University of Applied Sciences Schmalkalden (Fachhochshule Schmalkalden)

Schmalkalden, Germany

The exchange agreement

Signed in 1994, the exchange agreement between the University of Lethbridge and the Fachhochschule Schmalkalden (University of Applied Sciences Schmalkalden) is well established.

Semester dates

Fall semester
October–January (or end of December, for U of L exchange students needing to return for our spring semester, when special arrangements can be made)
Orientation: early October
Suggested arrival: early October
Spring semester
March – July
Orientation: 1st week of semester
Suggested arrival: 1 week prior to start of classes
Summer
International Summer School
June (3 weeks)
German Culture and Language program
July (2 weeks)

The country

The Federal Republic of Germany is located in the heart of Europe, linking the west with the east, the north with the south. The most densely-populated country in Europe, Germany is flanked by nine neighbouring states since the unification of the two German states in 1990. An integral part of the European Union and NATO, Germany is a partner to the central and eastern European states that are en route to becoming part of a united Europe.

Deep in the heart of Europe, Germany has had a seminal impact on Continental history. From Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire to Otto von Bismarck's German Reich, Nazism and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, no other nation has moulded Europe the way Germany has.

For more information about Germany see sites such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany.

The city

Located in the heart of Germany, in the beautiful province of Thuringia, lies the small city of Schmalkalden. Schmalkalden is a charming town with an 1125-year history and a population of about 20,000 situated on the southern edge of the Thuringian Forest. The town lies 70 km south-west of Erfurt and 180 km north-east of Frankfurt am Main, in the central German state of Thuringia (Thüringen).

Schmalkalden is famous for its medieval town centre, with its half-timbered houses, stone boudoirs, the St. Georg church with its characteristic towers, and the Wilhelmsburg Castle high above the town itself. Cozy cafes and pubs entice the traveler to spend time in the winding alleyways of the historic Old Town.

Schmalkalden and Thuringia in general have much to offer to lovers of nature and culture alike. The surrounding scenic beauty invites hiking and cross-country skiing in the hilly and forested landscape. Nearby towns and cities, such as Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia, feature museums, picturesque medieval houses, and splendid Gothic churches.

For more information about Schmalkalden, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmalkalden.

The university

Fachhochschule Schmalkalden (FHS) lies in the city of Schmalkalden in central Germany. The campus is about a 15-minute walk from the town centre. In the early part of the twentieth century, Fachhochschule Schmalkalden was founded as a vocational college and trained skilled labourers for the local iron and steel industries.

In 1937, it became an engineering school, and in 1991 it was expanded to become a university. Although a university, it still retains its Fachhochschule name to differentiate itself from the larger universities that offer a greater range of faculties.

FHS has been among the youngest and most progressive educational establishments in Germany, and has an important focus on its international programs. Its student population is around 5,000. The student body of the Department of Economics and Management is roughly 500 students and growing. The school receives about 40 international students each semester and over 50 for its summer program.

Further information can also be viewed on the Fachhochschule Schmalkalden website.

Courses

Although courses from all Faculties are available to exchange students, it is primarily in the Department of Economics and Management that courses are offered in English. Most courses at the university are taught in German, but approximately 10 to 15 courses are taught in English each semester. The number of courses offered in English increases annually, but the Spring semester always offers more English courses than the Fall. In many classes which are taught in German, international exchange students can write the exam or a course work in English to receive credit for the course.

German language classes at various levels are offered to international students. These courses include Tandem work with German partner students. Other foreign languages taught include French, Spanish, and Russian.

Please note: As the European university academic structure varies greatly from the North American system, courses completed at a European exchange partner will not be transferred back to the U of L on a course-for-course basis. Rather, exchange course credit is based on the number of ECTS (European Transfer Credit System) credits earned by the student while in Schmalkalden.

German culture and language program

This two week-long program introduces students to the German language and culture, both through classroom instruction and field trips. The program generally runs from the beginning to the middle of July, and costs €400. Exchange students who have participated in a full-semester spring exchange in Schmalkalden are welcome to participate in this program free of charge. During any given semester, there are two German language courses offered. One for beginners and the other for those more advance in their understanding of the language, referred to as Business German.

International Summer School

The FH Schmalkalden also offers a popular three-week-long summer school program called International Summer School Schmalkalden (ISSS) which is held in June every summer. It is designed to bring international students from all Schmalkalden's partner universities together for a fun international learning experience. Courses are taught by both international instructors and by German instructors from partner universities. The courses have international and cross cultural topics and are all taught in English. In addition to classes, the program offers a series of organized field trips for participants.

A maximum of 2 U of L courses (6 credits) can be earned for during the Schmalkalden Summer School. The three-week program includes an array of seminar courses focused on a different theme each year. Participation in the ISSS costs €750, which covers, accommodation and various trips and tours of the surrounding area. Exchange students who have participated in a full-semester Spring exchange in Schmalkalden are welcome to participate in the ISSS free of charge.

For more information about the ISSS program please see our short-term exchange page.

Housing

The university has student housing available for international students. The student residence has a total of 603 placements available. Just a 5-minute walk from the main campus, there are three student residences available that offer one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom apartments. Most of the apartments come with a kitchen and bathroom. There are also single and double rooms available, with shared kitchen and bathroom. Prices vary between C$240–320 depending on room type.

Transportation

Transportation is relatively cheap in Schmalkalden. A single bus fare for adults is about C$1. The city has monthly passes for students (need to show student ID) that cost about C$25.

Costs

Based on comments from our previous exchange students to Schmalkalden, the costs for the exchange are approximately as follows:

  • Housing: C$250/month (dormitory)
  • Textbooks: 0–$100
  • Food: approximately $150 - 400/month
  • Laundry: C$16 (laundry card)
  • Transportation: approximately C$25 for a monthly pass (with student ID)
  • Visa: approximately $60

Participation in the three-week ISSS costs €500. The fee includes tuition, accommodation and various trips and tours of the surrounding area.

Arrival information

It is recommended that students arrive by plane in Frankfurt. From there they will take a series of three trains to Schmalkalden. It is important to check the schedule and know whether or not you have to go to a different level of the train station to get on the right train. Pay attention to track numbers! Once in Schmalkalden, students will be met at the train station by a university representative or 'buddy' student.

Visa requirements

Canadians staying less than 90 days do not require a visa and are classified as tourists. Canadians wishing to stay longer than three months to study in Germany, are no longer required to obtain a visa before entering. However, you will need to submit an application for Residence Permit at the local Alien’s Authority shortly after arrival. We recommend you review the visa application process prior to departure to ensure you have all necessary information required for submission at the local Alien’s Authority. For further details about a visa and/or residence permit, contact the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Vancouver.

Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Vancouver
704-999 Canada Pl
Vancouver BC V6C 3E1Tel.: 604.684.8377
Fax: 604.684.8334
Email: germanconsulatevancouver@telus.net
Website: www.ottawa.diplo.de

Office hours of the Consular Section are Monday to Friday, 09:00 to noon.

Videos and photos

To view on online video clip of the talk about the Schmalkalden exchange at our February 2005 U of L International Program Info Sessions, see: media.uleth.ca/crdc/exchange/Schmalk.mov (MOV, 00:03:25).

Student contacts

Former and current U of L exchange students to the Fachhochschule Schmalkalden, as well as our current incoming exchange students from Schmalkalden are happy to talk to students interested in the exchange. To request their contact information, please email int.programs@uleth.ca.