Students Without Borders: The International Foundation Year

Would you like to study in Germany, but are missing the right qualifications? No Problem! At the Karls, people like Lan Anh pave the way for you to be accepted into our Bachelors programs through our International Foundation Year. During our 12 month Foundation Year, you will take classes, and upon passing you will be able to study in one of our Bachelor programs. We would also be happy to support you and, together we can help build a bridge between our cultures.

The features of the Karls: 01. Personalized focal point 02. Focus on practical experience + Company projects 03. Language courses + Study abroad semester 04. Friendly atmosphere + Friendly professors 05. Small class size + Interactive lectures 06. Personal development

# What does Internationality mean at the Karls?

Internationality at the Karls follows the same rule that most things do at the Karls. This rule is namely that things aren’t always as they seem. This is, because although more than 40% of our students (a number which is steadily increasing) are non-German, as a foreigner you are not forced to constantly identify with where you came from. Internationality at the Karls means becoming who you want to be, no matter where you come from. It is an open space for students to transcend the places they come from, or the hardships they have faced where they come from, to become something new altogether. Internationality at the Karls is a blank canvas where you can paint outside of the lines of the identity that society imposes on you through a rigid classification of nationality, class, or community roles. At the Karls the suitcase of national baggage is left at the door while the carry-on bag of cultural contradictions is welcome. Internationality at the Karls means that we have Germans who are not Germans but who are Swabian, that our Americans are citizens of European countries and that some of our students from Central America speak Schwiizerdütsch (Swiss German).  

Internationality at the Karls is a space between countries, a community that is not only national, but international, and at the same time none of the above. 

# How does Karlshochschule support students from abroad on their personal journey?

Even before arriving in Karlsruhe, international students planning to study at the Karlshochschule are supported by our admissions and international office in various things like navigating the public transportation system in Karlsruhe, registering as a resident in the city of Karlsruhe and if they need, tips on visa application. Currently the admissions office along with the international office are working to train student ambassadors with a regional focus. The idea is that our international students help prospective students from their home countries or cultural regions on issues like German bureaucracy, finding accommodation or visa application in their native language.

Once arriving at Karls, our international students are treated to an orientation week where workshops are geared to their personal development, as well as becoming a part of the Karls community. There are also various workshops and timeslots where students who may be struggling with formal aspects of arriving in Germany get help.

Students from abroad need not only expect help from Karls staff. In fact, most of our international students find help from our student body whether they are German, or from our more experienced international students!

For those students who cannot wait until orientation week to get to know the Karls, we also offer a summer academy in July.

The personal journey however doesn’t stop after our students from abroad are settled into Karlsruhe, but continues throughout the bachelors in the form of language classes, intercultural sensitivity workshops and a semester abroad.

# What is the International Foundation Year?

The International Foundation Year is an experience for Karls students, who don’t yet have the qualifications to study in Germany to spend a year taking classes and taking time to adjust to life in Germany and in Karlsruhe.

The students from the foundation year can come from anywhere, but it is mostly geared towards students from countries whose high school diplomas are not seen as equivalent to the German Abitur or Fachhochschulreife.

Although some people colloquially refer to it as a pre-bachelor, I disagree. I think it is a great opportunity for students interested in a bachelors study at the Karls to orient themselves to a long-period residency in Germany, to acquire the skills that will help them succeed in the bachelor, and to take some time to be independent, and far from home so that they can learn more about who they are, and who they want to become through the bachelor program. In this way I think the International Foundation Year is the launch pad for a successful bachelor’s degree at the Karls.

About Anthony Amato

Anthony was once a student at the Karlshochschule. He also once, was born, grew up, and moved away from somewhere which was not Germany. Inspired by the experience he had during his studies he is now keen on helping current students succeed in their studies at the Karlshochschule. With his "there is no such thing as a silly question" attitude he works as the coordinator of the International Foundation Year so that other students may have the same chances he himself had some years ago.

Studying at Karlshochschule International University has opened my horizons not only professionally, but also socially. The internationalized environment here is truly unique with quite a large number of international students both fulltime and exchange students. Since the beginning, Karls has been a home for students coming from over 73 countries. The Karls’ internationality is at an average of about 50% today, and is still rising.

With its “international-citizen” community, the Karls aims to make sure that being an international student here will never be a stranger-experience. How we do that at the Karls? It is really a Karls-way!

Understanding the obstacles of international students while staying in a whole new country, the door at Karls International Office is always open – you can just quickly come in to ask for support with whatever problems you might have – from something really “functional”, related to finding a house, extending visa, city registration or more important questions, like where you should go for your semester abroad, to even something really personal like just hopping in the room for a banana and a short relaxing conversation in between classes. And even when International Office buddies are busy or not there, all you need to do is to talk to anyone at the University, literally anyone, you definitely get full support.

Furthermore, at the Karls, “Internationality is in the air”. With a small class size and a majority of international students, you get the highest chances of working in a group project with people from different countries. In one of my group projects last semester, I got the chance to experience the diversity in the way of studying and communication while working in a group with 2 Spanish people, 1 German and 1 African-American person. Our groups are gathered randomly that way by the professors on purpose. We got a piece of really wise advice at the beginning, that in such a diverse group, we should make sure to not only study together but also share personal experiences, about everything we are interested in, with each other. The feeling of "you are not alone" is the strongest bond.  

About Nhung Vo

Nhung has indirectly started her journey with Karlshochschule 4 years ago (2015) when she got a scholarship to participate in the Summer Academy. To learn, to live and to experience the Karls' intercultural environment is one of the reasons she decided to apply for the Master of Management Program. She is now not only a Master's student but also a member of the Karls crew, who takes care of a project in Vietnam and the international marketing of the university.

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Coming from a multicultural background, I find studying, thinking and creating in an environment as diverse as Karlshochschule to be a real blessing. I've never been one to fall when I can jump and at a place like the Karls you certainly learn how to jump high.


Everything here is so international and it's like you can experience the whole world.

Cornelius - Intercultural Management & Communication

I believe that culture has become an integral part of today's economy. Through my studies I was able to develop personally and professionally.


In today's digitized world we are incredibly sensitive to media content and the media makers and managers need an international perspective on the subject.


What are the interests of politics? What motives the economy? And how can human thought and action be explained? I've always been interested in questions like that.


When I first thought of International Relations, I used to think of a very theoretical approach. But here at Karls that is not the only thing we do. The focus lies on team work and critical thinking, learning by doing and questioning everything in the process.


Cosy, familiar, creative, productive and practice-oriented - that is my everyday university life.

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Apply now for the next course in March 2019 with the code "GoKarls"!