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Organisation of your stay abroad


Organisation & Application Process – Outbound Master

How to plan your stay abroad and how to manage the application process

The following lists the necessary steps to follow when planing and applying for your stay abroad.
Whether you want to study at one of HSBA's partner institutuions or as a free mover for a semester, or you rather apply for a Summer School or Winter School please follow the steps below.

The HSBA International Office naturally assists in case of questions. Your company may also contact us with any douts they may have.

Step 1: Check in with your company

Consultation with the Company

It is important to discuss and plan a stay abroad with the company at an early stage. One-semester stays abroad usually last 4.5 to 5.5 months and are thus longer than the theory phase at HSBA. The overlap in the practical phase can be covered, for example, by taking holiday, leave of absence or a mix of both. After successful agreement, the company must sign off the OK on the student’s application form. The final decision as to whether a stay abroad is granted is up to the company. 

At the time of application to HSBA, the information for the coming academic year has usually not yet been determined or published by the partner universities. However, the future dates usually differ only insignificantly from the current semester dates. 

Step 2: Gather information and start choosing your preferred institution abroad

At this stage, ensure that you are fully and dully informed about the different options of spending time abroad during your degree programme at HSBA.

Lenght of stay abroad

Have you thought carefully about whether a long stay of four to six months (one semester) is an option for you? Have you discussed your plans not only with your company, but also with your family and friends? Do you have sufficient financial means to support the stay abroad? Despite partial scholarships, such as Erasmus+ funds, you will have to shoulder additional costs: Flight, double accommodation or travels during your stay at the host university.

If a full semester is not convenient for you, consider a Summer School or Winter School. These usually last two to six weeks and may fit in well with your busy work shedule.



On which continent, in which country, at which university would you like to spend your semester or summer school? Please have a careful look at our partner universities and inform yourself in detail about the destination of your choice via teams. Read the testimonials and, most importantly, check the list of courses available locally. When making your choice, think about the possible advantages and disadvantages that a country or a particular university can bring. 

If you are unsure, talk to other students, friends, your family, teachers and/or the International Office team at HSBA and start narrowing down the destination. 

Financial Matters

Do you have sufficient financial resources to cover the costs of your stay abroad? Please bear in mind that, despite partial scholarships, such as Erasmus+ funds , you will have to shoulder additional costs: Flight, double accommodation or travel abroad during your stay at the host university.

A destination within Europe is certainly more cost effective than outside as you will have less costs for travel to and from the destination. A flight to Taiwan costs more than a train trip to Rotterdam. A room in Oslo might be more expensive than a room in Ningbo, but you will have costs for a China visa.  Play through different scenarios, read expereince reports and check the information provided in the on institution-specific fact sheets that have been uploaded. Generally, our partner institutions summarise information about financial issues also on their Erasmus+/Study Abroad/ Student Exchange/ International Students pages on their websites.

If a whole semester is too expensive for you, consider a Summer School or Winter School. These usually last two to six weeks and may be a better financial fit.

Approval of academic credits from abroad

Credits earned during a semester or summer school/winter school may be eligible for credit towards your HSBA degree. Especially for the one-semester stay, it is essential that a large number of the modules you take abroad are eligible for HSBA credit. Check the course lists of the potential host universities carefully, and ask at the International Office if you have questions about the course selection. 

At the time of application (15 March for the following academic year), you do not need to have submitted an application for recognition of your foreign achievements, but you should have studied the possible modules of your future host university to ensure that the achievements from abroad can be approved. 

More about this in step 4: Application for credit transfer from abroad

Step 3: Applying at HSBA for a spot at a partner institution

Application for an exchange spot at an HSBA partner institution

Apply now online

To spend a semester abroad at a partner university, an application is first made to HSBA - the annual application deadline is 15.03 and applies to the entire following academic year (winter and summer semester). 

Prerequisite for application: 

  • Enrolment at the HSBA Hamburg School of Business Administration 
  • Application for an HSBA partner university (European or worldwide) 
  • Grade point average of at least 2.7
  • Max. one failed/not completed examination at the start of the stay abroad 

Language skills should be at level B2 of the respective language of instruction. English language skills do not have to be proven separately, as proficiency of at least B2 has been proven with the start of studies at the HSBA. 

Application documents

  • Letter of Motivation in English (personal and academic motivation for a semester abroad generally and a specific institution specifically, exemplary choice of courses abroad, how your company will benefit from the stay abroad, ambassadorial role for HSBA, further commitment if applicable), max. 2 pages 
  • CV 
  • Average grading in undergraduate degree and current average grading at HSBA
  • Proof of language skills in the language of instruction (e.g. language courses, language certificates or Abitur grades) – except for English
  • Confirmation letter from your company

Apply now online

Please note: 

  • Your course selection from the letter of motivation is not yet binding. 
  • Please address the application documents to the International Office of HSBA, Ms Esther Stracke. 
  • As the number of applicants per university usually exceeds the number of available places, we recommend applying for several uinstitutions- name up to four in preferred order. The Letter of Motivation should focus on the first choice, please write one or two sentences on the other preferred destinations

Selection is based on the following criteria:  

  • Academic and personal motivation 
  • Academic achievements at HSBA 
  • Language skills in the respective language(s) of instruction and country (language of instruction has priority) 
  • experience abroad
  • Personal commitment (social, HSBA etc.) 

Exchange spots at partner institutions that remain unused are advertised regularly, so that an application for a semester abroad may also be possible at a later stage. 

Free Mover and Summer School and Winter Schools

You apply directly to your prospective guest institition if you plan to go abroad as a Free Mover or if you plan to attend a Summer School or Winter School which does not take place at one of HSBA's partners. Ensure you meet the deadlines. 

We strongly recommend that you get pre-approval for the courses abroad prior to applying to the institution of your choice, and definately before you pay any registration or tuition fees. Information on the credit pre-approval process is available here: Step 3 "Credit Transfer of Foreign Study Achievements”

Step 4: Approval of credits earned abroad

Approval of credits earned abroad

Under certain circumstances, academic achievements obtained abroad can be approved to counts towards the HSBA degree programme, provided that the modules of the host university and HSBA are comparable. An examination board checks this for each student individually. A guideline explaining the matter in detail and a credit-approval-application-form are available in Teams-Channel Outgoings. The application for credit approval should be submitted about six months before the start of the stay abroad or as early as possible - as soon as the course offer of the host university has been published. Please ensure to submit the required documents mentioned in the process guideline; the credit-application-form is sent to the International Office.

Generally, 25-30 ECTS should be acquired during a semester abroad (Summer/Winter Schools are excluded). In case you will return with less than this sum, please contact the International Office as soon as possible.

We recommend that you have several combinations of credits pre-approved. There often are course cancellations at a short notice or overlaps of modules at the host universities.

For the purpose of recognition, the examination board evaluates two factors: equivalence of competence and equivalence of workload.

Depending on the situation, there is the possibility of a lump-sum recognition for the entire semester, or a 1:1 recognition of each individual module.

Equivalent workload (credit points)

The number of credits earned abroad for a course should correspond to the respective HSBA credit points.

For universities that do not work with ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), the local credits are converted accordingly. For this, the workload per foreign credit must be known. One ECTS at HSBA is based on a workload of 25 hours. 

After the official allocation of study places, the International Office invites all prospective outgoing students to an information meeting on course selection and credit transfer. 

Step 5: Application Process at the guest institution

Applying at an HSBA partner institution

The HSBA International Office will confirm your exchange place at the partner institution. We will then officially nominate (that is, register) you at the guest institution. After that, the university abroad contacts you and will inform you on the next steps. Usually, you will have to register online and will have to upload/ send in certain documents within a deadline.  

All required ERASMUS+ documents will be available for download in the Teams channel International Office at the appropriate time. 

Applying as a Free Mover / for a Summer Schools

If you apply as a Free Mover at an institution outside of HSBA's partner network, you will apply direclty at the given institution. HSBA does not nominate you at the institution abroad. 

If you apply for a space at a Summer School/ Winter School the situation will be different depending on whether you apply for a Summer School at an HSBA partner, or at an institution outside of the partner network. In case of the latter, you will send in your application direclty. If the university is part of our network please check with the International Office before applying as you may be eligible for a tuition fee waiver or a reduced fee. 

Ensure you take note of the respective deadlines.

Step 6: Visa, Insurance, Accommodation and Travel


For some countries it is necessary to apply for a visa - also depending on the length of stay. Please enquire about the regulations of the destination country in good time. In most cases, the host university will assist you with the visa application or the required documents. The process often takes several weeks, and various medical examinations and certificates may have to be submitted. Therefore, do not wait too long to take this step.


Sufficient insurance cover is obligatory for a stay abroad - whether for a semester or a shorter stay!  

In addition to your existing health insurance, you should also take out adequate foreign health insurance. Even the existing EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) does not cover all services in other European countries, and it is advisable to take out additional insurance. Please consult with your current health insurance provider in good time. 

Please clarify directly with the respective insurer whether your liability and accident insurance for a stay abroad apply or need to be extended. 

For students within the ERASMUS+ programme, another EU or DAAD funding, there is also the option of DAAD group insurance, which combines health, accident, and personal liability insurance. 


Start early to look for suitable accommodation near your host institution. The International Office of your host will inform you as soon as possible about accommodation options. If you do not receive any information, start looking for accommodation on your own or ask for information.

Please note:

At some institutions there are specially reserved places in dormitories for foreign exchange students, but even for these you must apply early.

In many countries, the accommodation otpions, especially for students, are different from the ones you know from Germany. Often students live in shared flats or in a dormitory, in the USA rooms are usually shared. The quality of the rooms/apartments is not always comparable to Hamburg.

Depending on the country, the costs for a room in a shared apartment are much lower than in Hamburg (e.g. in Spain or Poland) while the rent for a room in a dormitory can be higher (e.g. in Finland). On the campuses of US universities, meals are usually charged directly within the fees for accommodation.

Arrival and Departure

Depending on your chosen destination you have naturally different options to get there, and back. 

Flying may not always be the best, nor most sustainable, option. Check train options or consider if it may come in handy to have your own car while you are abroad. 
Those on an Erasmus+scholarship have the option to get a top up (extra financial support) when travelling "green". Check out the Erasmus+ page for more information. 

Step 7: During Your Stay Abroad

How is it going?

Arrived safe and sound? Shared room is amazing, flat a huge catastrophe, flat mates funny or just annoying? Done with the induction?

Let us know, give us some feedback! You are welcome to contact the HSBA International with questions, issues or challenges you are facing- that's what we're here for. We're happy to hear from you and support if needed. 

Changes to your module selection

The induction period the semester has begun and a chosen course does not take place now after all? Canceled or timetable overlap? 
Please inform the HSBA International Office as quickly as possible if you need to change your course options at your host institution. You may have to apply for new credit approval in case there is no further pre-approved module available to take.  

Erasmus+ students will have to make amendments to their Learning Agreement in the section "During the Mobility" within four weeks after the start of the semester.

Erasmus+ students also send their "Certificate of Arrial" via email to the HSBA International Office.

Sit an exam abroad

If you would like to sit an HSBA exam abroad, please check directly with the International Office of your host university at the beginning of the semester whether this is an option at all. Often this is possible, but it does require close coordination with the examination office and the International Office abroad, as well as here at HSBA. 

Examinations that are written abroad must be sat following the same HSBA-examination rules and regulations: Same day, same time, and with supervision. 

Administrative fees may have to be paid to the host institution. 

Step 8: Upon return to Hamburg

Grade conversion

Your host institution will send your Transcript of Records directly to the International Office at HSBA. These are usually in a digital format, and you may be given the option to download a copy of the transcript yourself, too. In case you requiere a hard copy, you will have to enquire at your host directly. 

The International Office, together with the Examination Management Team, will convert your grades from abroad into HSBA grades. This will be done as soon as possible.  Questions regarding the process should be directed to the International Office. 

Erasmus+ Studierende reichen bitte die auf der Checkliste aufgelisteten Dokumente bis spätestens vier Wochen nach Ende des Auslandssemesters ein.

PROMOS-Stipendiat_innen reichen bitte bis vier Wochen nach Ende des Auslandsaufenthaltes einen detaillierten Erfahrungsbericht ein. 

Share your experience

All students are required to write an expereince report which will be shared with future Outbound students. A written summary of your stay abroad helps with your own self-reflection too, and should be seen as a useful exercise. 

Inbound Students at HSBA
You have been abroad and know you know how it feels to be a study abroad students, trying to find your way around a new city, culture, university. At times, you may have felt lonely or lost, especially at the beginning.  Here at HSBA, too, there are inbound exchange students from within HSBA's partnership network, both at undergraduate and at postgraduate level. Keep an eye out for them- they will be pleased to be noted! Do you want to be a buddy to one of them? Help them have an enjoyable time at HSBA and in HAmburg? Then let the HSBA International Commitee know that you're happy to get involved. Join the Committee to support in arranging events and to make the foreign students feel at home. 

Future HSBA Outbound Students 
Share your experience with other students and tell furture Outbound students about your stay aborad.
Record a Podcast, do an Insta takeover, join an International Evening or support the International Office at an info session. If you want to get involved, let the International Committee know. 


Do you have any questions?

We are happy to help!

Esther Stracke, HSBA
Esther Stracke

Senior Manager International Office

+49 40 822160-947