Off into the world:

Gaining international experience with the TU Darmstadt

You’ve already decided what degree programme to take and now you’re wondering whether you should maybe spend some time abroad? Great idea! TU Darmstadt has a lot on offer for students: ranging from a semester abroad in Europe as part of the Erasmus+ programme or at one of its partner universities worldwide, through to summer or winter schools, internships, all the way up to double degree programmes.

Judith Winkler,
23, 5th semester, Applied Geosciences

After my time abroad in Iceland, I came back to TU Darmstadt with tons of great memories. Studying and living with students from all over Europe was an unbelievable experience that I can only recommend.

Picture: Britta Hüning

A semester abroad: What are the options?

When I started my bachelor’s in Applied Geosciences, I knew that I definitely wanted to spend a semester abroad! So, I did a little research and worked out what programmes TU Darmstadt had to offer. Some of you may have heard of Erasmus +; the European Union's programme for education, youth and sport is perfect for getting a taste of European university spirit. As a TU Darmstadt student, you can spend up to two semesters abroad at every level of degree (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD) at any one of the more than 500 partner universities worldwide. And best of all: you pay no tuition fees and can still get a scholarship! For Europe you can receive funding through Erasmus+, but there are also attractive programmes for other countries worldwide. Thanks to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), you can also easily transfer the credits you acquire abroad back to TU Darmstadt. Isn't that awesome?! By the way, if you don’t want to pack your bags for a whole one to two semesters, TU Darmstadt can offer you an international experience on a smaller scale: the summer and winter schools at TU Darmstadt’s partner universities. So, you can simply enjoy some time abroad for a few weeks, gain new insights and improve your language skills. And you could also do an internship aboard. I think it's great because you get a glimpse of what your future career might look like. I’m thinking of doing an internship in Switzerland as soon as it’s possible to travel again.

Where are you headed? TU Darmstadt’s European partner universities

With Erasmus+, I had already found the right programme for me. All I had to do was to decide where to go. With Erasmus+ you are spoiled for choice. . You can study in so many exciting European countries – from B for Belgium to T for Turkey! Europe is open to you. Provided, of course, that the partner university has a degree programme similar to yours.

Picture: Judith Winkler

I asked myself: Where should this adventure take me? The first people I asked were my friends, who were also looking for the right university for their own time abroad. The “Paths Abroad” information event – where information about studying abroad was presented and questions were answered – brought me one step closer to my decision and provided me with important information. But in the end, a personal recommendation from a friend convinced me: I definitely want to go to Iceland!

Getting ready to go abroad from TU Darmstadt

TU Darmstadt offers its students excellent support even before they go abroad. The university offers a wide range of prep-opportunities to make the transition to the partner university smooth, so you can enjoy the intercultural experience to the fullest. From language courses to getting the required language certificate, all you need to do is visit the TU Darmstadt Language Resource Centre. The good thing is that quite a few degree programmes let you take a language course as an elective. Your language knowledge can also be improved through conversations with native speakers as part of a language Tandem. ZIKK, the Centre for Intercultural Competences, offers workshops and courses to help students prepare for life in the host country and to deal with the special features of university life there.

When Europe isn’t exotic enough

Everything went really smoothly for me. After applying online for an Erasmus+ semester abroad, I was accepted to go to Iceland a few weeks later. Amazing! I was so happy. Iceland – here I come! Maybe, like some of my friends, you think: yeah, Europe is cool, but aren’t there more exciting choices out there. Sure! TU Darmstadt has numerous partner universities in Asia, North and Latin America and Oceania. As soon as you have started considering studying abroad, I highly recommend taking part in one of the monthly “Ways Abroad” events, organised by the International Relations & Mobility team – all your questions will be answered by each country’s coordinator. How you can fit your time abroad into your degree curriculum is what you discuss with your department’s Study Abroad Coordinator. Maybe we'll see each other at one of “Ways Abroad” events.

The Department of International Relations & Mobility

Studying abroad is a great opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills. With a network of more than 300 partner universities around the world, TU Darmstadt offers its students not only subject-specific but also intercultural education. The Department of International Relations & Mobility and the International Officers in your specific department support students in aspects of application and organization of their stay abroad. Information about the semester abroad and support programs are presented at information events. Field reports by returning students provide you with in-depth insights.

Within the framework of an exchange semester at a partner university, no tuition fees are charged and the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) ensures that the study achievements are also credited at the TU Darmstadt. The Erasmus+ program allows students to spend up to 12 months abroad in Europe. For those who want to go further away, there is a wide range of tuition-free exchange places in Asia, America and Oceania. But also summer schools or winter schools or internships abroad are possible. At TU Darmstadt, students can also graduate with a double degree in various master's programs. They obtain two degrees simultaneously at a partner university and at TU Darmstadt.

Twice the fun: Double and Dual Degrees

I also think TU Darmstadt's double degree programmes are really cool. Never heard of them? No worries! TU Darmstadt has signed double degree programme agreements with various partner universities worldwide. A total of more than 40 programmes are open to students from various faculties and departments, including law and economics, mathematics, materials and geosciences, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology and computer sciences. Ina double degree you spend about half of your time at TU Darmstadt and the other half at one of the renowned partner universities abroad. At the end you get two degrees: A Master of Science from TU Darmstadt and the corresponding degree from the partner university. And this is how it works: as I said above, if you participate, you’ll complete part of your studies abroad. The curriculums of the two universities are coordinated and complement each other. So, you get the best of both universities. As soon as you complete your master's degree at the TU Darmstadt, you’ll also receive your degree from the partner university. With a double degree, you are perfectly prepared for your international career.

Have you just finished high school and now you’re thinking about what degree programme is right for you? Pretty overwhelming, isn’t it? Don’t panic! You can find out more about doing your degree at TU Darmstadt from the Central Student Advisory and Orientation Service. The team is very friendly and they’d love to help you find a programme that is perfect for you, explain everything you need to know and tell you where you can find information about your stay abroad. This is all possible even before you enroll as a TU Darmstadt student.

By the way, I’m already planning my next step: I’ve just returned from Iceland, but I really want to go abroad again during my master’s degree. My dream destination: Costa Rica. I‘m so ready for some warm weather and sun!

Picture: Britta Hüning

Judith Winkler, 23

Hello, my name is Judith and I’m doing a degree in applied geosciences at TU Darmstadt. I’ll tell you openly and honestly why I decided to come to Darmstadt – the City of Science – to go to university! If you look for me on campus, you’ll most likely find me at the Botanical Garden campus. Not just because it’s particularly beautiful there, but because that’s also where my department is located.