We expect students of who want to study abroad to be highly motivated. The following information is devised to help you find the most suitable way for you to spend time abroad. You will also find a lot of useful and interesting information about various ways you can spend time abroad on the web-pages of the International Office.
When can I go abroad?
For practical reasons, you best go on your year/semester abroad from any time from your 3rd Bachelor’s semester on, and at any time during your Master's.
MA students can go abroad at any point in their studies, though those who move to Trier for their MA after completing a BA elsewhere are likely to have missed application deadlines for some exchange programmes, making it difficult for them to go abroad in their first semester in Trier. Nonetheless, accreditation is straightforward at any point during an MA degree.
Is a stay abroad compulsory?
For anyone studying in a BEd/MEd history programme: No. However, we do highly recommend to study abroad. It offers the opportunity to learn/practice additional languages and provides insights into another academic culture. In planning to write your BA/BEd or MA/MEd thesis, you may find much needed literature or primary sources in libraries and archives abroad. Moreover, as an EU survey shows, 64% of employers are looking for applicants with international experience as the value skills associated with a stay abroad (openness, decision-making skills, intercultural competence).
How long do I have to spend abroad?
We recommend spending a whole year at your host university. However, there may be good reasons (e.g. family care work, financial considerations, classes offered) to restrict your stay to just one semester. Please talk to the History Department’s Erasmus coordinator, Dr. Eva Bischoff (bischoff[at]uni-trier.de) to clarify this question while planning your application.
Who can I talk to if I have more questions?
As a first step, you can find information at the webpages of the International Office. If you are considering an application for one of our department’s Erasmus+ programmes (or one of the many exchange programmes of our university), contact Dr. Eva Bischoff (bischoff[at]uni-trier.de).
Are you looking for an interesting, worthwhile way of spending time abroad? Would you like to go to university in another country? Then you should consider applying for a study abroad exchange with one of the History Department’s exchange programmes. This may be part of the department’s Erasmus+ programme or a separate exchange within or beyond Europe.
Wherever you study abroad, the History Department will be happy to recognise your achievements there towards your degree in Trier. To make sure this runs smoothly, there are a few steps you need to follow.
1) After you have been selected and nominated for an exchange, you will need to fill in a "Learning Agreement". This is where you list the classes you intend to take abroad, and what you wish to have acreditted on your return. Please talk to the History Department’s Erasmus coordinator, Dr. Eva Bischoff (bischoff[at]uni-trier.de), who can help you to decide which classes are suitable for you and roughly equivalent to what you would need to take in Trier.
2) Once you have returned from your time abroad and have received your transcript from your host university, you will need to complete an “Antrag auf Anerkennungen der im Ausland erbrachten Studien- und Prüfungsleistungen”. All information on this step can be found here (website in German only).
Making the Most of Your Time Abroad
1) Be prepared
Before you leave to spend your time abroad, you should do your best to inform yourself about what will await you in your host country and at your host university or work placement, so that you do not get any nasty surprises when you arrive. You may have taken some cultural studies classes based on your future host country and may already have a fairly good idea of how society works there. Nonetheless, you will need to do some independent research on the specific region. The internet is a great tool for finding information about the norms in societies around the world. Think about the norms and values that drive your characteristic behavior and try to find out how typical these are in your future host country (e.g. What is considered polite? How important is punctuality? Are there any taboo conversation topics to avoid? What role does religion play in society?). Also, consider practical aspects such as the weather, suitable dress, transport, foods, or living conditions. You may also be able to book an appointment to talk with a teacher who originally comes from your future host country who will be able to give you more insight into what to expect.
If you are going to study, be aware that life as a student may also be different from what you are used to at your home university. Read through your future host university’s website or prospectus to find out about things like the workload per course, reading lists, the relationship between students and lecturers, attendance and assessment regulations, extra-curricular clubs and activities, and the facilities available. It may also be useful to read reports by students who previously attended your host university or to talk with them in person. Ask your International Office or departmental coordinator for their names and contact details well in advance.
2) Get your paperwork organized
Make sure you complete and submit all of the relevant forms and documents on time. This will start with things like your application for the host university of your choice. There may be extra forms to fill in to apply for accommodation – make sure you meet all the deadlines, otherwise you might not be allocated anywhere to live! You will also need to sort out the required insurance cover and your finances, and it may be a good idea to make photocopies of important documents (e.g. passport, health insurance certificate) and passport photos to take with you. Although you will probably be able to open a student bank account in your host country, you might want to inform yourself about other options; some credit card companies, for example, offer cards that allow you to get money from ATM cash machines anywhere in Europe for free.
Some things will need to be finalised soon after you arrive, for example rental contracts, university registration, and learning agreements. Make a list of the people you will need to contact at the start of your stay to sort these things out – include their full name, address, email address and telephone number (which will be particularly helpful if you cannot find their office!) You might also want to print out maps or look up bus timetables, etc. so that you can reach these people without too much difficulty. Put the name and phone number of your contact person at your home university on your list, too, in case you have any urgent problems or questions.
3) Plan the practicalities
Think about practical things that will be important at the start of your stay and find out how/where you can organize these things. For example, how will you get from the airport / train station to your accommodation? You might want to book a hostel for the night you arrive, just in case your accommodation cannot be worked out immediately, or you might want to find out where you can buy phone cards or SIM cards so that you can call home on your first night. Alongside organizing paperwork and travel arrangements, think carefully about things you will need to pack for your stay abroad (and make another list!). As well as appropriate clothing and standard toiletries, you will probably also want to take the following: stationery, adaptor plugs, a USB flash-drive or similar, a camera, music, basic medicine/first aid supplies, sanitary items, basic home linens, and enough cash to get you through the first couple of days. Note that most students pack too much! Check the weight-limits for your luggage if you are flying, and pack wisely to avoid expensive charges for too heavy suitcases and having to carry a heavy suitcase with you! If necessary, you could also pack a separate box of items and have a family member or friend send them to you once you have arrived.
If there is prescription medication you need to take for a chronic condition, talk to your doctor at home well in advance to see if you can be prescribed enough medication for your whole stay. Make sure you inform yourself about the regulations for importing medication into your future host country. You may also want to ask your doctor for a letter explaining your illness and medication plan (in English or the language of your host country where possible), and don’t forget to register with a doctor as soon as possible in your host country, making sure to give them all the information you have from your home doctor. In order to register with a doctor, you may need to take proof that you have medical insurance; depending on the country, you might need a European Health Insurance Card – this is often on the reverse of your health insurance card from your normal insurance in your home country.
If there are people at home you think you are going to miss in particular, talk with them about how you can keep in touch. You may want, for example, to set fixed days/times to phone them (Sunday afternoons often work well). You could also set up a WhatsApp group to enable video chats, or create a mailing list to send emails to about your adventures to your close friends!