FAQ - frequently asked questions

A) Erasmus+ and Joint Study: general information/application criteria

You are not obliged to spend a semester abroad. However, it provides added value both to your academic journey and future professional life. A study abroad experience is invaluable, fostering personal growth and providing insights in your field of study that may not be available otherwise. International and even local companies increasingly appreciate candidates who have listed overseas experiences on their resumes when applying for a position.

According to internal criteria, you must be enrolled continuously for at least 3 semesters at TU Wien and can create an application in the TISS Mobility Service no earlier than the 4th semester. Please note that each institute has its own internal application criteria. In most cases, at the time of application, you should have completed around 90-100 ECTS in the Bachelor's program, as partner institutions prefer to host students with a solid foundational knowledge rather than beginners.

Students who are not Austrian citizens or citizens of an EU member state can participate in the Erasmus+ program if they have been enrolled as regular students throughout their studies.

If you do not have Austrian citizenship, you may choose any other EU/EEA destination, but you are not allowed to return to your home country. Examples: German citizens are not allowed to study in Erasmus+ at a German university; Turkish students are not allowed to study in Turkey. There is an exception for South Tyroleans: they may spend an Erasmus+ semester in the rest of Italy.

You should plan your Erasmus+ stay at least six months to a year in advance. For Joint Study, even a bit longer, as some universities have only one application deadline per year. This provides you with enough time to explore the websites of potential host universities, inquire about application deadlines and procedures in a timely manner, clarify the financial aspects of such a study abroad experience, and more.

You apply online to the respective academic Erasmus coordinators in your faculty through TISS Mobility Service. After the application deadline, they make their selections and nominate candidates. The application process involves two steps: first, an online application in TISS Mobility Service, opens an external URL in a new window and after being nominated, the application must be submitted to the host institution, with the final decision always resting with the host institution. You will then receive an Acceptance Letter.

The selection criteria vary from coordinator to coordinator. In most cases, selection is based on academic progress (minimum 90-100 ECTS in the Bachelor's program) and grade point average. In the field of Architecture and Spatial Planning, a portfolio is sometimes required.

You must choose one study program if you plan to undertake a semester abroad. It is not possible to enroll in courses for both study programs. Partnership agreements or Erasmus+ contracts are valid only for the study programs specified in the contract. This means that, for example, the partner university will admit you only for Physics if the agreement was made for Physics. You may not be allowed to take Computer Science courses at the host institution because it is not stipulated in the contract. Additionally, according to Erasmus+ rules, recognition can only be carried out for one study program.

Since Switzerland was excluded from the Erasmus program by the EU, Switzerland has established the Swiss European Mobility Programme (SEMP).

You can apply for a study abroad program in Swiss universities with which TUW has agreements, just like for any other destination. The difference from Erasmus is that you will not receive an Erasmus grant; instead, you will directly receive a scholarship from the Swiss university. This scholarship will be disbursed shortly after your arrival on-site and is roughly equivalent to the monthly amount provided by higher-category Erasmus grants.

Unfortunately, there is no internship support for an internship with a Swiss company, as the Swiss government has not allocated funds for this purpose.

B) Language Proficiency/TOEFL & Co

For an Erasmus stay, with few exceptions, a TOEFL certificate is generally not required. Some universities in Denmark, the Netherlands, and CTU PRAG are exceptions. You can always check the requirements on the websites of partner institutions in the section for Exchange Students.

For Joint Study stays, it is advisable to take the TOEFL test (or the IELTS). However, our partners also accept other certificates with more recent dates, which must be verified by the International Office.

Examples include: Cambridge Institute classification with CEFR level B2 or above, confirmation from the TUW English language lecturer (Jeff Crowder), English courses at TUW if indicated on the transcript, confirmation of classification according to CEFR level B2 or above from the Language Institute of the University of Vienna.

IELTS is the world’s most popular English language test recognised by 11,000 organisations. Students can take IELTS on paper or computer (currently only in Vienna) in official test centres throughout Austria.
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For all destinations outside of France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, English proficiency at a B2 level or higher is required. If you have graduated in English, both in writing and speaking, it is assumed that you have reached the B2 level.

For France, Italy, and Spain, it is required to have proficiency in the local language at least at a B1 or B2 level. Each coordinator can check in their contract which level is required by their partner universities.

Many coordinators do not require an official certificate at the time of application. However, if you receive a nomination, you are obligated to complete the application at the host university, and at this point, proof of language proficiency must be submitted or uploaded online.

The European Commission (EC) introduced the requirement a few years ago that outgoing students must take a language test before their stay in the host country. This online language test is administered through a tool provided by the EC, a large interactive platform. You will receive an email from your home university with registration information and the language in which the test is to be taken. Everything else is then automated within the system.

After taking the language test, you have the opportunity to take an online language course on the OLS platform. You can also take language courses in the local language if the language test was in English because the OLS offers several smaller languages in addition to the common ones, such as Swedish or Dutch.

C) Organization/Implementation/Finances

For the past few years, universities have been the disbursing authority for the Erasmus grant. After the nomination and upon receiving the Acceptance Letter, TUW will issue a Grant Agreement. Once both parties sign this Erasmus contract, 80% of the total budget allocated to you will be transferred in advance. The remaining 20% will be disbursed after your return and submission of the attendance confirmation.

Financial support is based on the so-called country rates, which vary from year to year. These rates are published annually on the OeAD/erasmus.at website. The country rates differ and depend on the cost of living in the respective host country. Currently, they range between €420 and €520.

 

Recipients of student aid receive the Erasmus grant and can additionally apply for the foreign study grant from the student aid authority. They will then receive a notice of the additional financial assistance.

You will certainly not be able to cover all your expenses with the financial support from the Erasmus grant. In most cases, the monthly Erasmus grant will barely cover the costs of student housing. Therefore, it is crucial to start building a financial cushion for your study abroad experience early on or prepare your parents for the increased costs they may incur.

You do not have to pay tuition fees at the host university, this is explicit defined in the EU Erasmus guidelines.

Although you are exempt from tuition fees, there may still be certain fees and contributions to cover. Typically, fees such as our student union contribution, photocopying costs, and script expenses may apply.

If you have been nominated by the academic coordinator for an Erasmus stay, your next step is to carefully review the course catalog of the host institution and then create your course list. With this provisional course list and a prepared OLA (Online Learning Agreement), you approach the Dean of Academic Affairs. Together, you discuss your course choices, and the Dean of Academic Affairs confirms with their signature that your courses will be definitively accredited upon your return with positive grades from the study abroad period.

Courses completed at the host universities are primarily recognized as electives, soft skills, and optional courses. Mandatory courses must be taken at TU Wien and are only recognized in exceptional cases. If you are planning a semester abroad, it is advisable to reserve your elective courses and soft skills for the study abroad period.

In order to receive the Erasmus grant, you need between 15 and 30 ECTS. The minimum of 3 ECTS per month or part is a fixed rule that must be observed, whereby the ECTS credited in advance by the Dean of Academic Affairs count and not the ECTS awarded at the host university.

Please note that some host universities have their own rules, which can be found on the Exchange Students' websites. There are universities that require not to go below 20 ECTS, while others demand at least 24 ECTS from each incoming student. Some partner universities may even require the full 30 ECTS on the Learning Agreement.

No, that is not necessary. Once the International Office sets your status to "Mobil" in the TISS Mobility Service, a code for Erasmus/Joint Study will be added to your student file in TISS. This allows the Admission Office to recognize that you are completing an Erasmus or Joint Study semester abroad. For this semester abroad, only the student union contribution will be charged, and not tuition fees (if they would normally apply).

The Student Union contribution must always be paid to avoid being deregistered. If that happens, there could be several disadvantages, including additional administrative efforts, such as adapting to a new study plan. Moreover, insurance is linked to the student union contribution.

Many partner universities, especially those in the Scandinavian region, offer accommodations for Erasmus incoming students. They often reserve a quota of student dormitory rooms that you can secure by completing and timely returning the so-called Housing Form. In most cases, a deposit is required, and once it is transferred, you have a guaranteed reserved room that you can occupy upon your arrival.

In some instances, you cannot reserve a room either because you were late with your reservation request or because there are too many incoming students in a semester. In such cases, you must search for accommodation using a list of private landlords upon arrival.

In some countries, like Spain, you generally need to arrange accommodation yourself. It is advisable to arrive one to two weeks earlier to have sufficient time to search for housing. Former Spain outbound students often note that finding accommodation is relatively easy. In France and Italy, the process varies; sometimes, you only need to fill out a Housing Form, pay a deposit, and the next university will provide you with a list of landlords or you will need to search online.

Overseas universities often allow you to pre-register for a dormitory room, but the standards can vary significantly. Feedback, especially from the USA, often mentions low standards at high prices. Most overseas outbound students prefer to share an apartment with other exchange students, where they can split the rent.

Each host institution requires nominated incoming students to submit an application. This Exchange Student Application can be in paper form, online, or a combination of both, depending on the host university. There is a specific deadline for this Exchange Student Application that must be adhered to. Applications submitted after the deadline will be automatically rejected, and no exceptions will be made. Pay close attention to the deadline set by your host institution, or your nomination by the coordinator will be invalid.

The application documents of partner universities are usually available online under the International/Exchange Students section. Some universities directly send various links to students for paper-based documents or the online application link after the nomination by the coordinator.

The Departmental Coordinator is the coordinator at the faculty who nominated you. The Institutional Coordinator is Mag. Simone Haselbauer, the Erasmus Department Head at the International Office (IO). In the absence of Mag. Simone Haselbauer, the staff member responsible for outgoing students at the IO is authorized to sign as the Institutional Coordinator.

If you start your Erasmus stay in the winter semester, you can apply for an extension for the summer semester. This is done by timely filling out the extension request, obtaining the signature from the host university, and sending it to the International Office (IO) via email. The extension request must reach the International Office at least 5-6 weeks before the expiration of your initial contract.

Unfortunately, extensions from the summer semester to the next winter semester are not possible due to billing reasons. The stay must occur and be settled within the same academic year.

Joint Study stays are generally designed and funded for only one term, i.e., four months. No extension is possible in this case. The host institution would not waive the tuition fees for an extension.

Withdrawals should not be made just because you no longer feel like participating, have a new friend or suddenly want to take up an internship, etc.

If someone falls suddenly ill, faces financial difficulties due to a sudden job loss of a parent, then withdrawal is, of course, possible at any time. If you cancel for trivial reasons, be aware that the coordinator will list you as a candidate who will be relegated to the back in case of a reapplication.

In general, it is advisable to cancel as early as possible because not only the coordinator and the IO are affected, but also the host university. You cause additional work for all parties involved.

Please note: the spot you relinquish cannot be used by anyone else, as the nomination deadlines at partner universities have already passed. It is unfair to colleagues to let a spot go to waste that they would have gladly taken.

You can cancel after one semester if there are valid reasons for doing so. However, ensure that you have earned enough ECTS for the months spent at the host university. Also, keep in mind that you need to bring an attendance certificate for the period spent on-site – TUW will settle accounts precisely on a daily basis, and any excess funds will be reclaimed.

In case of environmental disasters, events like those in Paris, pandemics, or situations where you no longer feel secure, you can terminate – under the concept of "Force Majeure," or higher force.

First, you need to independently find a company that will hire you. You must then send the Learning Agreement for Traineeship to the company, which you can find on the IO's website. The company must fill in details about what you will be doing, what prior knowledge you must have, who your supervisor is, and how monitoring will be conducted. Additionally, it should be noted what you will earn, whether you are insured, etc.

The internship must meet the following requirements: it must be related to your studies, it must be a full-time internship (35-40 hours per week), and it must last at least two full months.

Once you have received the Learning Agreement for Traineeship back from the company, you must take it to your Dean's Office and have it signed by the Dean of Academic Affairs. They will check the box on the form indicating that the internship is to be included in the Diploma Supplement.

This Diploma Supplement is an additional document that you must request from the dean's office upon graduation. The Erasmus internship must be recorded there. This is important because there are no mandatory internships at TUW, and therefore, no ECTS are awarded for them. If you do not do this at graduation, in case of an audit, you will have to repay the Erasmus funds.

The IO needs the fully completed and signed Learning Agreement at least 4 weeks before you start your internship.

After completing their studies, students have the opportunity to complete an internship that is funded, even though they have already finished their studies. However, you must apply for this graduate internship two to three months before completing your studies. The same requirements apply as for the Erasmus internship, except for the provision regarding the Diploma Supplement, which is not applicable in this case.

Under certain circumstances, project work is possible, but several conditions must be considered. You must clarify in advance with your supervisor at TUW generally supports working abroad and agrees to it. This is done via an email to the Dean of Academic Affairs, so that the work can be included in the Learning Agreement. Then you must contact the relevant department at the host institution and contact several professors there to find out if someone would serve as your supervisor. The consent of a person from the host institution is necessary; if it is not available, the IO of the host university will not allow you to do the project work, and you must take a certain number of courses.

The Certificate of Arrival is a form that is signed by partner universities when incoming students arrive. This form is not required. TUW does not require this form.

 

This is a confirmation of attendance. This confirmation must be completed and signed by all Erasmus outgoings at the end of their study abroad period by the respective host university. The form can be found in the download section for students on the TUW website. You should upload the signed confirmation in TISS.

D) Before Departure/Insurance

Your e-card is valid within the EU if the European health insurance is registered on the back. It is advisable to also request Form E104 from the social insurance carrier, as this EU form is recognized in every country, and doctors and hospitals are familiar with it. You can also use it to demonstrate your insurance coverage at universities.

Always carry your e-card with you and present it at every doctor's visit. While you may have to pay for doctor visits, you can submit the invoice to your health insurance for reimbursement.

It is advisable to take out travel insurance for the duration of your stay abroad, as it often includes coverage for loss or theft of luggage, valuables, etc., and usually provides repatriation in case of an accident.

Also, consider liability insurance; if you damage university property or something breaks in the student dormitory, you can rely on this liability insurance, and you won't have to pay the resulting costs out of your own pocket.

For universities overseas, they often require incoming students to purchase their insurance packages. Only if you can prove that your insurance covers more than the local mandatory insurance, can you request not to pay/take this package.

 

Find out if you can book accommodation in the student dormitory in advance or if you need to arrive a few days earlier to go apartment hunting. If you need to arrive earlier than the accommodation is available or if you need to find a room on-site, it is recommended to reserve a bed in a hostel for a few days so that you have accommodation at the beginning.

Additionally, clarify everything related to insurance, visa (if required), and vaccination passport. Refresh your vaccinations; in some countries, vaccinations for measles or whooping cough are mandatory. Italian universities allow entry only to those vaccinated against Covid.

Get vaccinated in Austria, as it is cheaper than abroad. If you have chronic illnesses, find out which medications you need to take/bring to the host country or where you can obtain these medications in the host country.

Check the account fees for the respective country, which payment methods prevail in the country, and read whether there are affordable student accounts.

For the USA, for example, you need a Bank Letter, a confirmation from your own bank that you have enough money in your account that you can access freely during your study stay in the host country.

It is always in an advantage to have a common credit card, as it is usable in almost every country.

Polish up your language skills; this will significantly ease your entry into the host country or learn the essential phrases in the local language to gain some sympathy from your hosts immediately.

If provided/offered by the host institution, contact your buddy or register online with the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) at the host university for a buddy.

As different as the countries in Europe are, so are the start times of semesters.

You can always find the semester dates of partner universities on their websites under the term "academic calendar".

Scandinavian universities start the autumn semester at the end of August and shortly after New Year with the spring semester.

Spanish, French, and Italian universities start at different times in September and February.

Only in Germany does the autumn/winter semester begin in October, and the summer semesters in Germany usually start at the beginning of April.

In the USA and Canada, trimesters usually start in mid-August and early/mid-January. In Australia, semesters usually start in July and February.

Therefore, plan your arrival according to the semester start times and allow one to two weeks for acclimatization, apartment hunting (if necessary). If the host institution offers a mandatory orientation session, this must also be included in the planning.

Consider the semester start times if you have a summer internship planned before your departure and check if everything fits in time!

An Orientation Session is a kind of orientation event for incoming students, offered by many TUW partners for exchange students. Here, the registration at the host university is usually completed, the course registration is discussed, the rules of the host university are explained, access information or cards are distributed, safety tips are given, insurance and housing are discussed, information about possible buddy systems is provided, information about residence permits is given, etc.

Some universities even offer entire Orientation Weeks, including cultural events or mini-language courses in the local language or outdoor trips to facilitate socializing, making it easier for students to make friends.

Many universities have introduced these sessions as mandatory because otherwise, the IO staff would be overwhelmed with the number of students who present themselves at the IO individually at the beginning of the semester and would need individual advice.

Please attend these Orientation Sessions. They greatly facilitate the entry into the host university.

E) Other

The answer is generally NO. While you can apply for the same destination, there is no guarantee that both of you will be selected, as coordinators do not consider couples or friends! Only study progress and grade average count.

Please consider that if only one of you receives a nomination, you both must accept it; please do not cancel because your friend did not receive a nomination for the same city.

This is true for the most part. They are similar to Austrian universities of applied sciences. Therefore, you should always expect compulsory attendance and sometimes a predetermined schedule. Often, you cannot switch between year courses. This means that if you take 4 courses from the 3rd year and want to take another course from the 4th year, this is often not possible.