Study semester abroad
Numerous HKA students complete part of their studies abroad, most of whom do so in the form of a study semester at one of our more than 180 partner universities all over the world. The credits earned abroad are usually transferred to HKA so that the duration of studies is not necessarily extended by the stay abroad. The costs for such a stay abroad are also often lower than expected.
In our globalized world with its increasing internationalization of workforces and business activities it is becoming more and more important to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. At the same time, dealing with rapid changes typical of the modern world of business requires a high degree of independence and a fundamental openness to new ideas. A whole series of studies indicate that these skills are enhanced by a study-related experience abroad.
This is also the conclusion of the study "Mobil zum Ziel“ (in German language only), conducted by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in 2020, on the importance of experience abroad for success in the careers of university graduates:
"Study-related experience abroad is not a formally indispensable prerequisite for making one’s career, but it can lead to additional career options. In case of the same qualifications, graduates with study-related experience abroad have advantages as soon as starting their career, and it is highly likely to increase the chances of taking on a job with international connections."
Implementation and credit transfer at HKA
Check our database of exchange opportunies to see what study semester abroad options are available for the individual degree programs. The study semester abroad is based on full transfer of the credits taken at the partner university. This way, there should be no delay in the course of study. The planning lead time is about eight months. Usually, the partner universities do not charge tuition fees.
However, you also have the possibility to visit a foreign non-partner university on your own account, as a so-called free mover, on a fee-paying basis. You can organize these studies yourself or through agencies such as College Contact, GOstralia, Asia Exchange or GoBali .
Prerequisites for a study semester abroad are the successful completion of the basic studies (2 semesters) and proof of English language skills at minimum B2 level (according to CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Knowledge of the national language is an advantage, especially in the European higher education area, but not a prerequisite.
You need to determine the subjects to be taken together with the department coordinator of the study program prior to the semester abroad, and specify your choice in an academic contract, the so-called Learning Agreement.
Our grade conversion tables show you how the grades from partner universities are converted into the German grading system when you return.
Costs and financing
If you take up an exchange place at one of our partner universities and therefore do not have to pay tuition fees, then the cost of a stay abroad depends mainly on travel expenses and on accommodation and general living costs. Both travel and living costs can vary significantly depending on the destination. In some places, living expenses are so low that you may even be able to save money – depending on your needs – while elsewhere, costs can be significantly higher than in Germany.
If you go to a non-partner university as a free mover you can expect tuition fees of 2,000 to 5,000 euros per semester.
For our partner universities, you can find the expected costs for living and housing at your destination in the factsheets stored in the database or obtain them from the International Office.
As a rule, you should check whether you are eligible for Auslands-BAföG (website in German language). Even if you do not actually receive the national BAföG (student loan/grant) you could still declare a higher need due to the increased financial expenditure abroad – including possible tuition fees of up to 4,600 euros – and the additional travel costs incurred.
Incidentally, in addition to funding through the European Union's Erasmus program for study stays in Europe, there are a number of scholarship providers that grant funding of up to about 1,000 euros per month. You can find the most promising programs listed under Funding.
Here you will find reports on the experiences of fellow HKA students who have already spent a study semester abroad, sorted by country.