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Academic Year in Freiburg

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Academic Year


Freiburg, Germany




• Clear Interest and Commitment

• Demonstrated Preparedness/Maturity

• Minimum 3.0 GPA

• Good academic and disciplinary standing

• Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing at the time the program begins

• Four semesters of college-level German (five semesters or more preferred)

• Approval by UI Study Abroad and review committee

• Acceptance by host institution

• Attendance at orientation sessions

Application Due:

• January 28, for AYF-specific funding

• February 24, for Final Deadline

Program Cost:

Check the 'Costs' section under the Application tab.

The Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF) program is a consortial program developed in collaboration with the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan, and Michigan State. This program offers students the opportunity to improve fluency in the German language while taking classes with both local and international students while enrolled at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg and other local institutions for a full academic year. While studying at Freiburg, students receive support services from a dedicated staff with decades of experience working with this program.

Take a look at this video to learn more about life in Freiburg.

Academic Program

While in Freiburg you will have a wide variety of course options available to you. You can find general information about AYF’s academic program on their Academics Website. Course options include:

  • The program begins with a month-long intensive German language and culture course.
  • Topics courses specifically designed for AYF participants.
  • A variety of course taught with your local peers at the University of Freiburg and affiliated institutions.
  • Internships related to your field of study.

You can find details about navigating the University of Freiburg’s course catalog under the How-to-Guides for Course Catalogs heading on the AYF Guides & Information page. If you need additional help finding details about the courses available on this program, please contact your study abroad advisor.

Students who do not meet the program’s language requirement may have the option of enrolling in specialized German language courses prior to the start of the program. Contact you Study Abroad advisor for more information.

Flexibility Regarding Course Offerings

Foreign universities are typically unable to provide a final course catalog for the upcoming semester until shortly before the semester begins. Students usually do not know which specific classes they can take before arriving abroad, and they usually do not register for classes until they arrive in their host country- this means that there is no way to guarantee that you will be able to enroll in your preferred courses. Your final course schedule may not be finalized until you are already abroad and attending classes.

Because of these differences, all students must meet with their academic advisor before going abroad to discuss how the differences in course availability will affect their degree progress and graduation plans. It is important to develop a back-up plan in case your preferred courses are not available when you arrive at their host university.


Students can expect their grades to be applied to their UI degree requirements by mid-November of the fall semester after their program ends.

Applying credit toward a UI degree

Unless UI Study Abroad has an approval on file for the courses you take abroad to be applied toward a specific major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, you will receive general elective credit for your course.

If you plan to apply the credit you receive for your program course to a major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, contact your UI study abroad advisor for details on the process. 

Cultural Activities

Several excursions are scheduled during the orientation program in September. AYF also arranges activities throughout the academic year, such as hiking in the Black Forest, gathering for a Thanksgiving meal, and attending the local Christmas market. You will receive a complete list of the cultural activities offered during your year abroad after you arrive in Freiburg.

Program Dates

The program begins with a month-long intensive language and cultural course beginning in September. Students then begin their regular course work on the German university calendar. The fall (winter) semester typically runs from October to mid-February, and the spring (summer) semester runs from mid-April to early August.

You can find the specific program dates on the AYF Calendar website.

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application for this program, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

Where You Will Study

The University of Freiburg (also known as Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) was founded in 1457, currently enrolls about 24,000 students, and is located in the heart of downtown Freiburg.

Learn more on the University of Freiburg website.


Freiburg is located in the Upper Rhine Valley at the foot of the Black Forest. It has about 230,000 inhabitants, and is known for its standard of living and environmentally-conscious civic policies. It is also the sunniest city in Germany, and has a temperate climate.


Germany is the most populous member of the EU, has the world’s 4th largest economy, and boasts a high standard of living. It is famous for its contributions to the arts and sciences throughout history. You can learn more about Germany at

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements/Accommodations

Student on a bridge with padlocks

Students live in student accommodation with local German students.

There are a variety of housing options available. You can learn more about the housing options at Freiburg on the AYF Housing Options website.


All students need a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.

Travel Arrangements (Flights)

UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination. Students will purchase their own plane tickets to their host country, though UI Study Abroad can assist by providing advice regarding airline booking options.

You are advised not to purchase plane tickets until:

  1. You have received an official offer of acceptance from your host university, and have submitted confirmation materials to UI Study Abroad.
  2. You have finalized your housing arrangements abroad.
  3. You are aware of both the semester start date and the move-in date for your accommodations abroad.
  4. You have received your visa (if required- contact your study abroad advisor for more information).

If you have questions about purchasing plane tickets, please contact your UI study abroad advisor.

You can learn more about the arrival plans for previous sessions on the AYF Incoming information page .

Local Transportation

Freiburg has an excellent public transportation network, including streetcars and busses. It is also, in keeping with its environmentally-conscious mentality, a bike-friendly city.


Student group in front of a monument

This program is open to University of Iowa students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Clear interest and commitment- Students must demonstrate a clear academic or personal interest in the program’s subject matter, and a commitment to engage responsibly in coursework abroad.
  • Demonstrated preparedness and maturity- Students must demonstrate preparedness to take on the heightened responsibilities associated with international study and travel. Students must demonstrate a commitment to behave responsibly abroad while respecting cultural differences. Students are expected to obey both local laws and program directives conveyed to participants before and during the program. The University of Iowa Code of Student Life applies to all program participants while abroad.
  • Minimum 3.0 UI and Transfer GPA- Students must have a minimum 3.0 UI and Transfer GPA to participate in this program (transfer GPAs lower than 3.0 may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Students placed on either academic or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad on a University of Iowa program. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who are not in good standing at any point overlapping with the program dates will have their acceptance revoked, and will be responsible for the associated late withdrawal fees.
  • German Language Requirements- Four semester of college-level German language experience. Five semesters or more is preferred.
  • Sophomore, junior, or senior standing required- Students must have sophomore, junior, or senior standing at the time the program begins. First year students cannot participate in this program.
  • Approval by UI study abroad advisor and the Academic Year in Freiburg review committee- All applicants must submit all required application materials, and participate in a German-language interview process by the Academic Year in Freiburg review committee. Final acceptance decisions are made after the interview.
  • Acceptance by host institution- Students must be accepted by their host institution. Final acceptance decision is made by the international student office and the sponsoring departments at the host institution based on their own internal requirements.
  • Attendance at mandatory orientation programming- Students must attend all in-person and online pre-departure orientation programming presented by UI Study Abroad.


Students will be responsible for paying many of their program costs through their University of Iowa U-Bill, while other costs will be out-of-pocket costs paid by the student directly to vendors before and after going abroad. Refer to the cost sheets below for details on the costs associated with this program.

The cost sheets outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. They include fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

Costs for future sessions are usually similar to the current session, however students can expect a modest increase in overall costs each session. Final cost sheets for future sessions are typically available early in the semester before the session begins.

Some students on this program are considered ‘exchange’ students and some are not. The way the program fees are represented on a student’s U-Bill vary depending on whether they are considered exchange students or not. Regardless, all students pay the same total fees for their participation in this program. If you have questions about whether you are an exchange student or a non-exchange student, contact your UI Study Abroad advisor.

Cost Sheets

Calculating Fees

The cost sheets are based on the fees described below:

Cost sheets do not include the following optional costs:

Personal Travel Costs

Costs for personal travel are not included in the cost estimates provided on the cost sheet. If you plan to travel outside of your host city or country during or after your study abroad program, you will need to budget for additional funds to cover the cost of your personal travel.

The cost of personal travel depends entirely on each student’s individual travel plans and spending habits. Estimates for personal travel costs provided by past students on this program vary significantly from $1,500 to as much as $9,000 or more per session.

Costs charged to the U-Bill

  • Application fee (charged at the time of application, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
  • Course Fees/UI Tuition & Fees- Includes host university tuition (charged shortly before departure)
  • Study Abroad Fees (charged shortly before departure)
  • CISI Health Insurance (charged shortly before departure)

Out-of-pocket costs (not charged to U-Bill)

  • Round trip airfare from Cedar Rapids (paid by student directly to travel agent or airline- approx. 6-8 weeks prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed)
  • Food (paid by student at their discretion while abroad)
  • Housing (charged upon arrival to the host country)
  • Housing deposit (paid by student shortly before departure to the host country, before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed)
  • Visa/Immigration fees (paid by student on arrival to the host country, or shortly before arrival/before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed. See the Immigration/Visa section under the Predeparture tab for more information.)
  • Local transportation (paid at student’s discretion while abroad)
  • Cell phone (paid at the student’s discretion while abroad)
  • Passport (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed)
  • Textbooks (paid as needed while abroad)
  • Medical exam/immunizations (paid by student as needed prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
  • Personal expenses and personal travel (paid by student at their discretion while abroad)

Scholarships & Financial Aid

All Students- All students can find information about options for funding your study abroad experience, including financial aid, scholarships, grants, etc., on UI Study Abroad’s Finances page. These options apply even if you submit your application after the Early Application Deadline.

Students Who Apply By the Early Application Deadline- In addition to the funding options described above, students who submit a program application by the Early Application Deadline will also be considered for scholarships that are specific to the Academic Year in Freiburg program. Contact your study abroad advisor for more information.

How to Apply

Two students in front of a monument

    This is a two-part process. You apply first with the University of Iowa. If approved, you will submit a separate application to the AYF program in Freiburg.

  • Meet with the appropriate study abroad advisor to discuss your study abroad plans well ahead of the application deadline. Your application will not be approved until you've completed this step. You can set up an appointment by calling UI Study Abroad at 319-335-0353 or through the Advising Appointment section of your MyUI account.
  • Meet with your academic advisor(s) to discuss how this program might fit your graduation plans, and make a back-up plan in case your preferred courses are not available when you arrive on your host university’s campus (see the Flexibility Regarding Course Offerings section for more information.)
  • If you and your academic advisor agree that the program is a good match for you, complete the UI Study Abroad application. Please note that the non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to your U-Bill as part of this online application.
  • If you meet the requirements for the program you will be contacted within several weeks to schedule a meeting with the Academic Year in Freiburg Review Committee. The meeting will consist of a short discussion of your goals for participating in the program in English, and a brief review of your German language skills.
  • After your meeting with the Academic Year in Freiburg Review Committee, you will be contacted with details about how to submit a second set of application materials that are sent directly to the AYF office in Freiburg within several weeks.
  • NOTE: Applicants can expect to receive their final acceptance by mid-spring.



If you are accepted to your program, you will be asked to commit to participating in your program by submitting the University of Iowa Confirmation of Participation form, as well as completing requirements for your host university.

After you have formally confirmed your plans to participate, you will work both with UI Study Abroad and your host university. Follow instructions from both. Later in the semester, your UI study abroad advisor will contact you regarding orientation sessions, registration, and other required UI procedures and documentation.

Application Deadline

The Early Application Deadline is January 28.

The Final Application Deadline is February 24.

Students who apply by the Early Application Deadline will be considered for a scholarship offered by the German government in addition to financial aid and scholarship options available to all study abroad students. Students selected as candidates for this scholarship will be contacted shortly after they submit their application with more information.

Students who apply after the Early Application Deadline but before the Final Application Deadline will be eligible for financial aid and scholarships available to all study abroad students, but will not be eligible for AYF-specific scholarships. See the Financial Aid & Scholarships section for more information.

Health & Safety Planning

Students should carefully review the following materials starting at least two months prior to departure:

Prepare for Departure

Health and Safety

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information


All program participants are required to complete immigration requirements to enter and study in your host country. UI Study Abroad and your program provider/host institution abroad will provide you with immigration instructions prior to departure.

Note that permission to enter and study in your host country is provided exclusively by the host country’s government based on that country's immigration requirements. Your host country’s immigration requirements may include considerations related to specific national origin, national heritage, criminal background status, and similar issues that can make it impossible to receive permission to enter the country in some cases. Contact your UI study abroad advisor for more information.

It is essential that you thoroughly review all of your immigration materials before you leave for your host country to ensure that they are absolutely complete and accurate. It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that all of your immigration materials are in order and fully accurate before you leave for your host country. If any of your immigration materials contain inaccurate information of any kind, contact your UI study abroad advisor immediately to discuss your options.

Do not take steps to complete your host country’s immigration requirements until you receive more information from UI Study Abroad.

Review the UI Study Abroad Travel Documentation website for further guidance on the immigration/visa process.


Students in front of a decorated building

In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your UI study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343