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What is Erasmus+?

Over 3 million students in Europe have experienced it and nearly every participant enthuses for several semesters on their return about the wonderful ERASMUS time they had.

But what does ERASMUS+ mean exactly?

The EU established the ERASMUS Programme in 1987 to increase the mobility of European students, to strengthen the cooperation between European universities and so further the integration of Europe. Since then the Programme has steadily grown and today 28 Member States and the EFTA countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey participate in it.
Further information on the ERASMUS+ Programme is available here or in the Go Out brochure.

All Bielefeld faculties maintain ERASMUS+ Cooperations with various European partner institutions. A number of academic staff, the so-called ERASMUS+ representatives, are responsible for these cooperations.

ERASMUS+ encourages equal opportunities and inclusion. Therefore the sending institution can request special funding for single parents and for students and staff with a 50 percent or higher degree of disability.

In addition to that, the Faculty of Sociology participates in the ERASMUS+ programme Mobility with Partner Countries beyond Europe. Further information can be found here.

+ Conditions for ERASMUS+ funding
  • Three months study abroad must be completed, not exceeding 12 months in total. We recommend a stay abroad of nine months or one academic year respectively.
  • The student must be in his/her second year of study.
  • Adequate knowledge of the language is essential to study abroad, but there are many possibilities to prepare for this. For further information, please see -> Preparation.
  • A student (MA,BA, or doctoral) may apply for a maximum of 12 months ERASMUS+ funding per study cycle, independent of the number or type of mobility activities undertaken.
    • Example for maximum ERASMUS+ funding of study for a BA student: 5 months ERASMUS+ study (e.g. at a university in Spain) plus 3 months ERASMUS+ internship (e.g. working for a company in Turkey) plus 4 months ERASMUS+ graduate internship (e.g. at an institute in Sweden).
    • Further information on ERASMUS+ internships available here.
+ Advantages of ERASMUS+

Recognition of Credits

The participating universities are obliged to fully recognise academic achievements for completed courses and credits.
The ECTS (European Community Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) is the tool used to recognise such achievements. Courses or qualifications completed abroad are awarded with ECTS credits. Using these credits, the process of academic recognition is completed in Bielefeld. The respective Programme Representatives and the Examination Office are responsible for this task.

Part-Cost Grants and BAFöG (state financial assistance for education)

Within the framework of ERASMUS+ it is possible to apply for a part-cost grant which is not dependent on study outcomes. The amount of funding per month is allocated in three country groupings, distributed as follows:

  1. Group 1: at least €250 per month: Denmark, Finland, France, UK, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Norway, Austria, Sweden
  2. Group 2: at least €200 per month: Belgium, Greece, Iceland, Croatia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Cyprus
  3. Group 3: at least €150 per month: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Macedonia, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia, Hungary
In addition to the ERASMUS+ part-cost funding, students who receive BAFöG funding (state financial assistance for education) may apply for "Auslands BAFöG" (BAFöG funding to study abroad). If you have not been eligible to claim BAFöG before, it is still advisable to look into this, as income limits for this type of funding are different to those for BAFöG within Germany. You need to apply to the BAFöG Office responsible for the country you wish to visit. Information is available on the Internet under the search term: BAFöG . More information is available here.

Easing your studies abroad

There are no tuition fees for ERASMUS+ students and generally it is simpler to enrol. There is also support on offer in many places, e.g. induction days, language courses for ERASMUS+ students or help in finding accommodation. Students do not have to pay the semester fee to Bielefeld University during their stay abroad (with a leave of absence).

Special funding

Special funding can be requested for students with children and for students with disabilities.

+ How do I apply?

Step by step towards your ERASMUS+ Semester

  • Step 1: Find out basic information

    The most important point of contact for students wishing to study abroad with ERASMUS+ is the respective Programme Representative. Programme Representatives of particular faculties are responsible for student applications to the partner universities and can inform you about programmes of study at partner institutions.
    An overview of the partner universities as well as the Programme Representatives from all faculties is available here.

  • Step 2: Application

    The application to participate in the ERASMUS+ Programme is also made through the Programme Representatives. Applicants should speak in detail with their Programme Representative about the terms of application as well as the subsequent procedures. Find out about application deadlines as these vary according to faculty. In general, application deadlines lie between January and March for the following winter and summer semester. Most applications require three documents: letter of motivation, documentation of study, certificate of language proficiency.
    The selection criteria include a convincing letter of motivation and proficient knowledge of the host institution's language of instruction (B1 or higher).

  • Step 3: After approval of application

    As soon as you have received confirmation from the Programme Representative that your application has been successful, please check the enrolment requirements and deadline on the homepage of your guest university. Please enrol by the deadline given by the guest university. The ERASMUS code for Bielefeld University is: D BIELEFE 01. Following your nomination you should also apply online via the following link:
    ->Apply online
    You will then receive a letter of confirmation that can be used for other authorities or other institutions.

+ Preparation for your stay abroad

Contact to the guest university

Contact your guest university as soon as possible to clarify questions about accommodation, study begin, language and other courses to prepare you. The most important information, contact details and application forms are often available on the guest university website. If that is not the case, you can contact the International Office or ERASMUS Office of the guest university. Please note deadlines of the guest university!

Online registration and ERASMUS+ confirmation

Please register as soon as possible on the Internet site of the International Office. We can then give you an official certificate of your ERASMUS+ status and your grant can be paid in good time. We will send you the certificate upon receipt of the signed documents and you can submit this document to government offices (e.g. BAFöG office, Studierendensekretariat (Student Office), Kindergeldkasse (child benefit office) etc. If you require the certificate sooner (nomination letter also in English or French), please contact us. Here you can register online. The registration should be completed by 15 June.
The grant is paid in two instalments. The first instalment, which is paid at the start of your study abroad, covers the months stated on your online registration minus one month's payment. The second instalment, i.e. the grant for the remaining month, will be paid on your -> return after you have submitted the necessary documents.The second instalment will only be paid if the actual duration of your stay abroad corresponds with the details given in your acceptance letter.

Language preparation

Some universities require a certificate of language proficiency. Please contact the Language Centre if you require a certificate. Even if a certificate is not required, it is advisable to take advantage of the language courses and tandems on offer at the Language Centre to help you prepare for your stay abroad. There are also courses in less commonly spoken languages (not English, French and Spanish) tailored to ERASMUS+ students at certain universities. More information is available in our brochure and on our website.

Compulsory online-language test
Since 11 November 2014 the European Commission has provided an online language test for five languages (EN, ES, FR, IT, NL). Before your ERASMUS+ stay begins, we will send you an email with your login details for the obligatory language test. The test is not part of the selection procedure for participation in ERASMUS+, but serves to document your language proficiency. After your return we will invite you to take the language test again so that you can document your progress.

Language support - online language courses
In addition, the European Commission offers free tutored online language courses for the five languages tested (EN, ES, FR, IT, NL) providing the obligatory language test has been taken. After completing the language test we will send you access details and you can visit the online language course at any time.

"Auslands BAFöG" (BAFöG to study abroad)

In addition to the ERASMUS+ part-cost funding, students who receive BAFöG funding (state financial assistance for education) may apply for "Auslands BAFöG" (funding to study abroad). If you haven't applied for BAFöG before, then it is advisable to check if you are eligible for BAFöG to study abroad, as income limits for this funding are different to those for BAFöG within Germany. You need to apply to the BAFöG Office responsible for the country you wish to visit. Information is available on the Internet under the search term "BAFöG".

Learning Agreement

To ensure that academic achievements during your stay at a guest university are recognised on your return you should enter any courses you wish you study in the Learning Agreement. It is best to discuss your choice of course with your ERASMUS+ Programme Representative. Before you go abroad, the Learning Agreement must be signed by you, your Programme Representative at Bielefeld Unversity, and the Erasmus Coordinator at your guest university. It is possible to make changes to the Learning Agreement after your arrival.

Health Insurance

You can apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are covered by the national health insurance. Privately insured students can speak to their health insurance providers on how to insure themselves abroad. We also recommend that you take out an accident and personal liability insurance (this is possible through the DAAD).

Leave of absence/ Re-enrolment at Bielefeld University

You can take a leave of absence for the duration of your stay abroad. You will need the leave of absence form provided by the Student Office and the document confirming your nomination for the ERASMUS+ Programme, sent to you by the International Office by post. Please note: A leave of absence is not possible if you are taking an examination at Bielefeld University or if you wish to terminate your studies in the semester in which you are studying abroad. Futher information is available at the Studierendendekretariat (Student Office).
->Re-enrolment and Leave of absence

Information events offered by the International Office

In April/May the International Office hosts an information day especially for ERASMUS+ students where you can find out more information about the Programme and meet former ERASMUS+ students.

Translation of Transcript

If your guest university requires a transcript in the English language the translation can be verified and certified by the International Office. Here you can find further information and support on the translation. Templates for the transcript can be downloaded here.

Subletting a flat

If you do not want to give up your flat or room when you go abroad, you may rent it out to international students who are staying in Bielefeld during your absence. You can find the form and contact details here.


If you want to get a taste of ERASMUS+ atmosphere before you go, you can mentor ERASMUS+ students on our Brother-Sister Programme, who are spending one or two semesters in Bielefeld. Further information on this programme and details on how to register are available here.

Reports of experiences

There are probably lots of things you want to know about the place you will be visiting and your guest university. Reports of experiences by former ERASMUS+ students can give you an insight into your destination and add to your anticipation. You can read these reports here.
->Checklist to download

+ During your stay

"Confirmation of participation"

Please officially confirm your date of arrival as soon as possible after your arrival. The Confirmation of Participation form must be signed and certified by your guest university. Before you leave you also need to confirm the date of departure.

Learning Agreement

You may need to make changes to your Learning agreement in some circumstances. Changes to your original study plan must be discussed with the academic coordinator at the guest university as well as the Programme Representative at Bielefeld University.

„Transcript of Records”

At the end of your stay please request a Transcript of Records (ToR) from your guest university (most universities issue this automatically). The ToR documents the courses that you attended and results you have achieved. The ToR is needed so that your academic achievements can be recognised. Please submit a copy of this to the International Office on your return.

If a problem arises: IO

If there are any problems at your guest university you can contact us at the International Office at any time.
+ After your return

Submission of documents

After you return, please hand in the following documents within 14 days (by 15 August at the latest!) to the International Office (link to PDF-templates): Please note: We can only pay the final instalment of your grant when you have submitted the first two signed documents to the International Office!
You are obliged to hand in a field report after your return, for which you will receive a request via e-mail.


Do you want to maintain contacts with international students? How would you like to get involved as a volunteer in the Brother-Sister Programme? This programme offers Bielefeld students the opportunity to provide individual assistance to international students, support them during their stay in Bielefeld and in so doing create international networks. More information on this Programme and how to register are available here.
+ Any other questions?

If you have any other questions please consult the FAQ Study and Internship of ERASMUS+ or come and talk to the advisor in the Weltbüro (World Office) during our office hours.


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