International Opportunities for Students
The FernUniversität in Hagen’s unique distance learning system means that its students are not bound to a single location and its study programs are available to students around the world.
As a distance learning university with a large and diverse student body, the FernUniversität in Hagen provides its students with a wide range of flexible options for gaining international experience. These range from a classic semester abroad to internships, language courses, and short courses.
In order to meet the needs of students whose professional or personal situations do not allow for a stay abroad, it also offers students the option of gaining international experience from home through virtual mobility.
Study at the FernUniversität – Live Abroad
The distance learning model at the FernUniversität makes it possible to study from anywhere in the world. Whether you are in Hagen, Nairobi, or Hanoi, you can complete an accredited German-language university degree from anywhere. In certain countries you can also receive local support.
Study materials are available online and/or shipped around the world via postal services. You can take exams from almost any country in the world. In Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary, regional and study centers provide students with in-person support. The Central Student Advisory (German) offers online events in virtual classrooms and individual online advising especially for students from abroad. Full-time FernUniversität students can apply for an international student ID card for a fee.
If you are interested in studying at the FernUniversität and completed your prior qualifications abroad, the International Student Admissions Office is your first point of contact. They can advise you regarding whether your qualifications make you eligible for admissions as well as any necessary translations of your documents and language certificates.
Please note that most courses and modules at the FernUniversität are taught in German, and you are generally required to provide proof of German language proficiency (B2/C1) in order to enroll in a degree program. The FernUniversität does not offer any preparatory language courses or exams.
All FernUniversität degree programs are accredited through the AQAS (Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation in Study Programs). As a full member of the ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), the AQAS evaluation is based on the European Standards and Guidelines and fulfills the Bologna criteria.
In countries outside the European Higher Education Area, some educational institutions and employers may still require certification from country-specific organizations (which may have associated fees) to confirm that a European degree is equivalent to one obtained within the relevant country.
Students who are enrolled at the FernUniversität via a regional center or coordinating office in central or eastern Europe can apply for scholarships funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to cover the cost of study materials or to partially cover travel costs associated with attending exams, required in-person seminars, or in-person preparatory work for final papers or theses.
In recognition of the excellence of its international students, each year the FernUniversität honors an outstanding international student with the DAAD Prize. The prize recipient is selected among students nominated by their respective faculties for their exceptional academic achievement and social engagement.
The 2020 DAAD Prize was awarded to computer science student Isabel del Burgo Castillo for her excellent academic achievements and her volunteer work assisting refugees and promoting women's and girls' involvement in science and technology careers.
Virtual Study Abroad at the FernUniversität
Would you like to study abroad in Germany, but cannot or do not want to move to Germany for a semester or a year?
A virtual student exchange at the FernUniversität gives you the chance to experience studying at a German university with the flexibility of studying from anywhere in the world. This makes it possible to gain international experience even if you have career, family, or other obligations at home. It is also a great way to get a preview of the German educational system if you are considering studying abroad or a degree program at a traditional on-campus university in Germany. Since most of our modules and courses are offered in German, it is also a good opportunity for students with advanced German language proficiency who want a chance to practice the language in an everyday context.
There are two ways to experience a virtual exchange at the FernUniversität:
If your home university takes part in the Erasmus+ program, your home institution can nominate you for an Erasmus+ exchange at the FernUniversität. Your institution will then take up contact with our international office to make arrangements for the exchange.
Alternatively, you have the option of registering as a free mover through our Open Access Studies program and signing up for individual courses and modules. This option is available to you even if your home institution does not participate in Erasmus+. You should clarify with your home institution in advance whether and how they will recognize credit for courses and modules completed at the FernUniversität. Please note that certain courses or modules may not be available for Open Access Studies.
Please note that since most courses and modules are taught in German, proficiency (B2/C1) in the German language is generally required to enroll at the FernUniversität. Because we teach via distance learning, it is generally not possible to receive a German student visa or residence permit to study at the FernUniversität. If you are completing your exchange from outside of Germany, you are typically exempt from the German requirement for students to carry health insurance.
If you are interested in a virtual exchange and have further questions, please contact:Cindy Knitter Phone: +49 2331 987-4245 Email: international
International Experiences for FernUniversität Students
A temporary stay abroad as part of your studies at the FernUniversität enriches your personal development as well as your knowledge of your subject area. In addition to new skills and qualifications in your field of study, it allows you to acquire valuable language and intercultural skills and qualifications, which are in high demand as business and research are increasingly global and international. A stay abroad can last between a few days and several months. There are a wide variety of options for students who want to go abroad: the form your stay abroad will take depends on your personal needs and interests, but also on how you intend for it to benefit your studies and your career.
For students who cannot or do not want to go abroad physically, the FernUniversität offers you the option of expanding your horizons through virtual mobility, which provides a flexible way to gain international experience instead of or in addition to a physical stay abroad.
An individual stay at a traditional on-campus university abroad can extend over a trimester, semester, or an academic year. One of the most important conditions for success is diligently beginning your preparations one to one and a half years in advance, in order to account for the necessary time to apply to the university abroad and, if relevant, for a separate application for funding. Funding for a semester abroad is available via the Erasmus+ (German) and Promos (German) programs. For more information on planning your semester or year abroad, visit our German-language website or contact:
If your personal or professional situation does not allow you to go abroad physically, you can still expand your international experience as part of a virtual mobility program.
As an alternative or a supplement to physical mobility, the FernUniversität offers its students the opportunity to experience international university life and to collaborate with students from other countries in a virtual environment.
Available short courses include summer and winter schools offered by international universities, which are usually two-week-long intensive seminars on different topics. You can find an overview of summer and winter schools offered in Europe and in the USA online, but in many cases, these are publicized (only) on the website of the university which offers them. Funding for a stay abroad for short courses is possible for example via the Promos program (German).
Recognition of credits and subject-specific advising: please contact your facultyFunding: Cindy Knitter
Phone: +49 2331 987-4245
An internship which is related to your study subject is a worthwhile supplement to your study program, and experiences working abroad grant you an especially interesting view into the working world. From private companies to EU institutions to NGOs, there is a wide selection of possible host institutions. The duration of and pay for an international internship can vary widely. Funding for international internships is primarily available through Erasmus+ (German) and Promos (German).
More information for your search for an international internship can be found on our German-language website.
Foreign language skills are increasingly indispensable both in FernUni studies as well as in the working world. Taking part in a language course in the relevant country allows you to quickly and intensively improve your language skills. In addition to a variety of privately organized courses, many universities also offer language courses. The length of a language course can vary between a week and multiple months. It is recommended to stay with a host family or in student accommodations in order to quickly make local contacts and to use the language in daily life. A stay abroad for a language course can be funded via the Promos program (German). You can find more information about international language courses on the DAAD website.
On our German-language website, FernUniversität students can find information about scholarships, organizations, and programs which can help fund a stay abroad.
In Their Own Words
Want to learn from other students’ experiences and get an idea of what to expect from your international experience? Take some inspiration from our students’ reports on their experiences. Most of the reports we receive are written in German, and can be read on our German site, but we have selected a few English-language reports below: