All bachelor students spend an exchange semester at one of our partner universities. Master students in the standard track have the opportunity to spend their third semester abroad. Enrolled as a full-time student at the host university, you will acquire first-hand insights into new cultures and countries and have unique experiences.
Semester Abroad Guide
Check our comprehensive guide book. There we have gathered information for before, during and after the semester abroad incl. all processes, FAQ, and deadlines.
Facts on the semester abroad
We have established a broad network based on exchange agreements with more than 50 partner institutions around the world.
Each partner offers a fixed number of exchange semester places, and some are limited to only one degree program: either bachelor or master. The partner universities involved and the available places are subject to change. For more detailed information on each partner university and to find available places go to our Mobility Online portal.
During the application process for your semester abroad, you may indicate three choices of your preferred destinations. Exchange places are allocated based on your average grades, and a motivation letter. The application form will be available on Mobility Online in due time.
- For Master students: 15 February
- For Bachelor students: 15 June
The International Office and the Academic Representative of International Relations evaluate the applications. The students will be informed about the results of the selection process approx. 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.
You will be nominated by the International Office at the host university that you have been selected for. This means that the KLU International Office will contact the host university and will send your name and e-mail address to the coordinator there. Your host university will then inform you on how to proceed with the application, the visa process, the housing and everything else you need to know.
Students with an optional exchange semester: Your decision to go abroad during your third semester is binding by accepting your allocation to a partner university.
Any administration/visa/travel/insurance/personal costs in connection with the planned exchange semester will be borne by the student.
To fulfil the KLU requirements you have to
- Master students: follow courses worth at least 20 ECTS of the graduate level (Undergraduate courses do not count!)
Bachelor students: follow courses worth at least 18/24 ECTS of the undergraduate level.
- You are free to attend courses worth more than 18/20/24 ECTS. A normal semester workload would be not more than 30 ECTS. The courses with the best grades will count for your average on your transcript and for your diploma. Additional courses can be listed on the official documents if you wish so.
- You can choose courses from the following sections: Management, Logistics, Economics and Leadership Skills. According to the KLU examinations regulations, your final course selection has to be approved by the KLU Board of Examiners.
- Language classes do not count.
- It is not permissible to choose courses identical to those which you have passed at the KLU already.
- If the host institution allows you to attend additional courses from other areas like culture, history, arts, etc. then it is also is okay for the KLU. But your focus of your course selection has to lie on courses in the above mentioned four sections. These additional courses do not count for the requested 18/20/24 ECTS.
Get your visa
Depending on your nationality and your destination you might have to apply for a visa. Please check the website of your embassy and the embassy of the destination to find out which visa you need, about the application procedure incl. what documents you have to prepare and the costs which might incur. Take as a thumb rule that the earlier you deal with the visa issues the better because it can take many weeks.
Book your flights
You are responsible to book your flights to and from your partner institution. When you do it depends on you and your plans during the summer. Have in mind that the internship is scheduled after the second semester and before the semester abroad and you might want to spend it not in Hamburg but somewhere else. If possible, it is recommended to arrive a few days early at your destination to being able to settle down a little bit before the welcome sessions and the lectures start.
Students sometimes receive special discounts on flights. Check the relevant websites and search engines.
During your study abroad period you are continuously enrolled at the KLU (as specified in your enrollment certificates). Within the European Union, health insurance agreements between the EU countries are in force. Outside the EU mutual risks are not covered. Thus, each student must buy an additional health insurance.
Since you are enrolled at KLU during the whole period you cannot quit the German health insurance. It is mandatory to stay insured via your German health insurance provider during your internship and semester abroad. Please ask the inbound coordinator at your university abroad for insurance details.
Please contact KLU Student Services if you have further questions concerning the health insurance during your semester abroad.
Students who go abroad independently to a university of their choice are called free movers.
In case that you do not find a suitable exchange destination among KLU's partner universities you can choose to be a free mover student at a foreign university.
When considering a free mover exchange it is crucial that students make sure that the academic content and quality at the exchange destination corresponds with that of KLU. As a general rule, free movers of KLU should be enrolled as non-degree students at the host university. Moreover, degrees awarded by the host university should be accepted by the German Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen (Central Office for Foreign Education).
The proposed host university must be either a partner university of KLU or has to be approved by the KLU’s International Office.
Rules for Free mover
1. Free movers organize their study abroad themselves. They will be applying directly for an exchange place at the university of their choice, following the application guidelines of the university they apply for.
2. Free movers bear all costs themselves, incl. tuition fees at the host university.
3. Free movers cannot attend a university located in their home country.
4. The free mover is also required to acquire sufficient information on the credit transfer so that he/she will be able to complete the required number of credits during his/her exchange. Course contents are made comparable by the usage of the ECTS system. Whenever this system is not applicable equivalence will be evaluated based on workload and course content by the board of examiners.
5. If a student wants to be a free mover, he/she has to summit his/her study plan for the host university incl.
a. a course overview plus course descriptions of the planned courses
b. information about the applied (ECTS) credit system
c. the grading scheme
d. the procedure for retry exams
Master students: January 15th
Bachelor students: May 15th
to the International Office of KLU.
This study plan then has to be approved by the KLU Board of Examiners (BoE).
6. Free movers have to prove a place at the host university on the day of the deadline for the semester abroad application. If they cannot document that they have managed to acquire a place, but still want to go as free mover, their application for the regular KLU exchange places will be considered last.
A number of exchange agreements are based on the European Union’s ERASMUS+ program, which has several benefits for KLU students, inter alia a small monthly grant.
Outgoing KLU students do not have to apply for the ERASMUS+ program. Once you are nominated for one of our ERASMUS+ partners, you will be automatically guided through all the paperwork and requirements via our online tool Mobility Online.
Make new exchange students feel welcome at KLU and show them what KLU is all about! Apart from introducing KLU and campus life to the newcomers, you can also plan shared activities in your free time. Meet for a coffee, show your buddy your favorite places to hang out in Hamburg, shop, go to the movies or a soccer game – the options are unlimited. This is a voluntary KLU community service, so please plan your time and energy accordingly. We are looking for committed volunteers who are open to new friendships. To join the KLUb, just register via this link. Application deadlines are: August 1 (for the fall semester) or December 1 (for the spring semester). Printed application forms can be made available upon request.
KLUb buddy program events:
- International Food Event (September/January)
- German movie meetup (fall and spring semesters)
- Visit to Hamburg's Christmas market (fall semester)
A certificate will confirm the scope and length of your voluntary commitment to the program. To receive one, each buddy needs to fill out an activity log. After the buddies hand in their activity logs at the end of the semester, the International Office will electronically issue a certificate to each student.
Friend Family program members bring international students and local citizens from Hamburg together. The program gets the students off campus and outside the KLU bubble, and gives Hamburgers the opportunity to experience a foreign culture by sharing social activities with students from countries as varied as Mexico, Chile, France, Italy, Turkey, and India.
All constellations are welcome: a Friend Family can even be a couple with/without children or a single person, young or old. Curiosity about people from other cultures and new experiences and basic knowledge of English are the only requirements (the majority of our students communicate in English and/or basic German).
KLU will organize a first meet up for the families and students to get to know each other. The families and students will typically plan further activities themselves, depending on everyone's individual time frames and interests.
If you are interested in being matched with a Friend Family from Hamburg, please register using this link. We will provide printed application forms upon request.
If you are interested in becoming a Friend Family to one of our international students, please follow this link to register. We will provide printed application forms upon request.
Please note: A Friend Family is not a host family; the students will not live with their Friend Families. For student accommodations in Hamburg, visit our “Moving to Germany” page.
The International Office offers intercultural trainings in preparation of your study abroad semester. The 3-hour-workshop focuses on the defintion of culture, culture shock and how to deal with it, brought about in a mixture of cultural theory, group and individual exercises.
The International office also offers worskhops after you have returned in order to round up the experience with the ability to reflect on the study abroad time together with your fellow classmates.
The dates are included in your class schedule.
Managed by our program coordinators KLU’s Language Tandem program mediates language partnerships between two students who would like to learn each other’s native language. For instance, if your native language is Spanish and your tandem partner is German, you can improve your German language skills and your partner can practice his/her Spanish language skills with you. If you would like to join KLU for 2, please register via this registration link.