International Engineering Program

Preparing for Your Year Abroad: German IEP

Preparing for the year abroad in a stress-free way takes months of planning before you depart. Most students leave for the year abroad in late August and return twelve months later. Students studying at the Technische Universität Braunschweig or the Technische Universität Darmstadt will participate in a one-month immersion program in September. After the immersion program ends, students have a two week period to travel, e.g. to internship interview sites in other parts of Germany.  The official semester starts mid October, and runs until mid-February.

The preparation process includes individual and group meetings and orientations to discuss a range of topics such as the application process, academics, internships, accommodation, course selection, registration with the university, culture and cultural differences, visa advising and health, safety and security abroad to offer the maximum support to our students. We will also connect you to 5th year students who just returned from their year abroad, to exchange students from our partner universities whenever possible and to other helpful resources.

Follow the timeline below and also check out the German IEP Student Guides below created by German IEP Student Ambassadors to help prepare you for the year abroad. Part one of the German IEP Study Abroad Survival Guides contains information about the preparation process, the year before going abroad, and part two of the series provides information about the year abroad itself.                          


German IEP Abroad Timeline

September – December

  1. Sign up for GER 351 “Studying and Working Abroad I” for the fall semester (Course Description: Prepare for studying and working in German-speaking countries. Develop study skills through a series of lecturers by German-speaking experts, explore options for internships abroad, and write a German resume.)
  2. First informational session: Early October, exact date TBA
  3. Budget: View the Program Budget Sheet in URI Abroad for estimated program expenses. 
  4. Passport application or renewal: If you have a passport, make sure it will be valid 6 months past the date of your anticipated return. If you do not have a passport, or if you need to renew your passport, go to your nearest Post Office (which for URI is in Wakefield); you MUST schedule an appointment.
  5. Obtaining a visa: While URI offers students guidance on how to apply for a visa, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa needed to support their studies. US citizens do not need to apply for a visa before entering Germany. The International Office at the Technische Universität Braunschweig/Darmstadt/the HAW Hamburg will assist incoming URI students in obtaining an “Aufenthaltsgenehmigung” for the year in Germany which also allows for an internship in a German company. Important: Non-US citizens need to check whether they are on the list of countries whose citizens need to apply for a visa on the consulate’s website. Please make an appointment with Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor,, if you need any additional guidance on obtaining a visa.
  6. Financial Aid: If you have questions about financial aid during the year abroad, you should contact a financial advisor in Green Hall.
  7. Meet with your advisors to discuss your academic plan for your fifth year: Make sure to work on a graduation worksheet with your advisors, so that you know which classes you have to take for graduation. Since you will have to register for Fall courses from abroad, let us know if there is a conflict between a German course and courses required for engineering in your 5th year. Review your IEP program curriculum sheet.
  8. Research: If you have a GPA over 3.0, and would like to earn 3 credits of MCE, CHE, ELE etc. 491 professional elective credits, talk to Dr. Berka about research opportunities.
  9. Scholarships: Start working on scholarship applications for scholarship opportunities with December or January deadlines, such as the Beatrice Demers Scholarship, the DAAD RISE and the Gilman scholarship. For additional grants and deadlines, check out IEP Scholarship & Fellowships. Note: The URI scholarship portal opens in April and the deadline for URI scholarships is in June.


  1. Sign up for GER 352 “Studying and Working Abroad II” for the Spring semester.  (Course Description: Continue preparing for studying and working abroad. Further develop study skills through lecturers by German-speaking experts, write a cover letter for a job or internship, and participate in mock interviews.)
  2. URI Office of International Education – Attend an optional information session on how to apply to study abroad in the URI Abroad Application System.

    • All students who plan to study abroad are required to obtain permission from URI and therefore must complete the URI Abroad Application. In general, IEP students should apply using the Fall Semester application for their program – not the Academic Year.
  3. Contact Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor, if you have any questions about the URI Abroad Application or about the study abroad process.
  4. Attend General IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 1: Complete Phase 1: Pre-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. Deadline: March 1st
  2. Attend German IEP Preparation Meeting.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: Complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st
  2. Internship Documents and Placement: Past GIEP program participants will visit the IEP/IBP prep courses GER 351 and GER 352, and will talk about their internships in Germany. You will work on your German cover letter and resume in class. With Dr. Tracksdorf’s help, you will gain access to our internship portal where you can learn more about the different German companies that have internships and view projects from past GIEP program participants to help you determine the company you would like to intern for.  In case you were not able to take GER 351 and 352, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracksdorf or Dr. Berka.
  3. Prior Approval Forms: Make an advising appointment with Dr. Berka or Dr. Tracksdorf to discuss course equivalencies URI – Technische Universität Braunschweig or Technische Universität Darmstadt; Fill out the electronic Prior Approval Form. They will sign off on German and Gen Ed outcomes courses, and share the PAF with you. You then need to send it on to the chair of your engineering department, who signs off on the engineering courses. Once (s)he has shared the signed PAF, send it to Asst. Dean Abdirkin for his signature. Remember to add in a couple (2-3) more classes than desired, in case of class unavailability or changes while taking courses in Germany. Students will then need to upload the finalized Prior Approval Form to URI Abroad in the post-decision phase of URI Abroad application.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Attend Pre-Departure Meeting.
  2. Health Insurance: In addition to URI Health Insurance or other private insurance, all URI Students are covered by CISI Insurance. Students confirmed to study abroad will automatically be registered and emailed proof of insurance, which they will need to obtain a visa.  Students studying at TUBS/TUD will also have to take out a German insurance for the year.
  3. Enroll in German Summer School (optional): Enroll in the 8 credit Berlin German STEM Immersion Summer School here (approx. from the end of May to the beginning of 22-July 4, 2021) and get 8 credits for German (GER 411: Advanced Technical German  + GER 316: Language Study Abroad). Highly encouraged so you can keep working on your German proficiency and preparing for your year abroad! Scholarships are available, so please reach out to your IEP directors. 
  4. Exchange Student (TUBS/TUD) and Housing Applications (TUD only): Remember to complete by April 10.
    Important Note:
    Applications for the 2020-2021 study abroad year will be completed by May 8.


    • Go to the following link, set up an account, and fill out the application electronically to study abroad at TUBS. After it is complete, create a PDF file of it as well. Dr. Tracksdorf will send you a link where you then will upload the application PDF along with:
      o Learning Agreement = Prior approval form
      o Copy of your URI Student ID
      o Your transcript
    • Consult with Dr. Tracksdorf or Dr. Berka as to whether you wish to stay at TU Braunschweig’s APM dorm (in a single, double, suite for 3-5 students), or find a room of your own through, the Braunschweig city Facebook page or other platforms.
    • If you decide to stay at TUBS, print out the housing form: Complete Braunschweig Housing Application Form. Submit online, copy to IEP.


    • Click here to set up an account and fill out the application electronically to study at TUD. After it is complete, create a PDF file of it as well. Dr. Tracksdorf will send you a link where you will then upload the application PDF along with:
      o Learning Agreement = Prior approval form
      o Copy of your URI Student ID
      o Your transcript
    • Consult with Dr. Tracksdorf or Dr. Berka as to whether you wish to stay in TU Darmstadt’s dorms or find a room of your own through, the Darmstadt city Facebook page or other platforms.
    • Students interested in university housing can complete the housing questionnaire as part of their application. Otherwise, students are expected to find their own housing.
  5. Attend IDI Meeting/Testing: In this meeting, students will learn about the Intercultural Development Inventory, followed by a mandatory IDI testing session. 

May – August

  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: If you have not already done so, complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st.
  2. Submit final internship application to Dr. Tracksdorf: Bewerbungsbrief + Lebenslauf/Passbild (electronically integrated into the Lebenslauf) – Deadline: First week of May.
  3. Travel arrangements: GIEP students usually go on a group flight at the end of August. Recommended flights will be provided at a later date.
  4. Attend Pre-departure Meeting: This last meeting, typically in August, will serve as a final overview of the plans for the year abroad. 

*For students going to TUBS:

    • If you plan on living in TUBS housing: Once you receive your acceptance letter from TUBS sometime in June, you will also receive a housing form fill out and send to Malak Weheba in the TUBS International Office using this e-mail – A housing application will then be filled out and submitted for you to secure your spot in a TUBS dorm. Deadline for submission: June.
    • Read through the TUBS Exchange Student Guide

While in Germany


  1. Arrival: When you arrive on August 31st or September 1, ground transport by shuttle provided by TUBS. A staff member from the International Office will receive you and take you to the dorm or your apartment. In Frankfurt, TU Darmstadt mentors pick you up at the airport and guide you to dorms or private apartments.
  2. Orientations: Orientations at partner university (info about Visa, registration formalities, health insurance), with help of TUBS/TUD International Office.
  3. Coursework: One-month Sommerkurse in Braunschweig/Darmstadt
    • Course plus one month housing paid by exchange partners (4 credits – Ger 3xx)
    • Check-in date for summer intensive course will be communicated at a later point.


  1. Begin Wintersemester* (Mid October – Mid February)
    • Fees for TUBS/TUD Wintersemester – approx. 300 Euros for international students
  2. Enroll for both winter and summer semesters: This means that you will then be eligible for a health insurance and a Hessen- or Niedersachsen-Ticket (for regional travel), and also ensures that your residence/work permit (Aufenthaltstitel in passport) is valid throughout the year.
  3. Registration and Residency: Register locally with the city and apply for and obtain your residence permit, referencing the information provided to you in the Pre-departure Orientation and on the On-Site Timeline.
  4. Scholarship Aid/Financial Aid: Applies as usual
  5. Leaving Exchange Program
    • Braunschweig (TUBS): Inform the staff which courses you took on the form(s)  below. Include classes in which you registered for an exam, took the exam but failed (received a “5”). Use this missing course certificates (Fehlende Scheine) option, because most of you will not be in Braunschweig anymore by the time your grades are in. If you do have your grade already for a course, you can use this course certificate form. Once they have all your certificates, they will issue your transcript and then send two copies to your home university. Before you leave Braunschweig follow the IO’s departure guide.
    • Darmstadt (TUD): Inform the staff which courses you took. Include classes in which you registered for an exam, took the exam but failed (received a “5”). Fill out the transcript release form and follow TU Darmstadt’s departure information.

November – January

  1. Prepare for internship:
    • Location/assignment typically worked out with Dr. Tracksdorf by summer/fall semester. For those placed in automotive companies: Apply now for the FISITA bursary scholarship (before internship starts).
    • Working papers required – International University Offices in Germany will help you.
    • Fill out the Required IEP Internship Application in URI Abroad by the Spring Course Registration Deadline (Jamie Loredo from OIE will email this to you). You MUST fill this out so that OIE can enroll you in the 12 credits you need to maintain your student status.
  2. Getting Courses Transferred and Intent to Graduate (if applicable):
    • Upon completion of the exchange program, you will need to have your program’s institution send an official transcript to OIE so that your transfer credit can be evaluated. Please refer to OIE’s Transfer Credit policy for more information.
    • If you will be graduating, you will need to fill out the appropriate Intent to Graduate Form at least a semester before you graduate.
    • Read additional in-depth instructions regarding the Intent to Graduate process for the College of Engineering.
  3. Housing: Begin looking for housing for in the area of your internships. Use, the Facebook pages of your target city or other platforms to find housing.
  4. Winter Break: You can use some of this time for housing interviews or researching your internship company/location!

February – August

  1. Take exams (if not already completed).
  2. Begin your internship: Usually starting in mid February – mid-August.
  3. Courses: Work on online Spring Semester course work.
  4. Advising: Check-in with your advisor and get your advising hold and any other hold lifted so that you can register for Fall semester courses.
  5. Register for Fall Semester courses.