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ERASMUS+ traineeships in programme countries

Funding traineeships

What is an Erasmus+ traineeship in so-called programme countries?

International academic mobility is becoming increasingly important. For 30 years, the Erasmus+ programme from the European Commission has been offering effective funding for individuals studying or completing traineeships in a total of 33 countries throughout Europe. 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 provided 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 and read reports from other students.

Details on Erasmus+ traineeships (programme countries)

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 (for programme countries and partner countries) more than once as detailed below:

  • 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.
  • State examination programmes (e.g. studying to be a teacher or a phyisician in Germany): 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, Norway, Republic of Northern Macedonia and Turkey. Serbia is included as of 2019 too.

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.

The European Council has agreed to a further extension of the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union until 31 January 2020. How does this affect Erasmus+ mobility?

If the United Kingdom accepts the Withdrawal Agreement before the 31 January 2020:

  • There will be a transition period for Erasmus+ This means that there will be no changes until the end of the current programme generation (including from the call for applications in 2020 which is for mobility periods until 2022).
  • A permanent solution is planned for the programme generation 2021–2027, however this has not yet been negotiated.

If the United Kingdom does not accept the Withdrawal Agreement before 31 January 2020 (No Deal Brexit):

  • All mobility periods that have begun by the applicant physically arriving at their destination on the day the United Kingdom leaves the EU will be funded until their end date.
  • Even if the United Kingdom leaves the EU without a deal, Erasmus+ mobility periods will still be funded subject to these date restrictions.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Brexit advice website has been updated to include this information.

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 2 October to 1 December 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 organisation 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.

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 BAföG international 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 groups and monthly funding rates for internships ending before May 31, 2020 (Funding period 2018)

  • Country group 1: 520 Euro/Month
    Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, (United Kingdom, depending on  Brexit)
  • Country group 2: 460 Euro/Month
    Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands
  • Country group 3: Förderperiode 2018: 400 Euro/Fördermonat
    Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey

Country groups and monthly funding rates for internships ending before May 31, 2021 (Funding period 2019)

  • Country group 1: 555 Euro/Month
    Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, (United Kingdom, depending on  Brexit)
  • Country group 2: 495 Euro/Month
    Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands
  • Country group 3: 435 Euro/Month
    Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey
  • 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

As our budget is limited, we recommend that you apply early. All application documents must be submitted at the latest four weeks before the traineeship starts, in order to ensure that they can be processed and the grant paid BEFORE you start the traineeship.

We cannot accept any applications from 20 December 2019 to 1 February 2020. Please bear this in mind when planning your stay abroad.

  • Potential candidates should send an email to erasmus@fau.de with the subject ‘Voranmeldung Erasmus-SMP 2018, SURNAME; first name’, containing the following information: personal data (first name, surname, date of birth, e-mail address, student registration no., degree programme studied at FAU), exact date of planned stay (giving specific dates), full name and country of host institution (including website if available). Your data will be recorded and you will be sent an e-mail with the link to the online application portal and further information. The procedure is then as follows:
  • Please submit your online application for funding of an Erasmus+ traineeship to the Central Office for International Affairs. Applications can be handed in at any time, but can only be processed once the trainee position has been confirmed (employment/traineeship contract or alternative confirmation) and all application documents have been submitted.
  • 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 when the documents were submitted and whether they are complete and consistent.

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

Applications are sorted fairly and transparently by the staff responsible in the Central Office for International Affairs. 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 language courses are available for the following working languages:
    BG, CS, DA, DE, EL, EN, ES, ET, FI, FR, GA, HR, HU, IT, LT, LV, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, SV
  • These are compulsory for all students/graduates after selecting / before starting their mobility as well as after completing their stay abroad. They cannot be replaced by other tests.
  • 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.

Further information:

Once you have been offered a place, you should apply to the Central Office for International Affairs and register online. You need to upload certain documents to the portal (confirmation of enrolment, traineeship contract with host institution or alternative confirmation). Your data is collected and you are provided with a personalised Learning/Mobility Agreement for Traineeships via the online portal. You are also sent an email from the EU instructing you to register for one of the compulsory OLS language tests (see section ‘Language learning’ above).

Take the required OLS language test and upload the result which you receive as a pdf to the application portal. 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 before the traineeship starts.

Upload the Learning/Mobility Agreement signed by all parties to complete your documents at the latest one month before the traineeship is due to start (high resolution pdf scan).

Once all documents are complete, you can access your grant agreement via the online portal, as well as the grant confirmation, confirmation of BaFöG and, in the case of non-EU citizens, any documents you may require to apply for a visa to the host country. Please print off a copy of the Grant Agreement, sign it and send it back by post to the Central Office for International Affairs. We can only accept originals, not scans. A scan copy will be uploaded into the portal, and 70 percent of the agreed grant transferred to you in advance. Now you can go abroad and start your traineeship as planned.

Shortly before the traineeship is due to end, you will be provided with a template for the required Traineeship Certificate via the online portal. This must be issued and signed by the institution where you are doing your traineeship (see as well section ‘Documents and forms’).

At the end of your stay abroad you will be asked to take a second OLS language test and hand in the final questionnaire, known as the ‘EU Survey‘. There is no requirement to take a final language test if you are a native speaker of the language and were not required to take an initial language test or if you are not a native speaker but achieved level C2 in the initial language test. Everyone else receives an email from the OLS system with the results of the test in a pdf document, which you then have to upload to the online portal of the Central Office of International Affairs. The same applies to the EU Survey. After submitting the questionnaire, you receive a pdf by email from the EU Commission, and this should also be uploaded into the portal. The data is then checked and the grant adjusted if necessary. You are provided with a final confirmation online and the second instalment or final payment is transferred or you are asked to make a repayment, as the case may be.

Documents and forms