship in the UK - the process is still being refined but it is likely to be complex and requires a sponsor. At least for the next year or so, the easiest way to arrange this will be via a programme like Erasmus+, which has been extended until 2022 for the moment.

Be aware that doing an internship on a tourist visa is illegal in many countries and can lead to deportation, a lengthy ban on returning to a country or worse. Any plan to do this is entirely at your own risk.

On a happier note, German citizens have full access to the labour market in Ireland.

(Changed: 19 Dec 2022)  |