ERASMUS+ Traineeships

Funding traineeships

What is an Erasmus+ traineeship?

International academic mobility is becoming increasingly important. For more than 25 years, the Erasmus+ programme (German) from the European Commission has been offering effective funding for individuals studying or completing traineeships abroad, with a total of 33 countries now available. An Erasmus+ traineeship is a good way to gain practical experience abroad. Recipients are paid a monthly subsidy and have a contract ensuring that the traineeship is recognised as counting towards their degree programme. Students who are interested in taking part in the programme do have to find their trainee position themselves (research placements at institutes of higher education also count), but funding is generally always approved providing the requirements of the programme are met and sufficient funds are available.

Before applying you should consider which career path you intend to take in the future and to what extent the traineeship could be useful for this, as well as thinking about which foreign or working language you want to use during the traineeship. We would also recommend that you attend information events (German) and read reports from other students (German).

Details on Erasmus+ traineeships

Unlike studying abroad with Erasmus+, spending time abroad on a traineeship (internship at a company, carrying out practical research for your final thesis, research placement, practical year, clinical practice, working as an assistant teacher) is eligible for funding from the first semester onwards. We would recommend, however, studying at least one academic year at FAU before commencing a traineeship abroad. You should be sufficiently proficient in the working language and/or the language of the country you intend visiting.

Students may be granted Erasmus+ funding more than once as detailed below:

  • New degree programmes (Bachelor’s, Master’s, doctoral degree/PhD): a total of 12 months in each period of study can be spent studying and/or taking part in a traineeship abroad. This corresponds to a maximum of 3 x 12 = 36 months.
  • Traditional degree programmes (studying to be a teacher in Germany, state examination): 24 months for either studying or taking part in a traineeship abroad before completing the first degree. A further 12 months are possible when studying for a doctoral degree, in other words a maximum total of 24 + 12 = 36 months.

You are entitled to funding if you are enrolled at FAU for a degree programme with the aim of obtaining a university degree (including a doctoral degree) and are planning a traineeship relevant or applicable to your degree programme in another country within Europe (see list of possible host countries below). There are no restrictions as to nationality.

The new generation of programmes also allow recent graduates to apply for funding for a traineeship abroad provided the following requirements are met:

  • The application for funding is submitted during the final year of study
  • The traineeship is to be started and completed within one year of completing the respective period of study
  • The maximum period for Erasmus+ funding (see above) has not already been completed in the previous period of study

Due to the limited financial resources, funding traineeships for graduates takes a lower priority.

Funding is available for traineeships in companies, organisations, universities/institutes of higher education, research facilities, hospitals, educational facilities etc. in the 27 member states in the European Union (including their respective oversea territories) as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway and Turkey.

Due to the result of the referendum held on 9 February 2014, the European Commission has suspended the conclusion of the participation agreement with Switzerland for the Erasmus+ programme until further notice. This means that, in the first year of the new generation of the programme, Switzerland will have the status of a partner country but not of a programme country. From our current perspective, funding is not available for traineeships in Switzerland.

Traineeships can be carried out in any institution based in one of the programme countries acting either in the employment market or in areas relating to general and vocational education or youth work. These must, however, have their place of jurisdiction in the host country. If you intend doing your traineeship at an institute of higher education, it must hold a valid Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE).

Research placements at institutes of higher education are also possible. However, students should note that they must not be enrolled at the respective institute of higher education.

If a traineeship or practical dissertation or thesis work is done at institutes of higher education in Switzerland, there is the option of applying directly to the respective university for funding under the Swiss-European Mobility Programme. Please contact the host university.

Funding is not available for traineeships at:

  • EU institutions and other EU facilities including specialised agencies
  • Institutions administering EU programmes (e.g. national Erasmus+ agencies)
  • Institutions with their legal headquarters in Germany.

The traineeship must last at least a total of 60 funding days.

A funding month is not equivalent to a calendar month.

Funding is provided, for example, from 1 October to 30 November or from 15 March to 14 May. No other funding is available. If you complete your traineeship in less than 2 months, you are obliged to pay back the entire grant. An extension is possible, but must be applied for at least 4 weeks before the traineeship is planned to end.

Please inform us in good time of any changes to the duration of your stay, we need written confirmation from the organization hosting your traineeship. We will then re-calculate your grant.

Any differences are then settled with the final instalment, depending on the funds we have available. There is no guarantee that we will be able to extend your grant.

You are free to choose the starting and finishing date of your traineeship yourself. For the Erasmus+ funding period 2016, stays abroad can be funded until 31 May 2018, and within the funding period 2017 until 31 July 2019. Funding from the period 2016 is still available for traineeships ending before 31 March 2018. All others will be funded with the funds allocated for 2017.

The latest starting date for a traineeship lasting at least 2 months in the new funding period is therefore 1 April 2019. Funding is granted as long as sufficient financing is available. Funds are allocated according to the order in which applications are received. Incomplete applications are moved to the end of the queue when allocating funds.

Funding for the Erasmus+ traineeship is paid in two instalments. 70 percent of the total is paid out before the traineeship, the outstanding 30 percent are then paid by bank transfer once you have completed your traineeship and your report and traineeship certificate have been received. You are still eligible for Erasmus+ funding even if during the traineeship you receive funding from a private or public foundation, a foreign grant or remuneration from the institution where you are doing the traineeship. You are not, however, entitled to other funding from the EU at the same time.

You receive a partial scholarship, in other words a contribution towards the cost of living, with the amount of funding determined according to the respective group of countries (1 funding month = 30 calendar days, irrespective of whether the calendar month has 28, 29 or 31 days).

  • Country group 1: funding period 2017: 480 euros/funding month
    Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden
  • Country group 2: funding period 2017: 420 euros/funding month
    Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey
  • Country group 3: funding period 2017: 360 euros/funding month
    Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia
  • Additional funding for people with disabilities classified as 50% or over (special application required)
  • Free participation in preparatory intercultural training at FAU, if applicable

Insurance contributions are not covered.

  • Please first submit your application for funding of an Erasmus+ traineeship to the Central Office for International Affairs. Applications for the current funding period can be handed in to the Office at any time, but can only be processed once the trainee position has been confirmed (employment/traineeship contract) and all application documents have been submitted.
  • As only limited funding places are available, it is recommended that you apply early and hand in the completed application form as soon as possible. All application documents should be submitted in full to the Central Office for International Affairs at the latest four weeks before the traineeship in order to ensure that the application can be processed within the deadline and the grant paid out in time, if approved.
  • In justified, exceptional cases, application documents can be submitted until just before the traineeship is due to start, however processing will be delayed as a result, which may in turn lead to a delay in the first instalment being paid.
  • Applications for Erasmus+ funding are processed according to the date on which they are received. When allocating funding, attention is paid to whether the documents were submitted on time and whether they are complete and consistent. Although there is an increased demand from certain degree programmes, the funding available for the funding period is distributed equally across the faculties. If the contingent for any one faculty is already exhausted at the time the application is submitted (as is the case until April 2018 for applications from students at the Faculty of Medicine for four months practical experience) an application from a student from one faculty which is worthy of funding may be able to be funded at a later date with residual funds from another faculty.

An application cannot be made retrospectively or after the traineeship has started.

The selection is made centrally by the Erasmus Institutional Coordinator. The selection criteria are divided into qualitative and formal criteria.

The formal criteria are:

  • Documents must be complete
  • Information given must be correct
  • Information must be plausible
  • Deadlines must be met, any other agreements complied with and applicants must have the required language skills.

The qualitative criteria are:

  • The applicant must be motivated to do the traineeship for reasons relating to their subject and their career
  • The traineeship must be incorporated into the applicant’s course of studies.
  • Online language tests and online language courses are available for the following working languages: BG, CS, DA, DE, EL, EN, ES, FI, FR, HR, HU, IT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SV
  • These are compulsory for all students/graduates after selecting / before starting their mobility as well as after completing their stay abroad.
  • The online test is not a deciding factor when deciding on funding for the Erasmus+ programme and does not apply to native speakers from the host country. An online language test is not required for working languages for which no online test is available.
  • As the test is only meant to be taken in the working language, there is no need to take a language test in the language spoken in the host country if the working language during the traineeship is German.
  • The language test is intended for candidates who have had Erasmus+ funding approved, documenting their proficiency in the language. It should be taken both before and after the stay abroad in order to be able to compare results and, if applicable, demonstrate the progress the participants have made.
  • All applicants will be informed when exactly the online language test is to be taken after registering in the online application portal.

Please note that the result of the language test has no bearing on funding.

  • The idea behind the compulsory language tests at the beginning and end of the time abroad is for the European Commission to be able to track changes in the language proficiency of the scholarship holders.
  • Depending on the level of the language and existing language course licences, you are given the opportunity to take an online language course free of charge before and during your traineeship.

Please contact the traineeship advisor at your institute or faculty if you have any questions about having your traineeship accredited towards your degree programme. The Central Office for International Affairs arranges for your stay abroad to be included automatically in your diploma supplement.

Students doing a traineeship abroad must ensure that they have adequate insurance cover. The DAAD, for example, offers various insurance options especially for doing a traineeship either within Europe or elsewhere in the world. Detailed information and additional links can be found on the DAAD websites .

Health insurance

The European health insurance card is all that is needed for traineeships within the EU. Germany has also concluded social insurance agreements with various countries outside the EU. In these cases, students have to obtain an entitlement document (‘Anspruchsbescheinigung’) from their German health insurance company.

Please note that the existing insurance cover may not be sufficient, particularly if return transport or particular medical intervention is required. It may be worthwhile taking out private health insurance to cover these eventualities. Students have to take out private health insurance for traineeships outside the EU and in countries with which there is no social security agreement (e.g. Turkey).

Those students who have private health insurance should check with their insurance company whether the stay abroad is covered and take out private health insurance to cover the time spent abroad if necessary.

Accident and liability insurance

Two types of insurance are particularly worthwhile for the duration of the traineeship:

  • accident insurance to cover damage suffered at your place of work
  • liability insurance to cover damage you cause at your place of work

6 steps to Erasmus+ traineeships

Check first of all with someone responsible at your institute or your faculty which specific requirements have to be met when working on your final thesis or ensuring that the traineeship counts towards your degree. Your traineeship advisor will help you find the person who is responsible at your institute. Detailed information is available on the website for preparing for stays abroad.

You are not allocated a traineeship place as part of the scholarship. It is up to you to organise a traineeship place abroad before applying. The Central Office for International Affairs is happy to advise.

Further information:

After receiving confirmation, you should approach the Central Office for International Affairs and submit the application form for the Erasmus traineeship funding, your CV and confirmation of enrolment (see below). Your data is collected and you are sent an e-mail with a personalised Learning/Mobility Agreement for Traineeships and the request from the EU to register for one of the compulsory OLS language tests (see section ‘Language learning’ above).

Take the requested language test and complete the Learning Mobility Agreement for Traineeships in consultation with the institution where you are to do the traineeship and the person responsible for accrediting the traineeship at your institute or faculty. Please note that all parties involved have to sign.

Once everyone has signed the Learning/Mobility Agreement, it should be handed in to the Central Office for International Affairs together with the required proof of insurance cover and further documents (see below) required for your application at the latest one month before the traineeship is due to start.

Once all documents are complete you receive a grant agreement in duplicate. Please sign both originals and send one back by post to the Central Office for International Affairs. 70 percent of the agreed grant is transferred to you in advance. Now you can go abroad and start your traineeship as planned.

Shortly before the end of the traineeship you should request confirmation of completion from the traineeship position as required for the EU grant – see section Documents and Forms. The RIA will send you the templates you need two to three weeks before the end of your traineeship.

At the end of your stay abroad you will be asked to take an OLS language test and hand in the final questionnaire “EU Survey”. Please do so as soon as possible.

Please hand in the final documents together with a voluntary final report, written in your own words, to the Central Office for International Affairs. The data is then checked, the grant recalculated if necessary and the second instalment or final payment paid by bank transfer.

Documents and forms

Application documents are currently available for the funding period 2017. Forms and documents required for the period 2018 are not made available by the EU until June 2018.

Students who intend applying for a grant for a traineeship ending after 31 March 2018 should please first contact Bianca Köndgen and pass on their details (date of birth, student registration number, e-mail address, host institution and definitive period of traineeship).