Markus Mottinger studiert Internationale Wirtschaft & Management an der FH Kufstein Tirol. Während seines Auslandsjahrs hat der Rosenheimer an der Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA) einen Wettbewerb in der Kompetenz der englischen Sprache gewonnen.
Procedures Regarding the Semester Abroad
Information about the partner institutions and about the procedures regarding the semester abroad
Every year in the winter semester, the International Relations Office (IRO) of the FH Kufstein, in cooperation with the degree programs, organizes an informational event on the semester abroad and internships. The dates of the event are communicated by the staff of the degree programs.
How can students inform themselves about the partner universities?
Students can gather information about the many partner institutions of the FH Kufstein in a number of ways.
- The homepage of the FH Kufstein displays a List of Partner Universities. Via links to the websites of the partner universities, students can get a general orientation about geographical location, program offerings, courses and application procedures.
- On the Weblearn platform (internal resource), the IRO provides study-abroad candidates with a link to a list of students who are currently abroad. Candidates can take up contact with these students to obtain first-hand information about the institutions they are attending.
- The library of the FH Kufstein maintains a collection of brochures and other informational documents about the partner universities, which the students can use to study and compare the options open to them.
- The annual “Exchange Fair” takes place in the Aula of the FH Kufstein. Here, exchange students who have come to study at the FH Kufstein present their home institutions and are happy to answer questions and describe their personal experiences.
The IRO is always there to provide students of the FH with information or with help in finding the right information.
Choosing the partner university and being notified about the allocation of a study place
The IRO distributes to the degree programs a list of all the student places available at the partner institutions of the FH Kufstein. In turn, the degree programs provide their students with a preference list, which the students fill out by indicating their preferred institution for the study-abroad semester. The degree programs are then responsible for selecting the students and allocating them to the available places. Thereupon, the degree programs notify their students about the decision and also pass on to the IRO the list with the names of the students and the respective institutions they were assigned to.
After this first allocation round, the IRO produces a second document listing all the places that are still free. The degree programs receive a copy and distribute it to any interested students. Once all students have been allocated to a place, the degree programs submit a finalized allocation list to the IRO, which will be used for nominating the students to the partner universities.
Please note: before being nominated, students are not permitted to contact the partner institutions in any way and for any reason.
The IRO nominates the students to the partner universities at the beginning of the summer semester of every year by communicating the names, e-mail addresses, as well as the planned duration of the stay abroad. The students receive an automatically generated e-mail to inform them when the nomination has been made. Only after this point may students take up contact with the partner university allocated to them in order to inform themselves about, for example, the start of the semester, courses, and housing.
Applying to / registering for the partner universities
After the IRO has nominated the students to the partner universities, they can, in general, expect to receive a “Letter of Acceptance” and other informational material from the respective universities. The “Letter of Acceptance” is necessary for, among other things, applying for a visa for the destination country. Students should make sure that they initiate all processes early enough because, for example, for certain countries the issuance of a student visa can take a relatively long time.
For a number of universities, in particular the Erasmus partner institutions, students do not have to submit a separate application to the host school; the IRO nomination suffices in these cases.
The partner universities have very different application/registration processes and deadlines. Application and registration forms, along with deadlines and other essential information, can usually be found on the website of the respective partner institution. The study-abroad candidates are solely responsible for informing themselves about and completing all the paperwork required by their host university as well as submitting it by the appropriate deadlines.
The Learning Agreement is a contract between a given student, the home institution (i.e., the “sending institution”) and the host institution (i.e., the “receiving institution”). This contract is required by the institutions for recognizing and transferring the credits attained while studying abroad.
In the semester before going abroad, students are obliged to select the academic courses they intend to take at the host institution and enter the course titles into their learning agreement. The students then present their learning agreement to the director of studies of their degree program at the FH Kufstein (departmental coordinator of the sending institution), who must approve the course selection and sign the agreement. The learning agreement is then submitted to the head of the IRO (institutional coordinator of the sending institution), who must also sign the agreement.
The IRO returns the learning agreement to the students before they depart and upon arrival at the host institution, students must present the document to and have it signed by the responsible persons (i.e., departmental and institutional coordinators of the receiving institution).
As the semester abroad begins, it could happen that the courses a student has selected in advance are cancelled or that the student wishes to change one or the other course. In such cases, students should make use of the second page of the learning agreement, entitled “Changes to the Learning Agreement”. For all course changes, students must complete and sign this form, and also have it signed by the coordinators of the receiving institution. The form must then be sent immediately to the student’s director of studies at the FH Kufstein for review and approval.
For students who study abroad at one of the Erasmus partner institutions, the minimum number of course credits is 30 ECTS points (according to the European Credit Transfer System). Those students who intend to go to a non-Erasmus partner institution for their semester abroad must make sure that they enroll in a sufficient number of courses to reach an equivalent of 30 ECTS transfer points.
In cooperation with representatives of the Erasmus Office and the Bureau for European Programs, the IRO of the FH Kufstein organizes an annual informational event on the subject of scholarships and internships abroad. The event takes place once a year during the winter semester and gives students a chance to talk with and gather information from experts about scholarships and internships available to them when they go abroad for their international experiences.
Students who opt to spend their semester abroad within the EU may apply for an Erasmus scholarship. The application forms are available here. The fully completed application must be submitted to the IRO by the deadline. Thereupon the IRO enters the data from the application into the Erasmus system. After this, the Erasmus Scholarship Bureau contacts the student directly by e-mail for all further matters.
Students who decide to do their semester abroad outside the EU should inform themselves about other scholarship possibilities that may be available to them.
Examinations and foreign certificates
In general, the receiving institution forwards the certificates attained by a visiting student directly to the FH Kufstein. Some partner institutions send the certificates to the students’ home address.
At the end of their semester abroad, students are requested to report to the international relations office of the partner institution to verify the following points:
- Have all examination requirements been successfully completed?
- If yes, will the certificate be sent to the FH Kufstein or to the student?
- In case of a failing grade, will there be a possibility to repeat the examination (or otherwise fulfill the examination requirements) at the end of the study-abroad semester?
- Will the repeat examination be held at the host institution or will there be a possibility to administer the examination at the FH Kufstein?
If a student has failed a course, he/she must immediately inform his/her director of studies and the IRO at the FH Kufstein, mentioning any dates for the repeat examinations. This is so that decisions can be made about which further steps must be taken to rectify the matter.
Students can obtain more detailed information via the Weblearn platform of the FH Kufstein.