You are here: Home Exchange Programs University of Freiburg … University of Freiburg Global …

University of Freiburg Global Exchange Programs: FAQ

The International Office coordinates the university-wide exchange programs with the University of Freiburg's (non-Erasmus) partner universities. Full-time, degree-seeking students can apply for these programs. Here's what you need to know.


What is the University of Freiburg Global Exchange?

The University of Freiburg Global Exchange programs are based on student exchange agreements between the University of Freiburg and our overseas (non-European) partner universities. Exchange means that Freiburg students can study at the partner universities abroad for one or two semesters, and students from our partner universities can do the same in Freiburg.

These programs are university-wide, which means that the International Office - a central administrative office - coordinates this exchange and that all full-time, degree-seeking students at the University of Freiburg can apply at the International Office. Faculties and/or academic departments at the university may have their own student exchange agreements, which they coordinate themselves. Ask your academic advisor for more information.

What are the advantages of an exchange program?

If you wish to study abroad for one or two semesters, you can always apply directly at universities across the world. The advantage to applying as a so-called "free mover" or "visiting student" is that you can choose the universities freely, as long as they offer short-term, non-degree seeking study opportunities. When you apply for an exchange, you can only be placed at one of our available partner universities, and you may not necessarily be placed at any of your top choice institutions. However, the exchange has advantages over studying abroad as a free mover:

  • You do not pay tuition. In many countries, international students pay considerably more tuition than local students. Through the exchange agreements, tuition is waived.
  • You apply at your own university. While that means you first have to convince the University of Freiburg that you are a suitable candidate for the exchange, the process is guided by us. If you apply as a free mover, you are on your own.
  • You actively contribute to your home university's internationalization and its international relationships.


What are the application timelines?


Northern Hemisphere (USA, Canada, Mexico Asia):


Note: The application deadline is always the year before the stay abroad: the deadline in 2024 is for the academic year 2025/26, with the exchange beginning in Aug/Sept 2025 at the earliest.


Southern Hemisphere (South Africa, Oceania):


Note: The application deadline is always the year before the stay abroad: the deadline in May/June 2024 is for the academic year 2025, with the exchange beginning in Jan/Feb 2025 at the earliest.

Who can apply?

Students wishing to participate in the Freiburg Global Exchange programs must be enrolled in a degree-seeking study program (Bachelor, Master, Staatsexamen) at the University of Freiburg at the time of the application and for the entirety of the stay abroad. Generally, students from all disciplines can apply. However, some restrictions on the study subjects available to exchange students at our partner universities mean students of some disciplines cannot apply to study within their own field.

Students of these following disciplines are only able to apply for disciplines outside of, but related to their own area of study (for example, a medical student may apply to take biology classes or a law student may apply to study politics).


USA and Canada

  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • nursing
  • pharmacy
  • clinical psychology
  • law
  • business (heavy restrictions overall; business students cannot apply for the Graduate Program Massachusetts, USA)


  • medicine (medical students can apply for a study or research stay in Nagoya only)
  • law (heavy restrictions)

South Africa

  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • nursing
  • pharmacy
  • clinical psychology
  • business


  • medicine
  • dentistry


What are the requirements for an application?

There are a few important overall requirements:

  • You must be a full-time, degree-seeking student at the University of Freiburg and remain enrolled as such for the entirety of the stay abroad.
  • You must be flexible. This is very important. You must be especially flexible in terms of course selection. There is no guarantee that exchange students can enroll in all the courses they wish to take. Some programs may be entirely closed to exchange students. You must also be flexible in terms of university choice. It may not be possible to place you at one of your preferred universities.
  • You must have sufficient language proficiency depending on the countries you apply for.
    • USA and Canada: very good English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS required)
    • Mexico: good English and/or Spanish language proficiency (test results required)
    • Oceania, South Africa and Asia*: good English language proficiency (test results required)
  • You must be able to finance the stay abroad. While you do not have to pay tuition, a stay abroad is still costly. Living expenses including accommodation, travel expenses, health insurance and other insurances, etc. have to be covered. There are several ways to finance the semester/s abroad, but make sure you get informed early!


*Different language proficiency requirements exist in the Asia program depending on the country or countries of choice. Details will be provided in the information sessions.

How to prepare

Research the exchange programs as early as possible to avoid any troubles in meeting the deadlines. Note that some documents, such as TOEFL/IELTS scores and letters of recommendation, take at least a few weeks to acquire.

  • Regularly check for the current calls for application. Once a call for applications has been published, read it carefully. The calls include all necessary information on how to proceed.
  • Research every partner university for the program you are interested in with the help of our partner map. It is your responsibility to find out if your own academic field or a field similar to your own is offered at a partner institution.
    • *Note that an application is only possible for the universities listed in the current call. This may not include all partners you see on the map.
  • Read exchange reports from former outgoing exchange students.


How to apply

Follow the instructions provided in the information sessions and in the call for applications. Be aware of the two types of documents which, if required for the application, need at least a few weeks to be completed:

  • Recommendation letters: be sure to request them at a time when your professors are available, and remember that they need enough time to complete the documents before the application deadline.
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores: Schedule appointments as soon as possible after you've decided to apply. There may be a long waiting list, and after you have taken the test it may take a few weeks for official score reports to be sent out.


Application Documents Download


While exchange programs typically exempt you from paying tuition at the partner university (meaning you do not have to pay tuition), living expenses and other university fees must be covered by the student. There are a number of available funding opportunities including Auslandsbafög, DAAD scholarships and a wide range of other stipends. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with funding as early as possible, and make sure to know the application deadlines for each scholarship (they are often earlier than the exchange application deadlines).

Learn more about the various funding opportunities.


Frequently Asked Questions and Frequent Misconceptions

"I want to study abroad in the winter semester/the summer semester."

  • Germany has a different academic calendar than the rest of the world. You need to look at the semester dates in the country you wish to study to determine when your stay abroad would take place. Typically, the semester dates are as follows:
    • Northern Hemisphere:
      • Fall Semester = August or September - December
      • Spring Semester = January - April or May


    • Southern Hemisphere:
      • Semester 1 = February - July
      • Semester 2 = July - December


"I don't have to pay for an exchange."

  • Exchange students don't pay tuition (Studiengebühren) at the partner university. This is a large amount of money our outgoing students don't have to shoulder. However, every other cost associated with the stay abroad still has to be covered. This can include other fees at the partner university, rent, travel expenses, food, clothes, study materials, insurances, visa fees, etc. For ways to finance the stay abroad, see the information on Funding on this page.


"I want to study at one specific university." or "I want to study only where there are beaches."

  • Students apply for a country or several countries. Upon a successful application, students are placed at a university in that country/one of these countries. While students have to provide a priority list of universities and explain why they would like to study at these universities, there is no guarantee that an applicant will be placed at a priority school. Acceptance into the exchange as well as placement is a complex process. While different sets of preferences are considered, some personal priorities are not (climate, how large a city is, how famous a location is, how close a famous landmark is, because a favorite movie is set there, etc).


"I would like to extend my stay."

  • An exchange lasts for the duration of one or two consecutive semesters, and cannot exceed two consecutive semesters. The length of the stay is determined upon placement. It is not possible to extend the exchange or reapply for the same Global Exchange program (USA/Canada, Asia, South Africa, Oceania) after the completion of that exchange. If a student wishes to complete another semester after the exchange is concluded, they must apply as a free-moving student subject to tuition.



For any more questions, contact the appropriate exchange coordinator at the International Office:

Oceania, Asia

Dr. Jens Langer


USA, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Oxford Research Stay

Mareen Kästner (she/her/hers)


Other Exchange Programs

  • Faculty and departmental exchange programs (Fakultäts- und Institutsaustauschprogramme) are coordinated by each faculty or academic department, not the International Office, since these programs are not university-wide. Contact your own faculty or department for information.