Individual Study Abroad Period (Free Mover)

Would you like to organize a study period abroad at a university of your choice independently of Ulm University's exchange programmes?

Please note that in this case you will have to pay tuition fees, which can be considerable depending on the destination country and course of study (e.g. USA Medicine up to 2,500 US $ per month).

Search for the university(s) of your choice: ask university lecturers in the subject area for recommendations; surf the internet and study the courses on offer; in many cases you can also find out the formal admission requirements and the amount of tuition fees to be paid on the internet. Search the websites of the universities in question using the terms "International Visiting Students" or "Incoming Study Abroad Students". Medical students who wish to complete a PJ period abroad should search for "Clinical Electives / Medical Electives International Students".

If you are studying at a foreign university for a limited period of time and then wish to return to your home university without a foreign degree, you fall under the applicant category "temporary non-degree" or "visiting student", which generally allows for a simplified admission procedure. If no corresponding forms are available on the website of the International Office of the host university, the following documents are required to apply as a temporary non-degree / visiting student:

  • Informal letter of application in which you briefly introduce yourself (subject and year of study), justify your choice of university and define the period of your stay abroad.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) in tabular form
  • "Transcript of Records" - English-language overview of all study and examination achievements to date.
  • Not mandatory, but useful: one or two letters of recommendation from university teachers.
  • Result of a language test (can be taken at the University Language Center - Albert-Einstein-Allee 5 / Pavillon I).
  • Always useful for an application in an English-speaking country: result of the TOEFL test (minimum score for admission see information of the possible host university).

If your application is accepted, you will certainly have to fill out further "official" application forms for your university of choice. For certain non-European countries, these include, for example, proof of vaccination and proof that you have a certain amount of money available each month to cover your living costs - confirmation from your parents/bank or scholarship provider. If the host university does not provide you with its own form, you can use this template.

It is also important to provide proof of adequate health insurance (not travel health insurance!). Please follow the instructions of the host university.

You will need a student visa for non-European countries. You can only apply for this at the relevant embassy once you have received an admission form from your host university. Before applying for a visa, make sure you check the website of the relevant embassy/consulate in Germany. There you will find the latest information on applying for a visa, which must be followed exactly. If you want to do an internship after your study visit and / or spend some time traveling in the country, have your visa extended on site in good time before it expires - the International Office of your host university will help you with any necessary certificates. If you are only doing a company internship, you should submit a corresponding confirmation from the company (duration of the internship, payment) when applying for the visa. For internships in the USA, you must use a fee-based visa service, e.g. via the German Chamber of Commerce in New York. Never enter the country for your studies/internship with a tourist visa only; changing the purpose of your stay at a later date could cause problems.

What else needs to be done?

  • Check registration deadlines for examinations, apply for extensions if necessary
  • If necessary, apply for a leave of absence at the Registrar's Office during the re-registration period and present the letter of admission from the foreign university or confirmation from the internship company.
  • Clarify possible recognition of teaching modules planned abroad with the chair of the examination board - if possible, take module descriptions of the courses planned at the foreign university with you. You can download samples for learning agreements here:
  • Possibly apply for an international driving license - at the driving license office of your main place of residence
  • Possibly apply for an International Student Card - includes many benefits
  • Clarify money transfer abroad. Some banks offer a low-cost or even free service in cooperation with partner banks abroad
  • Check vaccinations, add your vaccination record to your packing list
  • If you need a certain long-term medication: Get a certificate from your family doctor in English
  • In case of compulsory military service: deregister for your stay abroad
  • Return borrowed books, cancel subscriptions
  • Find an interim tenant for your apartment or pay attention to the notice period
  • If applicable, cancel contract for cell phone
  • Deregister public utilities, telephone, car - if applicable, also deregister secondary residence (citizens' office)
  • Forwarding order by post
  • Make copies of all personal documents. One set for home, another set to take with you on your trip - keep separate from the originals.


  • Ensure that you can be contacted during your stay abroad - if necessary, send changes of address (also by email) to family, friends and the International Office at your home and host universities.


As BAföG also supports stays abroad and pays up to 5,600 euros in tuition fees per year, BAföG recipients can apply to non-European universities as "Study Abroad Students". The amount of tuition fees to be paid in this case can be obtained from the respective International Office of the host university or can be found on their homepage. Important for funding through BAföG: the study abroad period must be at least 6 months or 1 semester - if it is not an exchange partnership. In addition, the study period abroad must take place within the standard period of study!

Please note:  These organizations help to arrange for study places abroad on a tuition-fee-paying basis. Yet, some of these organizations also award scholarships

Study visits to foreign universities lasting at least one month and up to six months can be funded with a scholarship from the PROMOS programme.

Degree-seeking studies abroad are not eligible for funding. Funding for study visits in an Erasmus programme country is not possible.

Even if you have organized your study place abroad on your own, the university of your choice may want to conclude an agreement with Ulm University: sometimes it is a free mover agreement that only covers and enables your mobility; sometimes it is a temporary bilateral agreement that enables the other university to send students to Ulm University in return; sometimes we are also asked whether we can conclude a regular exchange or Erasmus agreement.

For Ulm University students, such an agreement can be a necessary prerequisite for being accepted as a free mover at the host university; often it is a question of whether you have to pay tuition or other fees at the host university.

The International Office is always open to suggestions for new partnerships. However, there is no entitlement for contracts to be concluded at the suggestion of students. This applies in particular if a contract has to be concluded at short notice and there is no opportunity to sufficiently evaluate the proposed cooperation or the desired cooperation does not meet the subject requirements or strategic goals of Ulm University.