Especially those who plan to study abroad at an early stage can take advantage of some funding opportunities to finance their stay abroad. Students with chronic illnesses have a number of funding options for studying abroad. It should be noted that both the application for BaföG abroad and for scholarships require a lead time of up to one year.
A basic possibility of financial support during your studies abroad is the Auslands-BAföG. Those students with chronic illness who do not receive a domestic BAföG can also be eligible for funding. Country-wide grants or scholarships are an additional way of financing your studies abroad.
Grant from the DAAD
The DAAD supports high-performing students with chronic diseases as part of the ERASMUS program abroad. Students with chronic illnesses can, for example, receive a subsidy for housing or travel expenses as part of an ERASMUS semester.
Scholarships for students with chronic illnesses
In addition to the scholarships for particularly good performance, there are also scholarships that are specifically aimed at students with chronic illnesses. The scholarship providers are mostly foundations or individual associations, such as the Google Scholarship for Students with Disabilities. The Intestinal Diseases Foundation not only awards scholarships for academics with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but also promotes artistic and professional training and further education.
Attention: Auslands-BAföG can only be combined with performance-related scholarships.
Students with chronic illnesses who do not receive BAföG abroad or can subsidize the costs of studying abroad in other ways can alternatively use student loans.
Insured with chronic illnesses while studying abroad
Even if health insurance is not the most exciting topic when planning a semester abroad: The choice of private health insurance abroad should be made at the very beginning in order to successfully clarify how and whether the study abroad at the university of your choice is also covered in terms of medical care.
Why take out foreign health insurance privately?
Statutory health insurance only pays for medical treatment abroad if there is a social security agreement with the German state. The countries with which Germany has concluded a social security agreement, which also includes health insurance, include all EU and EEA countries as well as Turkey, for example. In these countries, the statutory health insurance covers all services that are also incurred in Germany. However, all additional costs must be borne by yourself.
In the other countries that have not concluded a social security agreement with Germany, the medical costs incurred there would have to be borne by the foreign students themselves. For this reason, a foreign health insurance is strongly recommended. Chronic illnesses and their consequences, which were not to be expected before the start of the trip, are only covered by a few policies of the foreign health insurances.
It can help if your ability to travel is certified in advance by a doctor. Choosing an international health insurance that suits your individual needs can take some time.
Foreign health insurance benefits
Regardless of where the destination country is, a foreign health insurance covers additional services, such as necessary repatriation. The benefits of the international health insurance should be checked carefully in advance. It is crucial for students with chronic illnesses to cover existing pre-existing illnesses.
Before starting their studies abroad and taking out health insurance, students with chronic illnesses should apply to their family doctor for a certificate stating any medication and physiotherapy that may be necessary, as well as their health. This proof should be translated into the national language of the respective target country.
Health insurance benefits for students with chronic illnesses studying abroad
In the target country, benefits in kind are always provided by the health insurance company depending on the country. This means that your own entitlements to benefits are always based on the catalog of benefits prescribed in the destination country. For example, medical care differs in many countries: there are health centers instead of doctors’ offices or medication and medical services always against payment in cash. Depending on the country, this can lead to high additional payments customary in the country. The national statutory health insurances do not have to cover these additional payments.
Attention: Students are only required to have insurance if they are enrolled at their home university during their study stay abroad. This means that the permanent residence is in Germany and the stay abroad must be of a temporary nature.
Study abroad within the EU
The services of the statutory health insurance are also provided in other European countries. If students with chronic illnesses have to make use of regular medical services, it should be clarified in advance whether medical care is also guaranteed in the destination country. The contact persons are the health insurance company and the treating doctor.
Study abroad outside the EU
If you are planning to study abroad with a chronic illness in a country that has not concluded a social security agreement with Germany that also includes health insurance, you will usually not receive any benefits from the statutory health insurance. Students with chronic diseases who are planning to study abroad in one of these countries should always take out private health insurance.
If the university of your choice prescribes a specific international health insurance that does not cover all the required services, you should take out additional international health insurance. Students with chronic illnesses are best advised by the health insurance companies in the destination country on the conditions and coverage amounts.