If you are planning to spend a year or semester abroad, the best idea is to go through a program. It not only helps with the bureaucracy but often includes some sort of financial support. There are plenty of opportunities to receive funding. The best place for advice is your university’s administration which can inform you about national or even university-specific programs. If you want to come to Germany, there are also numerous programs organized fully or in part from the host country.

DAAD – the first address for student exchange programmes

The majority of foreigners who study in Germany for a limited period of time do so via a program and on average enjoy grants of several hundred euros. The first address when looking for a scholarship to come to Germany should be the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Apart from research projects and post-graduate programs, it also supports group visits by foreign students and inter-university partnerships.

If you use DAAD’s online database at www.funding-guide.de you will also tap into the offerings of other selected funding organizations. The DAAD has taken the enormous and diverse range of scholarship programs for foreigners and has carefully selected a total of just under 100 funding opportunities offered by more then 50 organizations. The Database offers easy access to this information in German and English. Database users interested in studying in Germany can set their own specific profile by entering their country of origin, their subject and their academic status. The Database then lists the programs that exactly match the profile.

Among the institutions and organizations in the database are ministries, political foundations, such as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation or the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, as well as church and private organizations.

Erasmus is also a common way to get to Germany

Almost 40 percent of foreign students coming to Germany through an exchange program are participants in the European Union’s Erasmus program. It offers the possibility of studying abroad in another European country for a period of between three and 12 months. Erasmus scholarships include a study grant and cover tuition fees abroad. In addition, your studies in Germany will be recognized by your home university. Currently 2,199 higher education institutions in 31 countries are participating in Erasmus. Since the creation of the program in 1987, 1.2 million students have benefited from an Erasmus study period abroad. The budget for the year 2004 was more than €187.5 million .
In addition, the Erasmus Mundus program promotes the European Union as a centre of excellence in learning around the world. It provides EU-funded scholarships for nationals from third countries for master courses within the European Union, for instance in Germany.

See this website for more information on the Erasmus Mundus program