Do you want to study abroad?

Studying in Germany is nice, especially in Munich and at TUM. Academic standards are high, you are learning a lot. What is even more important: you chose a superb city for your studies.

However, you might be interested in spending one semester in a foreign country, broaden your horizon and make some unforgettable experiences. We are totally in favor of going to another country for some time, which is why we want to supply you with some helpful tips for planning your exchange.

For which purposes am I allowed to go abroad?

If you are planning your semester abroad, you will be able to participate in the programs organized by the university (more on this further down).

You don’t only have the possibility of studying abroad, but you can also plan an internship abroad, for instance. However, you will most likely have to plan an internship on your own.

Furthermore, it is also possible to organize your study abroad with the help of external organizations. This might be a good option if the TUM does not have a partnership with the university where you want to do your exchange. Oftentimes, however, you then also have to pay tuition fees at your chosen university, since you will be considered a “free mover”, without support from TUM.

You can read more about your possibilities to go abroad on the website of the TUM SOM International Office.

Finding the right destination

Your chosen destination strongly depends on your personal preferences and pre-conditions. Have you always been thinking about living in Japan or do you prefer exploring the wild nature of North-America? What do you like more – Dim Sum or Spanish Tapas? Are you a friend of the sun or would you also enjoy watching the fascinating northern lights while being wrapped in uncounted layers of clothes? As you might understand – it is crucial to know what you want to do. In the following, we want to help you with some questions, which should you pose yourself when thinking about your destination:

1. Which languages are you able to speak?

Do you want to learn a new language or would you rather improve one of the languages you are already able to speak?  Staying in another country is the perfect opportunity for developing language skills and gaining confidence.

Oftentimes, lectures are held in English, but that’s not the case all of the times. This might already be one limitation you have to take into consideration. And if you don’t want to limit yourself, remember doing language courses early enough, to be able to reach the necessary language level. Proofing language skills for the native language of your destination will have a positive impact on your application, too.

Please also be aware of the fact that there are also areas where English might not be sufficient to communicate with natives. At least you should always be surrounded by other exchange students who will most likely also be willing to help out.

2. What do you want to focus on?

If you are determined to finish your studies within six semesters you should also consider taking a look at the database which lists all of the courses where a 1:1-replacement for courses at TUM was possible. You could also try to directly approach the respective chair if you already have some subject in mind which you would like to complete during your exchange. It is definitely worth taking a look at field reports from other students provided by the International Center.

3. What are you willing to accept?

In some countries, standards and living conditions are generally lower than in Germany. So keep that in mind when applying. Furthermore, think about the climatic conditions in your country of choice. If you are a lover of the sun you should probably not choose Scandinavia in winter as your first option. Thinking about your willingness to adjust to different eating cultures is also not irrelevant. When looking at all of these aspects, the previously mentioned reports from other students can be very helpful!

4. What about money?

Another really important question is how you are going to finance your exchange. Applying for grants or accepting side jobs can be one option for making your dreams come true. Living costs in some countries are significantly higher than in Germany. If you choose to organize your exchange via one of TUM’s programs, you at least don’t have to worry about your tuition.

Talking about scholarships: The probably best-known option is ERASMUS+. Information about this and other options is available here.

Working during your exchange is an option, too, as we already mentioned. When planning to do so, you always have to consider local laws and regulations. Sometimes it is necessary to apply for a different visa. Concerning this topic, it’s worth it to inform yourself early in advance, because receiving a visa can take time!

5. What program to choose?

If you are a student from TUM SOM, you can choose between two options which are supported by TUM or the faculty: Firstly, you can apply via TUMexchange for destinations all over the world. Secondly, TUM SOMex is mainly for destinations within Europe (via ERASMUS+), but also contains options world-wide. Application deadlines for TUMexchange are mostly at the end of October / beginning of November. Applying for TUM SOMex is possible until mid-January. Information sessions are organized at the end of the lecture period in the summer term and held in English.

Ready to go?

After thinking about all of the mentioned aspects you should be ready to go. Only one important step is missing – the application. Inform yourself about the prerequisites and collect all the necessary information. The application process itself depends on the program you choose.

And if you also want to receive information about other ways to go abroad you can find it here.

If you still have any questions, you are more then welcome to contact us or ask students from higher semesters. We wish you all the best for your application and an unforgettable time abroad!