“Back to School” programme for international teachers
The University of Vechta supports international teachers on their way back to work.
By successfully completing an adaptation period, international teachers are given the opportunity to apply as regular teachers in Lower Saxony.
The “Back to School” programme prepares for the adaptation period (level 1) and provides individual support for participants during the adaptation period (level 2).
Depending on individual qualification, participants can join in both level 1 and level 2. Since the programme is modular, participants can either complete the entire programme or, depending on their needs and interests, participate in individual parts of the programme.
The programme is primarily aimed at international teachers with an academic teacher training degree in a subject taught at schools in Lower Saxony.
"Back to School" programme (Level 1): Preparatory- and orientations offer
Advice and support
Together with the teachers, we will check what they will have to do in order to be able to work as a teacher again in Germany.
Depending on their individual qualifications and interests, we support participants in particular in requesting
- recognition of their teacher training degree acquired in another country (as a prerequisite for the adaptation period)
- transfer of credits for a teacher training degree programme at the University of Vechta
- recognition of skills acquired outside of higher education institutions for studying at the University of Vechta
The International Office team is also happy to assist with requesting a certificate assessment by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). This assessment is useful for applications for jobs outside of state schools (private schools, tutoring institutes, language schools, adult education centres (VHS = Volkshochschule) or similar).
One part of the programme is (if required) a German course with the aim of obtaining a C1 certificate (preparing for TestDaF / telc C1 Hochschule), which is a prerequisite for the adaptation period.
The German course is also attended by prospective students and first semester students.
The courses usually require good language skills on a B1-level. An overview can be found here.
Seminars and workshops in educational sciences and on key skills
The “Back to School” programme includes various workshops (e.g., intercultural training or practical workshops from the field of continuing professional development of teachers).
Interested persons can also attend courses (as auditors). Auditing students are recommended to attend the accompanying seminar for research methods and processes.
Adaptation period (or studies) and re-entry into the teaching profession
The primary goal of the programme is the adaptation period. The adaptation period at the University of Vechta enables international teachers (with a teacher training degree from a university abroad and a formal teaching qualification) to catch up on contents of study that were not covered in the respective degree programme in comparison to a German teacher training degree (e.g., a second subject) and to work as a fully approved teacher at state schools afterwards.
If necessary and desired, participants in the adaptation period are individually supported by the “Back to School” programme (level 2) (see below).
Details on the adaptation period can be found here.
Participants who cannot take part in the adaptation period with their degree (especially teachers without formal teaching qualification or without an academic degree) will be supported, if desired, in applying for a (possibly shortened) teacher training degree programme.
Alternative career paths
The following degree programmes may be of interest for teachers who no longer want to work as a teacher, but in the social sector:
A Bachelor's degree usually takes three years. It might be possible to transfer credits from studies abroad.
For teachers who want to work outside of state schools (private schools, tutoring institutes, language schools, adult education centres (VHS) or similar), a certificate assessment by the ZAB is useful.
Depending on individual interests and qualifications, the one-year refresher course (continuing education) “Pedagogical Competence in Education, Counseling, and Social Work - Academic Advanced Training for Highly Qualified Refugees” of the University of Oldenburg might be an alternative.
Requirements for participation
The requirement for participation is a teaching qualification acquired in another country. If there are more applications than there are places available, teachers with a university degree and a formal teaching qualification in a subject taught at schools in Lower Saxony will be given preference.
Please note that a later transition to level 2 of the programme will only be possible if you have a notification from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs regarding the adaptation period (the “Back to School” programme provides support with requesting the notification). International teachers with an academic degree and a teaching qualification in a subject taught in Lower Saxony can submit such a request. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Language skills, residence permit and nationality
The required language skills depend on which parts of the programme are to be attended. Please feel free to contact us for more information.
For some language courses, there are requirements regarding the residence permit and nationality. Details can be found on the web pages of the individual language courses.
Participation in the programme is free of charge.
Participants who are taking a language examination (e.g., TestDaF), however, usually have to pay the fee themselves. For particularly committed participants of the German course, scholarships are offered during the course period to cover the TestDaF fee.
If the travel expenses cannot be covered by another party (e.g., the job centre), a ticket for local transport can usually be provided or covered.
“Back to School” programme (Level 2): Accompanying offer for participants in the adaptation period as post-qualification
Advice, support and subject-specific mentoring programme
Participants in the adaptation period receive an individual study plan from the university (Degree Programme Coordination for M.Ed.) based on the respective decision of the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs.
As part of the “Back to School” programme (level 2), participants are, if required,
- individually supported with the enrolment and
- individually advised on the study plan, module registration, formalities, types of assessment and other questions.
In addition, they receive support in finding a mentor from the respective academic subject who can help them with study-related questions.
Moreover, an accompanying seminar for research methods and processes is usually offered in the winter semester.
Participants in the adaptation period and the corresponding accompanying programme (“Back to School” programme, level 2) who are not able to submit their language certificate by the start of the programme or who wish to further improve their language skills for other reasons can take part in the German courses offered by the International Office. An overview can be found here.
Please note: The Language Centre usually also offers language courses for students (and thus also for participants in the adaptation period) free of charge.
The “Back to School” programme comprises various workshops (e.g., intercultural training or practical workshops from the field of continuing professional development of teachers), in which both level-1 and level-2 participants can participate if they are interested.
Participants in the “Back to School” programme (level 2) take part in the adaptation period for international teachers at the same time.
When the adaptation period has successfully been completed, the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs can confirm the equivalence of the teacher training degree and participants can apply for regular teaching posts.
Participants who do not wish to (subsequently) study a second subject have the following alternative: Provided the contents of study from the first subject and the educational sciences have been recognised or completed (and a Master's degree can be proven), they can apply as a one-subject teacher for direct lateral entry, if the schools have a corresponding demand.
Requirements for participation
Qualification and certificate of recognition
The requirement for participation is a teaching qualification acquired in another country. In addition, for participating in level 2, a certificate of recognition from the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs of Lower Saxony and an enrolment in the adaptation period at the University of Vechta are required.
Enrolment in the adaptation period requires language skills at level B2/C1 (TestDaF with TDN 4 in all areas, telc C1 Hochschule, DSH-2 or similar). Applicants with proven language skills of at least a very good level B2 may be enrolled on condition that they subsequently submit proof of their language skills in the first semester. Alternatively, under certain conditions, it is possible to take the first exams as an auditing student.
Participation in the programme is free of charge.
Participants who are taking a language examination (e.g., TestDaF) that they have to submit at a later date as proof of their language skills, however, usually have to pay the fee themselves. For particularly committed participants of the German course, scholarships are offered during the course period to cover the TestDaF fee.
Semester fees, which include the semester ticket, are charged for enrolment in the adaptation period.
Applications for the adaptation period and the accompanying programme (“Back to School” programme, level 2) can be submitted every summer and winter semester (start of the semester: 1 April and 1 October). Feel free to contact Dr. Katrin Schumacher.
Consultations are of course possible at all times.
Dr. Katrin Schumacher is also happy to answer any further questions.
This project is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)