Going Abroad

Going abroad should be a key element in studying a foreign language. While students of English and American studies can gather experience about Britain, the US, Canada and other anglophone places through travel or short visits, these stays mostly do not provide the kinds of insights graduates will want to have. And they rarely allow for the personal growth that usually accompanies a longer stay in a foreign country. The information below therefore provides guidance for various options students at Erlangen have for going abroad. Neither our BA programmes nor our teaching degrees have a specific semester set aside for going abroad. Many students aim for their foreign placement following the fourth semester at Erlangen; but there are numerous reasons why a different point in time might be better suited for others. Speak to your advisers about your specific needs:

General advice
Kerstin Maurer

Departmental Advisers
Prof. Dr. Gerd Bayer – UK, Ireland, Australia, anglophone Africa, etc.
Dr. Katharina Gerund – USA / Canada


There are various ways of studying in the United States and Canada :

(a) Those students being able to pay full tuition fees can contact their prospective host universities directly and ask about the modalities for spending one or two terms in a degree program or as a non-degree-seeking student at the location of their choosing. At the very top-tier US universities, fees and living costs are likely to add up to around US $ 60,000 per year, but, of course,  it is possible to study at an American university at lower costs.

(b) There is funding available for well qualified and highly motivated students through either the German-American Fulbright Program or the DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service); both programs  annually open a round of application (application deadlines in June and July, respectively) for quite generous scholarships that cover most costs associated with studying abroad. In order to succeed, you should have top grades and have a clear plan of study in mind that matches a particular degree program or a specific field of studies at a given university. Other scholarships are granted by the local branch of the VDAC (Verein der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Clubs) for the USA and by PÉÉ (Programme d’Échanges Étudiants) for Canada (application deadline: usually in January). At present, there is only one English-speaking university available in the latter program: Bishop‘s University (Sherbrooke, Québec).

(c) The FAU runs a number of exchange programs with  universities on a mutual basis. Successful applicants usually get a tuition waiver at their respective host institution plus varying other benefits (e.g. teaching assistantships). At present you may apply for an academic year (only MSU offers a shorter stay) at the following universities and colleges in the US and Canada:

– University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

– Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA)

– University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS)

– Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI)

– Minnesota State University (Mankato, MN)

– Concordia University (Edmonton, Alberta)

Further particulars are listed on the homepage of the International Office (Referat für Internationale Angelegenheiten). To apply for the exchange, students generally need to submit a letter of motivation, a current transcript of records, and two letters of recommendation by local teachers. The deadline is usually mid-November; please contact Kerstin Maurer.

There are (at least) three ways of studying in Britain (and elsewhere). Those willing and able to pay full tuition fees can contact their prospective host universities directly and enquire about the modalities for spending one or two semesters as a non-degree-seeking student at their dream location. The most prestigious universities in England now routinely charge an annual tuition fee in excess of €10.000. Additional costs for travel, accommodation, and everyday expenses further add to the sum total.

There is funding available for well qualified and highly motivated students through the DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service), which annually opens a round of application for generous scholarships that cover most costs associated with studying abroad. Successful applicants usually have a clear academic goal in mind that requires them to attend a particular degree programme at a particular university.

A third option consists of exchange programmes that the English department runs with a number of European partners, supported by EU-funds under the Erasmus+ rubric. Successful applicants do not have to pay tuition fees at their host institutions and receive a stipend to defray costs associated with studying abroad. At present the Department of English at Erlangen has contracts with universities in Great Britain (Kent and Birmingham), Ireland (University College Dublin, Limerick and Cork), Denmark (Roskilde), Norway (Oslo), Sweden (Stockholm), Belgium (Louvain), and Poland (Wroclaw). Most partners expect students to stay for a full academic year. Further particulars are listed, by department, with our International Office. To apply for a placement with the English department, students need to submit a letter of motivation and a current transcript of records through our online application tool. The link is available here from 15 December to 15 January. Placement offers will be sent out via e-mail starting by the end of January: applicants are therefore urged to check for messages frequently since offers need to be accepted within about five days. Incoming Erasmus students interested in taking courses in the English department are welcome to contact Prof. Dr. Gerd Bayer; they can find information about course offerings via Univis.

In the past, students have also successfully arranged for international placements at universities in Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Since the department has no formalized partnerships with universities in these geographical regions, such plans ask for a good amount of initiative; but reports from returning students demonstrate that such plans are well worth the effort.

Each year, the PAD (Pädagogischer Austauschdienst), selects a number of teaching assistants to work in schools, colleges, and universities, mostly teaching German as a foreign language. Most host countries require the successful completion of at least four semesters; some places even require a teaching qualification (1. Staatsexamen). Successful applicants will have a good understanding of foreign language learning and teaching, ideally have some experience working with children or young adults, and feel confident about the idea of living and working in a foreign country. After submitting their documents, select applicants will be invited for an interview at a school close to their university. The assistantships usually cover all living expenses in the host country; please note that the application deadlines in Bavaria is 1 January (for UK).

Practical Training in the US: There is an exchange program for 10 advanced students in teacher training (Lehramtsstudiengänge Englisch) in Georgia, USA . The program is tutored by the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega; duration is one US term (August 1 until the end of December). For further information contact Prof. Dr. Thorsten Piske or Kerstin Maurer.

Increasingly, students are required to take up internships to smooth their transition into the labour force. Some degree programmes (for instance, our teaching stream) even determines that a certain number of weeks on internship placements be taken. For all internships, students are expected to contact potential places directly and negotiate friendly terms for their stay in the host organization. For placements within the extended EU-sphere, funding is available through Erasmus+. For further information, please contact the study-abroad advisers in your academic department. Occasionally, posts are listed on the English department notice board (next to room C3A2). General information about possible places on The British Isles is collected by the British Council. For the USA, please visit Council on International Educational Exchange. When dealing with private (for profit) companies promising exciting internship placements for a sizeable up-front fee, do not abandon all caution.

Leave of Absence / Course Transfer

When studying abroad or taking up a longer internship, students should apply for a leave of absence (Beurlaubung) with the registrar. This procedure not only guarantees that, upon their return, students can continue in their original programme of studies; it also allows for a smooth transition of health insurance, student loans (BAföG), and related issues. After spending time abroad, students can apply for course work to be transferred into the degree programmes at their home institution. To start this process, please contact Dr. Harald Zapf (for courses in English and American studies), Dr. Ingrid Fandrych (for applied language courses), or Prof. Dr. Thorsten Piske (for courses in teaching pedagogy).


Further Information

Current information about events, open places, and other material is posted on the notice boards of the American Studies programme (next to room C302) and, for the rest of the world, on the board next to room C3A2. Various academic agencies offer information targeted at students who want to go abroad, for instance the DAAD with material aimed at students in our teaching degree programmes.

Each semester, the study abroad advisers run an info-night that introduces the main programmes.

More general information is available from the university’s international office.