Students with a residence permit in Germany must note that they cannot spend more than 6 months at a time abroad, otherwise their residence permit will expire! However, as a student of a German higher education institution, you can apply for an extension of this limit and then also study one or two semesters at a foreign higher education institution. Please inform yourself in a timely manner at the relevant office.
Application and Financial Assistance
When do I apply?
The application deadline for most exchange coordinators is January 31. If necessary, please check the pages of the respective institute or department or ask the exchange coordinator in charge of your academic department.
Can I also apply for a study abroad period in the summer semester?
The application deadline of January 31 is always valid for the entire upcoming academic year, starting with the winter semester/autumn term/winter term. In other words, even if you are planning to study abroad with Erasmus+ in the summer semester, you must apply for your spot in the program by January 31 of the preceding year. Please note that the summer semester/ spring term/ summer term at many universities starts as soon as January or early February and therefore overlaps with our winter semester.
What is the deadline for my application to the host university?
Please do your own research on the host university’s website to find information on the application deadline and the documents you need to submit.
Can I apply to more than one department/institute?
Those who study more than one subject may send an application to each of the respective exchange coordinators. If you are offered two spots in the program, you must inform your coordinators as early as possible if you are unable to accept one of them. The spot can then be given to other students.
What level of language proficiency do I need?
It varies depending on the country and the host university. In some countries, such as France, Spain or Italy, knowledge of the national language is absolutely necessary. In most cases, you should have at least a B1 level at the beginning of your stay. You can find more details on the Erasmus+ websites of the respective host university.
In other countries, such as Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, etc., English language skills are usually sufficient. In addition, many host universities offer preparatory intensive language courses in the local language. Please refer to the host university’s website for more information.
Which language certificates do I have to submit?
For the application for the Erasmus+ program within your academic department, UniCert certificates, the PULS course completion certificate (if you participated in a language course), a copy of your secondary school leaving certificate, etc. are usually sufficient. You might need a different certificate for the application at the host university later on, however. The host university will provide you with information on this matter on their Erasmus+ website or by e-mail.
If a DAAD language test is required, you can take one at the UP’s center for languages Zessko at a reasonable price.
Students of the philologies (English, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, etc.) can contact the language division at their department and obtain a language certificate without taking the test.
Can I also apply to other academic departments for a study abroad period?
It is only possible to apply to coordinators for other academic departments in exceptional cases. Many partner universities only accept students from the respective academic department or it may only be possible to take a limited number of courses at another department. Therefore, we recommend that you mainly take advantage of the cooperation offers of your own department. Should you nevertheless decide to apply to another department, please ask the exchange coordinator in advance whether it is possible to apply to a department other than your own.
How do I get a Transcript of Records from the University of Potsdam?
You can find the template for a Transcript of Records in our Download Center. Please send your translation as an editable Word document to transcript-outgoinguuni-potsdampde.
What is a Grant Agreement?
The Grant Agreement (GA) contains information on the amount awarded to you as part of the grant as well as the rights and obligations associated with the Erasmus+ program. Erasmus+ students usually receive the Grant Agreement for study stays from the winter semester onwards at the information session in June. The Grant Agreement for study stays beginning in the summer semester is usually sent to students at the information session in November.
Who pays for my travel expenses?
The Erasmus+ program does not cover your travel expenses. You will receive financial assistance to help you with the cost of living. More information is available here.
I want to go abroad with my child(ren), what do I have to bear in mind?
If you have one or more children and want to take them abroad, you can apply for a special grant. That includes a monthly allowance of €250, a so-called social top-up. For more information and to make arrangements, please contact email@example.com.
I have a disability or chronic health issue, what do I have to bear in mind?
If you have a disability rating of 20 or more (Grad der Behinderung: 20), you can apply for a special grant to help you cover the additional costs associated with your impairment. This is a so-called social top-up amounting to €250 per month. If you have a disability rating of 20 or more (Grad der Behinderung: 20), you can also submit a comprehensive application (“Langantrag”) to subsidize additional costs and you can apply for preparatory visits. Further information is available here.
You can also apply for Social Top-Up in the amount of 250 euros per month if you have a chronic illness, provided that you can present a medical certificate confirming the additional costs incurred abroad due to your illness.
If there are equality measures in place for you at the University of Potsdam (compensation for disadvantages), we can help you to apply for them at the host university as well.
What are Social Top Ups and for whom is this special funding available?
Social Top-Ups are a special grant in the amount of 250 euros per month. In addition to students with children, students with disabilities and students with chronic illnesses, first-time academics and certain gainfully employed students can also be sponsored.
For first-time academics , both parents or caregivers must not have a degree from a university or university of applied sciences (for single parents, one parent is sufficient).
Working students must have been employed for a continuous period of 6 months between July 31st of the year preceding the application and the beginning of their stay abroad, earning between 450 and 850 euros net per month.
Is sustainable travel being supported?
From the academic year 2022/23, green travel can be funded through Erasmus+. If you use sustainable transport for your mobility, you can receive a one-time travel grant of 50 Euro. "Green travel" is defined as travel that uses low-emission means of transport such as bus, train or carpooling for the main part of the trip.
In addition, up to four more days can be funded at the regular daily rate if your travel time is extended due to sustainable travel. If your outbound or return journey is extended by more than 8 hours, you can be funded for one additional day each. If your outbound or return journey is extended by more than 24 hours, you can be funded for an additional two days at a time.
The additional funds for green travel can be applied for via the Declaration of Honour in the Download Centre.
Online Learning Agreement (OLA)
What is an Online Learning Agreement (OLA)?
Starting in 2021, the Online Learning Agreement will replace the previous analog Learning Agreement on paper. Instead of having to fill out PDFs, print them out, sign them, scan them, and email them, you will now be able to complete the entire process digitally using one platform: https://www.learning-agreement.eu/.
Just as before, the OLA is a learning agreement that lists both the courses you want to take at the host university (table A) and how those courses will be recognized here at the University of Potsdam (table B). It is one of the central documents in the Erasmus+ program and considered a prerequisite for receiving financial support for your stay abroad.
The OLA consists of two parts: 'OLA before the mobility' (must be concluded before the start of the mobility) and 'OLA during the mobility' (in case of changes, within the first four weeks). Once you have completed your Erasmus mobility, your host university will issue a Transcript of Records which replaces the 'OLA after the mobility'.
In the analog Learning Agreement cycle, the following documents existed: LA Before the mobility, During the mobility, and After the mobility. Please only use them if your host university does not yet use the OLA.
Where do I get my access information for the OLA?
You can create your user account on your own. Instructions on how to do this are provided in the student guide. Please do NOT use a Google account. Please make sure to only use the email address of the University of Potsdam.
How do I fill out the OLA?
The steps to fill out the OLA using the platform https://www.learning-agreement.eu/ are mostly intuitive. A student guide created by the International Office will guide you through the process and answer key questions.
Who signs my OLA?
The OLA must be signed by you, the chairperson of the Examining Board for your degree program at the University of Potsdam, and a representative of your host university. There are exceptions to this rule in some academic departments. For example, the exchange coordinator may sign the OLA instead of the chairperson of the Examining Board. You can find details about these exceptions in the OLA student guide. The International Office will only sign if it is explicitly requested by the host university. You are responsible for obtaining the signatures yourself. The OLA is only valid with all signatures.
Who signs if more than one academic department is involved?
The OLA can only be signed by one authorized signatory per university. Nevertheless, if you are enrolled in more than one subject at the University of Potsdam and would like to have the courses of the host university recognized in different subjects, you must get confirmations for this from all academic departments involved.
The person authorized to sign the OLA should be with the department which will later recognize the majority of the courses you completed abroad. Obtain the other confirmation(s) by email and forward these arrangements to the person authorized to sign the OLA for a signature that covers all courses.
What is the deadline for submitting the OLA?
The deadline for submitting the OLA is based on the starting date of your study abroad period. The 'OLA before the mobility' must be signed by all parties before the start of your stay abroad. You can make changes within 5 weeks after the start of the semester at the partner university; use the 'OLA during the mobility' for this purpose (see also: section entitled 'Do I have to conclude an OLA during the mobility?'). Please always send the PDF generated on the platform, with all required signatures, to the International Office.
Can I also use the template of the host university?
As of 2021, all universities participating in the Erasmus program are required to use the OLA. If your host university is currently unable to implement this, it is possible to use their template in that exceptional case, provided that the template also contains tables A and B.
What data do I have to enter into table B?
Please enter the modules in table B for which you would like to have credits recognized at the University of Potsdam for the courses from table A. You do not have to enter course titles, only module titles. The number of courses and points in table A does not necessarily have to be the same as in table B. Table B is not optional and must be filled out!
I do not want to have any credits recognized. What do I put in table B?
In principle, the credits you have earned abroad should be recognized at the University of Potsdam. However, if you have already earned all credits for your program and no further recognition is possible, please write this down in table B. A more detailed explanation would have to be provided by e-mail or as an attachment, if necessary.
What happens if I do not have enough points?
You should aim for 30 ECTS points per semester (or 20 ECTS points per trimester). If you do not meet this target, you will have to write a statement of reasons (see templates on our website), which we will have to present to the DAAD in case of further inquiries.
If you have achieved less than 15 points per semester, we reserve the right to require you to pay back parts of the grant on a pro-rata basis. If you have not achieved any points at all, you will have to pay back the grant.
Do I have to submit the original of my OLA?
No, with the OLA you download the fully signed OLA as a PDF and submit it to the International Office via email. In the case of an analog Learning Agreement, a scan or copy of sufficient quality will suffice; photos will not be accepted.
I would like to change certain details in my OLA
Generally, the 'OLA during the mobility' is designed to facilitate changes to your course choice immediately after you have started your stay abroad. Please read the FAQ article 'Do I have to conclude an OLA during the mobility?
However, if you need to make changes to your original OLA, e.g. an incorrect contact person or details of courses or modules in Table A or B, you can also do this in your original OLA ('OLA before the mobility'). Please note that once you have signed the OLA for the first time, you will not be able to make any changes. The change function is disabled until either your sending institution or your receiving institution has rejected the OLA. The rejection reopens the OLA for changes by you.
Please also read the guide.
Do I have to conclude an 'OLA during the mobility'?
You only need to conclude the 'OLA during the mobility' if there are changes to your original selection of courses ('OLA before the mobility'). Please remember that you need to have the changes confirmed again by your academic department at the University of Potsdam and the host university. The 'OLA during the mobility' is concluded in the same way as the 'OLA before the mobility'; please refer to the student guide for instructions.
Do I have to take the OLS test?
All Erasmus+ students must complete the OLS tests. Only native speakers of the language are exempt from taking the test.
UPDATE: At this time (winter semester 2022/23) you do not need to take an OLS test due to technical issues with the platform.
I have not yet received an invitation to the OLS test. Why is that?
You will receive the invitation to the OLS test after submitting the Grant Agreement. If you have not received an invitation at that point, please inform the International Office.
UPDATE NOTE: Unfortunately, the automatic invitation to the OLS test is not working at this time, if you would still like to take a test and gain access to the optional language courses, register independently at https://academy.europa.eu/.