The DAAD: International exchange of students and scholars

Since 1925 the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has established itself as one of the biggest organisations that encourage international exchange. DAAD membership numberes more than 230 higher education institutions and 120 student bodies.

Der DAAD in Bonn © DAAD
Der DAAD in Bonn . © DAAD

The DAAD is a joint organisation of Germany’s higher education institutions and is responsible for promoting international academic relations, primarily through the exchange of students, academics and researchers. Its programmes are generally open to all disciplines and all countries and equally benefit foreigners and Germans.

The DAAD also supports the international activities of Germany’s higher education institutions by providing a number of services. These include information and publication programmes, marketing, consultancy, support and guidance services, plus an increasing number of institutional programmes that serve to raise the international profile and worldwide appeal of Germany’s higher education institutions.

And, finally, the DAAD advises the German government on the formation of its policies in the fields of international cultural relations and academic relations at European and international level, as well as on questions of national higher education and development cooperation.

The predecessor to the German Academic Exchange Service, the “Austauschdienst der Hochschulen”, was first established in 1925 in response to an initiative in academic circles. It was dissolved in 1945 and newly established in 1950 as a registered association under private law.

The DAAD’s full members are – on application – the higher education institutions represented in the German Rectors’ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz – HRK) and the student bodies of these institutions. DAAD membership numbers more than 230 higher education institutions and 120 student bodies, with all the various types of higher education institutions represented.

The DAAD will pursue three main courses of action to ensure that it continues achieving these goals in the future:

I. Scholarships for the Best

Awarding scholarships to the best German and international students and researchers who, in a demanding application process, demonstrate exceptional ability and willingness to accept responsibility

II. Structures of Internationality

Creating higher education structures in Germany and abroad (e.g. international degree programmes, bilaterally founded universities, academic networks, etc.) which promote international qualification, mobility and dialogue which, in turn, improves the quality of research and instruction

III. Expertise for Academic Collaborations

Systematising, developing and providing expertise in educational cultures and systems of higher learning, which the DAAD has gained through its work and network and which is essential for developing internationally successful collaborations

The DAAD also performs a number of special responsibilities that aim to encourage and fund Europe-wide mobility by students, academics and professionals. The DAAD is the so-called “national agency” for the EU ERASMUS programme and an information centre for ERASMUS Mundus, Europass, TEMPUS / cooperation between EU and non-EU countries and the Bologna process.

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