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Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

The DAAD is the largest German support organisation in the field of international academic co-operation. They offer a myriad of scholarships for Germans to finance their studies abroad. One of their most popular scholarships is the so-called „Jahresstipendium für Gradierte aller wissenschaftlichen Fächer“. I received this scholarship to finance my studies for the CEMS MIM at the University of Sydney Business School. In this section, I will clarify what the „Jahresstipendium für Gradierte aller wissenschaftlichen Fächer“ is, how you can apply for it and how the selection procedure looks like. 



Overview, application documents and application procedure



Who can apply for the scholarship?

  • German citizens who want to participate in a structured postgraduate program abroad

  • Students from various academic backgrounds can apply

Scholarship duration:

  • The scholarship is first awarded for a year which can be extended up to two years (you need to apply for a scholarship extension)

Scholarship benefits:

  • a fixed monthly living expense allowance that depends on the particular country you are applying for (e.g. for Australia it is currently €1,175 per month)

  • Contribution to potential tuition fees (maximum of €12,000)

  • Contribution to travel expenses (flight etc.)

  • Provision of health insurance abroad (if needed)

  • Contribution to language courses abroad 

  • Access to an exclusive network of DAAD Alumni and support throughout

More information about the scholarship can be found here



The following documents need to be uploaded to the DAAD portal:

  • Online application form (can be downloaded in the DAAD portal)

  • Most recent version of your CV

  • Detailed description of your study proposal (what will be achieved academically and personally by the program)

  • A motivation letter (why you want to study abroad; why you have chosen the study program and subject; why you have chosen the particularly university; why you want to be funded by the DAAD)

  • Transcript of records from your undergraduate degree

  • Copy of your high-school leaving diploma which shows individual grades obtained in every subject 

  • Conditional or unconditional letter from the university abroad for your study program (Note: You don't need this upon application for the DAAD scholarship; you can submit this later - even after receiving their scholarship - in the DAAD portal)

  • Relevant language certificates (Note: Your language certificates are invalid if you have done them more than 2 years ago; in this case I would recommend you to do the fast and often cheaper DAAD language test (so-called "DAAD-Sprachzeugnis" in German)

As you can see the list of application documents is long and I strongly recommend you to start working on them well in advance. It does take time to work your way through the list...



The application procedure is straightforward and basically consists of three steps:

Step 1: Upload application documents in DAAD portal

You upload all required application documents in the DAAD online portal. The DAAD commission will check completeness of the application and if they think that your application could be successful, they will invite you for a selection interview in Bonn.

Step 2: Selection interview in Bonn (approx. 10 minute interview)

Once you successfully made it through stage 1, you will be invited for a selection interview which always takes place in Bonn. This means that you will need to travel to Bonn (unless you already live there). A DAAD commission with DAAD employees, DAAD Alumni and professors will ask you questions about your application. More information about this can be found in the next section. 

Step 3: Application outcome

You will be notified about your application outcome roughly 3-4 weeks after your interview in Bonn. More information about this can be found in the next section. 


How should you prepare? What can you expect?

Once you successfully made it through the selection phase based on your submitted documents, you will be invited for a selection interview in Bonn (the DAAD headquarter is located here). Based on my own personal experience I can still recall how nerve-racking I found this interview as I didn't really know how to prepare for it and what to expect. The good news: It is not as bad as you might think and there is no need to be worried.

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Wikipedia and Co.

The first source that I consulted to prepare for my interview was Wikipedia: I read the article about the country I wanted to study in (Australia) and the university I was applying for (the University of Sydney). In hindsight, nobody during the interview asked me specific questions about them but in my view it won't hurt to have some background knowledge. Next, I read multiple experience reports about the selection interview in Bonn on various forums online (e.g. WiWi-Treff and Studis Online). Lastly, I read through all my application documents again (in particular my submitted CV and motivation letter) and made sure I knew exactly what I wrote. I also read the news every morning to stay up to date but nobody asked me about politics during the interview. My advice: Prepare a short introduction of yourself prior to the interview (they will ask you to quickly introduce yourself) and compile a list of reasons why you want to study abroad (they will indirectly ask you about them). I wouldn't spend too much time on the news - I think your motivation to go abroad matters most. 



Arrive early, take a deep breath and be prepared for nervous students in the waiting room

The DAAD headquarter is close to the highway and central station. So, it shouldn't be much of a problem to get to the headquarter. You will also find signs that will guide you to the right location and you can always ask the receptionist for help in case you need it. One downside of the selection process is that all applicants need to come to Bonn for the selection interview (the DAAD doesn't cover the travel costs). I met people who flew from Berlin to Bonn just to attend the interview...This is fine should you receive a scholarship but a significant time and cost investment should you not make it. Just be aware of this :) Once, you arrive in the building and make your way to the waiting area where you will most likely find some other students who are waiting for their interview as well. The ones that I met were quite nervous which is perfectly understandable given that the scholarship often determines whether someone can afford to go abroad for his postgraduate studies or not. My advice would be to not get too nervous and here it probably helps to know beforehand what to expect. Also be prepared that sometimes the commission finishes earlier with candidates and I had for instance my interview 20 minutes before the official time. That's why it is so crucial that you arrive well in advance in the headquarter. 



10 minutes to convince the commission

The commission usually consists of a member of the DAAD, an Alumni of the scholarship program and professors from various different academic disciplines. I had a total of six people in the commission who were assessing my readiness for a postgraduate study program in Down Under. My interview started with a short introduction of myself (tip: Prepare this in advance and practice it so that you can deliver a compelling self-introduction in this stressful situation). Next, the professor who was the closest to my academic discipline (a Marketing professor) started to ask me a question from my academic field: "Why do some firms decide to outsource part of their value chain?". It is important to know that you will be asked both academic and personal questions during the interview (so it might be beneficial to go through some of your lecture slides again to recall the 'big picture' learnings). They also asked me questions about my CV and the DAAD alumni wanted to know more about my experiences of studying abroad in Melbourne during my undergraduate degree. The Alumni was particularly interested in how the Australian education system compares to our German system. In hindsight, most of the questions they asked me could have been anticipated and you can do yourself a huge favour with a thorough preparation before the selection interview. Please don't be confused when you realise that the commission only wants short answers from you (they need to ask a lot of questions in 10 minutes and need to adhere to a tight schedule). Don't worry too much about the interview - I am sure you will be fine :) Best of luck! 



Was I good enough? Did I make it? When will I know the result?

I think it is normal to ask yourself immediately after the interview whether you were good enough and made it. For me it was the same and I had the feeling that some of my answers could have been more on point. I wasn't sure if I made it. I would bet that most applicants leave the building with the same feeling. After approximately four weeks of waiting time I received a message in the DAAD portal: "Your scholarship documents". I was very happy and relived that I made it. However, to a certain extend it is also luck whether you receive one of their scholarships or not. You can't for instance influence who will sit in the commission and what kind of questions they will ask you. Have this in mind and please try not to get too upset should you not make it. It is a bit of a gamble and a portion of luck is needed, too. I would suggest that you apply for other scholarships in this event: for instance offers a good overview of other scholarships that you could apply for :)


For their North America scholarships


Key enabler for my dream study program in Down Under

My experience with the DAAD has been a very positive one and I am very grateful that I received the „Jahresstipendium für Graduierte aller wissenschaftlichen Fächer 2019/2020“. Without the financial support from the DAAD I would not have been able to finance my studies in Down Under. So, the scholarship was literally a key enabler for me to pursue my postgraduate studies in Australia. My CEMS MIM program has a standard period of study of 1.5 years and I already applied for a scholarship extension of another half a year. The DAAD genuinely cares about its scholarship holders and regularly checked in with them during the exceptional time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel in good hands throughout and can highly recommend interested students to apply for one of their scholarships. 

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I can only encourage you to apply for one of their scholarships. You have nothing to loose and I am sure that the application efforts will be worth it in the end. Give it a try! Good luck🍀🧳✈️

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