FAQ about studying abroad in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Before Applying

When should I start planning my semester abroad?

That depends on when your application is due. The different regions have different application deadlines that are crucial as to when you should start planning. In general it is best to start planning at least six months prior to the deadline, we even recommend planning a year in advance. You need to gather quite a lot of documents and you will have to apply for various documentation and certificates, meaning, it is better to plan a little early.

When can I apply?

In general, LUH students are eligible to apply from the first semester onwards. You have to have studied at LUH for two semesters before you can go abroad. You should get your bearings here first and get to know LUH properly before you go. This is also because, as an exchange student you will be functioning as a sort of "ambassador" for LUH.

If you are planning to go abroad in your third semester, you will have to apply in your first semester. However, you should always check with your institute first as there can be recommendations or specifically designated semester times for  a semester abroad.

Can I only go abroad if I want to study there?

No. You also have the option to complete an internship abroad (or combine it with a study stay with ISEP, for instance). You can also go abroad for research or to write your thesis. As you can see, there are numerous options for you to choose from.

How do I know which University is best for me?

There are two answers to this question. One, of course it depends on which classes you want to visit while you are abroad and if the university of your choice actually offers them.

Second, it is a question of personal preference: Do you like the university? Do you like the university website? Do you like how the university looks? Do you like the area where the university is located? Can you imagine spending a longer period of time there?

You should answer these questions for yourself to help narrow down your preferred choices.

Aren't semesters abroad expensive?

Going abroad costs money, that much should be clear. However, we are trying our best to shape our programs and partnerships in such a way that it is possible for every student to study abroad if they wish to do so. There are also many ways in which you can get financial support. You can get more information on scholarships and support programs here.

Do I even have the time to study abroad?

At LUH, students who go abroad are given leave for the time needed. This means that your study time here is essentially put on hold and you can pick up where you left off when you return. Sos, for instance, if you are going abroad in your fifth semester, you will be granted leave for that semester, and when you come back, your next semester will be your fifth. So you are not losing any study time.

You should, however, speak to the coordinators for your program to figure our the best time frame to go abroad and not lose any time.

What are my options for going abroad?

Leibniz University has various different programs that allow you to go abroad. The ERASMUS+ Program is a cooperation between all members of the EU and other European countries. Information on the ERASMUS+ program are available at your faculty.

Furthermore, there are five other regions, where you can go to a partner university: Asia, India, North America and Oceania, Middle and Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Information on the different regions can be found on the International Office Website.

The faculties additionally have their own worldwide partnerships. Your options for going abroad are plentiful.

Do I have to go abroad with a university program?

No. Of course you are also allowed to organize and carry out a semester abroad by yourself. The university programs do offer certain perks, however, like help with the organization, less or no study fees and comprehensive support during your time abroad.

Of course, we can still help you with certain things, like your visa, if you choose to organize your stay abroad by yourself.

During the application process

Which costs do I have to expect if I apply?

Costs for a stay at a Partner university or an ISEP university are almost the same. Depending on the location, costs can range from €6,000 - €10,000 per semester (flights, accomocation, meals, books, etc. included).

Is it possible to apply for Partner universities and ISEP at the same time?

Yes, this is possible and even recommended by the International Office. There are no disadvantages to a concurrent application for partner universities and ISEP.

However, please note that some partner universities are also ISEP members. You cannot apply to these universities via ISEP.

Please note that the application in the ISEP portal should only be made after a successful nomination.

Are the application processes for ISEP and the partner universities separate or are they combined into a single process (because a lot of the required documents are the same)?

They run separately. Please complete the MoveOn application first and specify whether you would like to complete your semester abroad with our university partnership, ISEP or both options. After the application and the selection interviews, you will be nominated for a partner university/ISEP. With the nomination for ISEP, you can now start the application in the ISEP portal.

However, we recommend that you familiarize in advance with the ISEP portal and take a look at the universities offered so that you know exactly which universities are suitable for you and your degree programme.

Can any teacher or professor write an Academic Reference?

The Academic References should be written by university teachers or professors that teach here at LUH. If you have moved to LUH from another university, the Academic References can also be written by university teachers or professors from your former university.

It is also not necessary for you to know a professor personally. Oftentimes, professors write academic references when asked. There is also the possibility that your faculty or your institute has a designated professor for academic references. It might be necessary to conduct a personal conversation to obtain the reference.

Do I submit the academic references with my application?

No, the academic references and the academic reference form need to be submitted by the teachers or professors themselves. The documents should be sent directly to Mr. Sechrist via Mail or university house mail. This needs to be done so that you as the applicant, cannot see these documents. If the documents are handed to you regardless, please note that they have to be contained in a sealed envelope and need to be submitted to the International Office immediately.

When are my academic references due?

Both the written academic references and the academic reference form should be present on the day of submission, at the latest. However, these documents need to be uploaded to the ISEP application portal in order for your application to be 100% complete. Therefore it is recommended that you submit your academic references as soon as possible so that your application can be completed before the deadline.

Which language should my resume be written in?

Your resume should be written in English.

Should I translate my grades into the American GPA system?

This is certainly possible but not strictly necessary. This grade conversion table(PDF) should help if you want to do it. You will still have to submit your translated official transcript.

Can i just print my transcript?

No, the examination office has to print and certify your transcript.

Where can I get my transcript translated?

It is best to first ask your respective examination office. The office usually has translators that can give you a certified translated transcript.

Is it possible to apply for different regions when applying for ISEP (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)?

Yes, this is possible but only for the regions of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However, we strongly adivse against applying only for universities in Australia, New Zealand and California because the odds of getting a placement there are rather low.

Do I have to list ten universities for my ISEP priorities list or can I list less than that?

When applying to ISEP, students must list ten universities. Applications with an incomplete list will not be considered. It should also be noted that Universities that are partner universities of LUH cannot be selected for ISEP.

If your specific study program does not have ten universities available, then please list all universities that are possible and make a note that these are all the available options.

Will I definitely spend my semester abroad at one of the ten universities that I have chosen?

ISEP tries to place all students at one of the ten desired universities. However, there is no absolute guarantee for a placement at your top priority. ISEP therefore reserves the right to suggest other universities to the students should a placement at a desired university not be possible. If the applicant decides to decline the alternative offer, a new application by that student will not be considered again in the future.

Where do I get the language certificate (TOEFL/IELTS)?

TOEFL is a language certification that is organised and offered by the non-profit organisation ETS. You can take the test at any ETS test center in Germany throughout the year. You can check for ETS test centers and available test dates here. LUH is one of the ETS test centers where you can take the test. However, places for the test are limited! If you cannot take the test in Hanover, we recommend you find another test center, e.g. somewhere in Lower Saxony where you can comfortably get to with your student ticket.

The IELTS test follows the same principle. You can find all relevant information here.

Do I have to pay for the certificate?

Yes. TOEFL costs € 249, IELTS costs € 299.

Should I take TOEFL or IELTS?

The primary difference between the tests is, that TOEFL certifies American English and IELTS certifies British English.
Even though there are some universities in the United States that do accept the IELTS certificate, the International Office and ISEP recommend taking the TOEFL. The majority of universities in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand require this certificate and it has a lot more value at their universities. Ultimately, it is your decision which test you want to take. However, you should check on the university homepages and on the ISEP homepage which language certificates are acceptable in individual cases.

How long does the language certificate need to be valid?

It is usually sufficient if your TOEFL or IELTS is valid at the time of application and placement. It is possible that some universities require a valid certification throughout your semester abroad. Please check with your possible guest universities before applying.

Do I need a specific score on the TOEFL or the IELTS?

To apply successfully, you need a minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL. The minimum score for the individual universities can vary. Please check the respective university homepages for the minimum score required.

Is the electronic TOEFL score sufficient for the application?

Yes, the electronic score is sufficient. However, the printed copy should be submitted as soon as possible.

Can I hand in my TOEFL score later?

No, your TOEFL score needs to be submitted, in electronic or printed form, with your application on the application deadline (June 15th or November 15th).

How long does it take for my results to be in?

Your results should be sent to you electronically after about 10 days. The printed document should take about three weeks. Please be aware when you book a place for a TOEFL-test that it is at least 10 days before the application due date. However, It is recommended to plan your TOEFL-test earlier than that.

Do I have to take the TOEFL even if I study English/American Studies and have already taken the test?

Yes, this is absolutely necessary. TOEFL is only valid for two years. More likely than not, by the time you apply for a semester abroad, you will have to retake it.

If you have a valid IELTS, please talk to us before you hand in your application.

I am a grad student. Do I apply as undergraduate or as graduate?

Application for graduate classes and lectures is only possible in individual cases. Therefore you need to apply as an undergraduate student, even if you are in a graduate program. If you apply for ISEP and you want to visit graduate classes and lectures, please check if this is possible at the universities that you choose. You can find this information on the universities' profile pages on the ISEP homepage.

Do I need to know which courses can be accredited here before I apply?

The course list is part of the application that needs to be submitted for the first four universities. It is advisable to check with your academic counselor beforehand to see which courses are possible for you and how they can be accredited here. The Learning Agreement, however, only needs to be filled out after you have received your acceptance.

Before you leave

When do I have to be at the partner university?

The partner universities will usually let you know when you should be at the university and will most likely organise a way for you to get there, either by shuttle or someone will come to pick you up at the airport. Please note that most universities have "Orientation Days" a few days before semester begins. You should plan your arrival accordingly.

Do I need to have my return flight booked already?

Strictly speaking this is not necessary. However, it is recommendable to have your return flight already booked. For one, you can prove that you will not exceed your visa (especially in Canada, border patrol will note this). On the other hand it is often a lot cheaper to book a round trip.

I want to apply for Auslands-BAFöG. Who do I contact and when?

The individual student service offices each have a department that is responsible for Auslands-BAFöG for a specific region. You can find the one responsible for your region here.

The student service office usually requires you to submit your application six months in advance. Though it can take longer for you to be placed at a guest university. Therefore it is best to ask if you should submit an incomplete application on time or if you should hand in your complete application as soon as you have all required documents.

Do I have to take leave for the semester abroad?

That depends on a few things. For one, it is possible your faculty requires you to be on leave. However, if you plan on taking any exams in the semester that you spend abroad, please check with your faculty because if you are on leave you are not eligible to take any exams here. On the other hand, it is a financial question as you do not have to pay the full semester fee. However, this also means that you will not have a semester ticket until the next semester and you are not eligible to take any exams.

When can I apply to take leave from the LUH?

If you decide to take leave for the duration of your study stay abroad, you can do this at the enrollment office as soon as you know you are going abroad. At the latest, your leave should be applied for and granted by the next re-registration period.

Do I need a visa?

That depends on where you are going. If you are going to the US, you will need a visa that specifically states that you are studying at a specific university. If you are going to Canada, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eta) is needed. Australia and New Zealand both require a student visa.

Where do I go to get my visa?

Visas for the US have to be applied for in person at the consulate in Hamburg or the embassy in Frankfurt am Main. You will need an appointment which you can check in for online.

Canada's eta and the student visa for Australia and New Zealand can be applied for online.

How long is my visa valid for?

Usually, simple visa, as they are needed here, are valid for six months. Entry and exit can take place 30 days before or after your visa becomes valid. However, you should keep in mind that unforeseen circumstances may delay your entry or exit. Please plan accordingly.

During your stay

Are there any differences in care between ISEP and the partner universities?

No. All International Offices at partner universities as well as at ISEP universities care for their students very diligently. They are always available if you have any questions or problems.

Do I have to get to the university on my own?

The International Office at your guest university will let you know how you will get to the university from the airport. Oftentimes the university will organize a shuttle service or have someone come pick you up.

My classes changed. Does that have any consequences for my Learning Agreement?

If your courses schould change on short notice or if you decide to change one of your courses, please contact the coordinator at your guest university and your faculty's coordinator IMMEDIATELY!

I need a doctor - where do I go?

Part of the agreement with our Partner Universities and with ISEP Universities is health insurance. Oftentimes, universities will also have a GP or some kind of medical assistance on campus. Feel free to go there if need be.

I want to rent a car - is my driver's licence valid?

If you have an EU driver's licence (card) then yes, it should be valid. By the off chance that you do need an international driver's licence, you can apply for one at your local citizen office. Please do so before you go, though

I want to travel during my time abroad - do I need a special visa?

That depends on where you are travelling. Travels in the country are covered by the visa you already have. You should keep your passport and your visa on you at all time, especially when you are travellung, though.

If you plan on going abroad, e.g. from the US to Canada or vice versa, please check if you need to apply for anything in advance!

After you come back

Do I have to let the university know that I am back?

Strictly speaking, you do not have to tell the university that cou have come back. However, you should ensure that you are properly re-enrolled for the next semester. The International Office would like to hear from you but you don't have to.

How does the Credit transfer work?

Firstly, you can pick up your transcript from Mr. Sechrist's office (Room 232) as soon as it has been sent to us. Then, you can contact your faculty's coordinator and they will convert your credits or GPA hours accordingly. They will fill out a form which you can then submit to your faculty's examination office.

Do I have to do anything else?

Yes, and that is to write an experience report. We collect your reports and put them on the International Office website (with your go-ahead) so other students planning their stays abroad may gain insight into what they can and should expect when they go.

The experience report can be submitted in different ways. You can either write a report or you can make a video report. We will give you an overview of the specific information that has to be included in the report beforehand.

Other than that, we would be happy if you were available to tell new Outgoings about your experiences personally and answer some questions while they are preparing to go abroad.