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. This is also what our faculties’ academic and examination regulation suggests to you. We are totally in favour of going somewhere else 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?
There is not only the possibility of studying abroad for one semester you can also plan an internship for instance. These internships, however, you will have to plan independently. When doing so, perseverance is one of the most needed skills. Many companies require collecting practical experience in Germany before sending you to a different country. On the contrary, when planning your university studies abroad, you will be able to participate in the programs organized by the faculty (more on this further down). What can also be difficult is receiving the correct visa for your stay and finding accommodation. So better start planning early!
Furthermore, it is also possible to organise your study abroad (and internship) with the help of private organisations. Be cautious when using the services of these organisations because they often require high provisions. Oftentimes you will then also have to pay tuition fees at your chosen university since you will be considered a “free mover”, without support from TUM.
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:
- 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? Would you already be able to talk to people in your country of choice? 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. This is especially valid for popular destinations such as Sweden.
Please also be aware of the fact, that English is the most widely spread language on earth, but 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.
- What do you want to focus on?
Would you like to focus on your education or rather relax for one semester and simply enjoy life sometimes? That’s also one decision you have to make before applying. University systems around the world differ quite a lot: ranging from lectures without any obligations to school-like lessons with mandatory attendance there is everything possible. It is definitely worth taking a look at field reports from other students provided by the International Center. 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. Like this, it is also possible to receive more than 18 credits in your electives in management and technology (or 30 if you are a Master’s students) during your stay abroad. 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.
- 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 unimportant. When looking at all of these aspects, the previously mentioned reports from other students can be very helpful!
- 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, taking costs for housing, food and tuition fees into consideration! If you choose to organise your exchange via one of TUMs’ programs, you at least don’t have to worry about your tuition.
We do not want to demotivate you, working hard for your destination of choice will very likely also be worth it!
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!
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 January. Information sessions are organised at the end of the lecture period in the summer term and held in English.
More information can be found on the following pages:
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!