Great that you consider spending a semester as an international exchange student at our university! We understand that you may have many questions before actually applying. Let us try to answer as many of your questions as possible on the following pages. If you don’t find the right answer, please don’t hesitate to contact the departmental coordinator for international exchange programs directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Credits and Grades
- Health Insurance and Medical Services
- Eating and Drinking
- Visa and Electronic Residence Permit
- More Questions
I do not speak German, will I be isolated?
No, definitely not – if your English is good enough to follow discussions and to make yourself understood. All your fellow students and most teachers can communicate in English. You will notice that even if you do speak some German, many people will try to talk to you in English - which is not to say that learning some German in advance or while you are here, would be a bad idea… In the regular BA and MA program, classes will be taught in German. The language of the International Master program is English. We offer German language classes for our foreign students at no cost.
If English is not my first language, how good must it be?
We don’t require a formal English test like ESL/EFL, TOEFL or other, if you are a registered student from one of our partner universities, and if you just want to come for one semester. Since you will prepare your visit together with your departmental coordinator for international exchange, we rely on him/her to judge your language skills. For other students, the regular requirements apply, which you will find on our university’s main website:
Will classes be taught in English?
Partially. Most general lectures will be in German but since Design is to a large extent taught in seminar form, one can easily switch a discussion to English. We will also try to find you a buddy, who will translate and help you around in class.
Will the computer software in the computer labs be in English?
Partially. Some software only exists in English, other will be provided in English on individual computers. Since we are a rather small department, we will try to arrange that whenever needed.
Will I study at the original BAUHAUS?
You will study not only at but probably even in the original BAUHAUS building, designed by world famous Walter Gropius and finished in 1926 – if your major is in Digital Media and Animation Design. Today, the building is mainly used by the Bauhaus Foundation (“Stiftung Bauhaus”), which is not affiliated to the university and is a museum, archives and research institution for the Bauhaus heritage. The foundation is not offering undergraduate or graduate academic programs. Our BA and MA programme has adapted many of the BAUHAUS ideas and has turned them into a contemporary, modern curriculum.
The actual university campus of Hochschule Anhalt is located between the historic BAUHAUS building and the Dessau main train station. It consists of a small number of restored old buildings, and many new buildings added in 1994.
The School of Design is in a nice old high school building from around 1900, the so-called “Lyceum”, next to the station.
The School of Design is located in a nice old school building, called the “Lyceum”
I have difficulties finding Dessau on the map – where is it?
Dessau is a small city with a population of ca. 60,000, located in the German Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, 125 km (77 miles) southwest of Berlin.
See http://www.dessau-rosslau-tourismus.de/kulttour/en/home/index.html to learn more about the city.
How do I get there?
By plane: Look for flights to Berlin or Halle/Leipzig. You will be picked up by our university’s transportation dept. and you will hopefully meet your assigned “buddy” student already at the airport.
By train: The campus’ proximity to the train station is a nice convenience. You can easily reach other cities, like Leipzig (45 min), Berlin (1.5 h), Dresden (2 h), Hamburg (4 h) or even Prague (5.5 h). Train schedules and fares can be found at www.bahn.de in many languages.
Information and photographs about the workshops you may find here.
The German Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt has waived tuition fees for all students. The only fee that remains is for registration/student services (2013: 56 €). Some basic materials for the workshops will be provided, anything special, print-outs, etc. must be bought by the students. Please note that your home university may still charge tuition while you are studying in Dessau.
Students from outside Europe will need a visa, if they want to stay longer than three months. The German embassy in your country will inform you, that even though you have received an invitation from us, processing the visa application requires a deposit of 659 Euros for each month to be spent in Europe in a blocked bank account at Deutsche Bank. Once you are in Dessau, you can access the account and use 659 Euros each month. During the last month of your stay in Europe, you can take all remaining money from that account. See https://www.deutsche-bank.de/pbc/pk-studium-international_students_en.html for details.
US citizens can enter Germany for three months (12 weeks) without a visa. Our lecturing period however is 15 weeks. Many students want to stay a little longer and use that time for travelling across Europe. Regarding the visa, such an extended stay would require to open a blocked account with a deposit for the remaining months, too. However, the Dessau Foreigners Office agreed that a regular (free) student bank account at a German bank with a balance of at least 659 Euros per remaining month, opened towards the end of the free three-month-period, will be sufficient to receive the visa.
Project presentation on the first day of the semester.
When do classes start and when do they end?
The lecturing period of the summer semester always starts on April 1st and ends after 15 weeks in mid-July. The winter semester starts on October 1st and ends after 15 weeks around mid-February, including a two-week winter break from Christmas (usually beginning Dec 23rd) until after the first week of January.
When should I come?
Whether you come in winter or summer is completely up to you. Most students prefer the summer, since weather is much nicer then. We just ask you to arrive a few days earlier and on a workday, since our drivers, who will pick you up at the airport, usually are not available on weekends and holidays. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_holidays_in_Germany for a list of German holidays, the column “ST” is for the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt. Or just check with the coordinator for international exchange programs.
How is the semester structured?
For many years now, semesters have followed the same structure: On the first day of the semester right after lunch, all students and faculty meet to get an update on the latest news and to learn about the upcoming class projects.
It all begins with the so-called Short Projects. You will pick one out of many from different design fields. This will be an almost full-time involvement and will keep you busy for the next two weeks, providing 6 ECTS credit points.
Parallel to this, German students will have to take a foreign language class and a theory class (design theory or art history), which will last throughout the lecturing time.
After the presentations of the Short Projects, the Large Project will start. A Large Project has 8 hours of contact time per week and will provide 12 ECTS points. It is estimated that you will need another 8 to 12 hours per week of self organized work to successfully complete the class assignments.
Parallel to the Large Project you can select one or two Elective Classes. The Electives have 4 hours of contact time with an estimated workload of one full day per week and will give 6 ECTS points.
Contact Hours per week
Full time during the first two weeks
8, for 13 weeks
4 or 8, for 13 weeks
6 or 12
*For the US and other countries outside Europe, the conversion rate ECTS points to credit hours would be approximately 2 to 1. Please check the actual rate and the number of ECTS points you need for a successful full semester credit transfer with the international office at your home university.
Large Projects and Elective Classes will last for about 13 weeks. At the end of the semester, everybody will present their Large Project results to students and faculty.
How are classes taught?
This varies widely among professors and between subjects. Foreign students coming to Dessau may first be surprised, that the research phase to analyze a problem, and to discuss possible solutions, can be rather long. It may seem as if “nothing happens” for quite a while. This however is true only for rather passive students, who expect to be directed and pushed towards a result by short deadlines. Many professors in Dessau prefer independent students, who can develop their own time schedule and ask for critique and discussion at regular intervals. Professors will help with general, exemplary information for all students in their group, but will expect the students to draw their own conclusions and to discuss those with the professor in the group and individually.
How do I register for classes?
As an exchange program student, you will consult with the coordinator for international exchange programs to decide which classes best suit your needs. This can be done in advance or upon arrival. Admission to all classes is guaranteed, even if there is great demand from other students.
When will I know which projects will be offered?
Although we try hard each year to get the upcoming projects published a couple of weeks before the semester starts, we must admit that so far we reliably failed to do so. Most likely we will not know exact details one week before the lecturing time begins… You can be sure however that you will have a nice choice of several projects from each design discipline. Please have a look at the department’s website at http://design.hs-anhalt.de/news/ for previous project results.
How many students will be in one class?
That varies – between 3-5 minimum to a maximum of 20, 10-15 being a more likely number.
Will I have my own work space?
No. We have thought about it but with the limited space available, we finally decided that this would be impractical. Instead, the professors have their assigned class rooms, which are equipped individually. You will do most of the practical work in the workshops and computer labs. They are furnished with up-to-date equipment and belong to the largest and most modern workshops for a school of design in Germany.
What are the opening hours of workshops and computer labs?
The Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, in which Dessau is located, gave itself the motto “We get up earlier!” Whether that is true or not I do not know, however the workshops and computer labs open at 8:00 am, some even earlier. The workshops close around 4:30 pm. Computer labs and seminar rooms are open longer – either because a labby (student) is taking care of it or because you have received your personal electronic key. In the latter case you may work there 24 hours, 7 days a week…
How do ECTS Credit points relate to the credit system at my home university?
Since some years, most European universities have agreed to adjust their programs to match the “Bologna Recommendations”, in order to make degrees more comparable and to support international exchange. This includes the introduction of the European Credit Transfer System and ECTS Credit Points. Credit points represent the total workload needed to successfully complete a class. One point usually equals 30 hours of work, including 15 hours of class time (contact hours). In Germany, one “hour” of class time actually means 45 minutes.
To successfully complete one full semester, a student must acquire 30 ECTS credit points.
What do German grades mean?
The grades at German universities are different from most other countries:
|Grade||In Words||What it means||U.S. equivalent
|1.0||excellent||An excellent achievement, way above average||A|
|2.0||good||Considerably above average||B|
|3.0||satisfactory||Completely fulfilling the requirements||C|
|4.0||minimum passing||Despite some flaws, the work matches the minimum requirements||D|
|5.0||failure||Due to considerable flaws, the work does not meet the requirements||F|
Usually, a 1.0 is rare and only for the very best. Some consider a 3.0 as a warning, meaning that the work could have been done better, if more effort had been used. Before a work is finally graded 4.0 (or even 5.0), professors will usually try to give the student a chance to improve or even redo the work.
Once you finish the semester, the Dessau student office will provide you with a transcript of records with ECTS points and German grades. You may ask the departmental coordinator for international exchange programs for an English translation and recommendations for your university’s International Office to convert German credits and grades in your country’s system.
How is the GPA calculated?
Actually, German universities do not calculate a GPA (Grade Point Average), because they do not use the Grade Point concept. They do however also calculate an average grade, and in a very similar way:
Where will I live?
You will share an apartment with another student in one of our dorms, most likely in one of the larger facilities. It is located in walking distance (10-15 min) from campus. They are furnished, provide Internet access in your room, washer and dryer and you can rent linens. The apartments have a small kitchen, but do not provide pots, cups, plates or silverware. We have a little “warehouse” with such things, from which you are free to pick whatever you need…
What will it cost?
Monthly rent in the dorms will be around 180-200 €, plus a small fee for internet access and linens, if desired. Upon arrival, you will also have to make a safety deposit of around 200 €, which will be returned to you when you leave. The dorms are operated by Studentenwerk Halle (www.studentenwerk-halle.de). They provide an online service for room application. If you find their process too confusing, I do understand you very well – and will help you by finding accommodation by directly contacting them for you…
If you prefer to live in a private apartment-sharing community, which many of our students do, we can try to find a free spot for you if you let us know well in advance. Monthly costs will probably be similar to the dorms.
How do I get from A to B?
Although public transportation is well organized in Germany in general, the most convenient means of transport might be a bicycle. During the first days, you may rent one at the little green pavilion in front of the train station, and during the next days we will help you find a cheap used one…
For registration, you will need to show that you have full health coverage in Germany throughout your time as a guest student. This is best demonstrated by a special statement issued by your health care provider, preferably in German language. Just a copy of your membership card may not be sufficient. You can also buy full health care for a monthly fee of ca. 70-80 € at one of the big German Health Care Companies, like AOK.
Dessau is a very safe city with a very low crime rate. We have not had any incident on campus during the last years, except some rare cases of theft of personal items from unattended, open class rooms. Our friendly security guards on campus are on duty 24/7, and will help you around.
There are three restaurants right on campus: Our Mensa provides lunch (with a discount for students). You may find the current menu here: http://www.studentenwerk-halle.de/hochschulgastronomie/speiseplaene/?no_cache=1
Next to the Mensa is “BlueOrange”, a small cafeteria, where you can get hot and cold drinks, cake, and other refreshments.
In the basement of the BAUHAUS you will find the “Bauhaus-Club”, a bistro-like restaurant, again with some discounts for students.
Around the campus, you will find various sources for food, like a butcher, bakeries, turkish and greek restaurants, etc… Across the train track, “Kaufland”, a large grocery store, will provide almost everything for your daily needs.
If you are not a citizen of a Country within the European Union, you will need a visa and permit to stay in Germany for more than 30 days. Check with the German embassy in your home country for more information. The eAT can be applied for after arrival in Dessau. See www.studentenwerk-halle.de for details. US citizens can come to Germany for three months without a visa. The residence permit for an extended stay can be applied for after arrival at the Dessau Foreigners Office.
The visa/residence permit allows you to visit all countries of the European Union.
If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. I’ll try to answer within a few hours…
Looking forward to seeing you soon in Dessau,
Departmental Coordinator for International Exchange Programs
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences
School of Design
Phone: +49 (0)340 5197 1723
Fax: +49 (0)340 5197 1799