Exemptions and Special Consideration

Generally speaking, you need to complete the three-month stay abroad to graduate and work as an English teacher in Lower Saxony. However, if there are good reasons why you cannot go abroad for twelve weeks, then it is possible to apply for special consideration.

Special consideration

It is not possible to receive a complete exemption from the stay abroad unless you are a native speaker of English who grew up in an English-speaking country. In cases where students are genuinely unable to go abroad for a period of twelve weeks due to e.g. chronic illness, pregnancy, caring responsibilities, their family situation, financial hardship, or visa issues for non-EU students*, the Department of English and American Studies and the affected student will generally work together to find an alternative to the stay abroad which may involve one or more of the following options:

  • Dividing the time abroad into multiple shorter periods of time (2 x 6 weeks; 3 x 4 weeks).
  • Spending a period of time in an English-speaking country and then completing the remaining time in an English-language working environment in Germany.
  • Completing the equivalent of twelve weeks full-time in an English-language working environment in Germany.
  • Recognising previous time abroad (prior to the commencement of studies in Oldenburg) and/or previous work experience in English-language working environments in Germany. This option may replace the stay abroad in its entirety, or it may compensate for some of the time required, with an alternative for the remaining period being chosen from the options above.

If there are good academic reasons for splitting the stay abroad (eg. two shorter school internships where it would not have been possible to work for a continuous period due to school holidays in the destination country and semester dates in Oldenburg), then it is also possible to apply for special considerations.

*Students holding certain non-EU passports may find it difficult to get work placements in the Anglophone world, particularly those who require entry visas for the UK and Ireland. If the situation is a real problem this may be grounds for coming up with an alternative arrangement.

How to Apply

Option 1: Alternatives to the stay abroad on hardship grounds which involve EITHER replacing ANY part of the stay abroad with alternative work experience in an English-language working environment in Germany OR recognising equivalent work experience gained in Germany or another non-English speaking country before commencing university studies in Oldenburg or elsewhere require a formal application with the Prüfungsamt in the form of a letter (formloser Antrag) and need to be discussed in advance with one of the departmental advisors. Dr. Joanna Pfingsthorn is the main contact person for this as of 01.08.2018; Lauren Freede can be contacted in her absence and before that date.

Option 2: Possible cases for special consideration where students have completed or intend to complete twelve weeks in an English-speaking country, but all the conditions in the official criteria are not met:

  • Native speakers of English who either grew up in or have spent extended periods of time in English-speaking countries (native speakers who grew up in Germany and only spent brief holidays in English-speaking countries must go abroad according to the standard regulations)
  • Applications to split the stay abroad is split into multiple periods (2 x 6 weeks;  3 x 4 weeks). You must have good reasons for doing this and your employment must be arranged and approved in advance!
  • Stays abroad where the period of full-time work is shorter than twelve weeks due to visa and school term limitations, but (at least) twelve weeks are spent in-country. See the FAQs for further information.
  • Applications to count time spent abroad in an English-speaking country completed before commencing university studies in Oldenburg or elsewhere when this period does not otherwise meet the Oldenburg requirements. See the FAQs for more information.

Exemptions for cases falling into these categories also need to be discussed in advance with Dr Pfingsthorn (or Ms Freede in her absence) but can then be applied for using the Special Consideration form. It is also possible to discuss these issues at one of the Blocktermine.