Frecuently Asked Questions
We often receive questions from (prospective) applicants about SBW Berlin, the SBW Berlin scholarship, and the application process. While all answers can be found in our Guidelines for the SBW Berlin scholarship and the Guidelines for the SBW Berlin Scholarship for Refugee, we have collected and answered a few questions that have been frequently asked here:
1. I want to study at SBW Berlin. Which programs do you offer?
SBW Berlin is not a university or language school. All applicants need to apply to university in Berlin or Potsdam separately if they want to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
2. I got admitted to a university in Munich. Can I apply for this scholarship?
Yes, you may apply for the SBW Berlin scholarship. However, all SBW Berlin scholarship recipients must attend a university in Berlin or Potsdam. In this case, you will also have to apply again for university admission in Berlin or Potsdam.
3. Do I need to speak German to apply for the SBW Berlin scholarship?
Applicants do not necessarily need to speak German. However, they should be fluent in English. If applicants want to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree, they need to fulfill the language requirement of a particular program/university in Berlin or Potsdam. Questions about language requirements should be directly sent to the International Office or Student Advising Office at that university.
4. Can I study German or another language at SBW Berlin?
No, because SBW Berlin is not a university or language school. We do not offer any language classes. Also be aware that the SBW Berlin scholarship does not cover the cost of “Studienkolleg” or any funding of activities (e.g., language classes) in your home country prior to the SBW Berlin scholarship recipient’s arrival in Berlin
5. Do I need to submit a language certificate?
An official language certificate is only needed during the verification process. Only those applicants who have been invited to a personal interview/videoconference and have successfully passed the interview, will be asked to submit official language certificates (in English or German). For more information on language requirements, we recommend that applicants contact the International Office or Student Advising Office at the university they plan to attend.
6. I am 31 (or older). Can I apply for the SBW Berlin scholarship? Are there any other requirements applicants must satisfy?
Applicants MUST be between 18 and 30 years old and meet the other following requirements: professional or volunteer experiences the non-profit sector, strong intention to return to and work in the country of origin after completion of the funding period, able to prove a relatively low household net-income, no first-degree family member residing in Germany, able to prove that they have not stayed for more than 18 months in Germany prior to application submission, average grades corresponding to at least to 2.0 German grade (80%), application before the start of university education or fully enrolled in first or max third semester at a state-recognized university (in Germany or abroad) or application for a master’s degree shortly before or after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. For more information on the application requirements, please review Rules and Criteria for the SBW Berlin scholarship posted on the SBW Berlin webpage during open application cycles (from May 15-June 30 and Nov 15-Dec 31).
7. What documents do I have to submit for the SBW Berlin scholarship? Where do I submit them?
First, we suggest that you carefully read the guidelines for the SBW Berlin scholarship posted on the SBW Berlin webpage during an open application cycle. The following documents must be submitted: completed application form, letter of motivation (including your project proposal and professional aspirations), current C.V., information on total household net-income, copy of last school or university transcript including grade point average and grading scale, and a copy of highest academic degree including grade point average and grading scale. The application form will be available on our website during the period we are accepting new application. Save all documents as PDFs (label each PDF-file) and send them together in only ONE e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (Hint: Please do not include any links.)
8. Do I need to translate my university and school certificates, and transcripts?
All application documents must be submitted in English or German. Applicants may submit simple translations of university and school certificates (e.g., transcripts) along with copies of the originals.
9. I read that all applicants need at least a grade point average of 2.0. What does this mean?
According to the German grading scale 2.0 corresponds to 80% or the letter grade B. All applicants must provide their grade point average and a grading scale explaining the submitted grades. The following table may serve as an orientation. Adjustments might be necessary:
10. Do I need to be admitted to a university prior to submitting my SBW Berlin application?
No, you do not need to be admitted to a university prior to your SBW Berlin application. But you should consider submitting your university application shortly thereafter if you haven’t applied yet.
11. I do not have any volunteer experiences. I just want to study and live in Germany. Can I apply and do I need to develop a social non-profit project?
You may still apply if you satisfy the other requirements and can prove excellent academic performance. But all SBW Berlin scholarship recipients MUST develop their own social non-profit projects that ideally show strong connections to their home countries. Applicants MUST include a project proposal in their letter of motivations. Working on and implementing these projects are key points for the SBW Berlin scholarship. The development of the project begins from the first day of the funding period.
12. I applied to the SBW Berlin Scholarship before the application deadline. When will I know I have been selected?
First, congratulation on submitting your application. The SBW Berlin team carefully reviews all applications. Future scholarship recipients are selected based on the following criteria: in need of assistance, eligible, and worthy of assistance. During the first phase of the selection process, the complete application, C.V., and motivation letter (including a project proposal), and grades of the applicants will be considered. During the second phase of the selection process, a personal interview or videoconference will be conducted with candidates who have been deemed suitable after reviewing their application materials. Due to the high number of applications, we will only contact candidates who have been selected for interviews. Scholarships will be awarded by February and August. If you have not been individually contacted by SBW Berlin, your application was not selected. But you may apply again in the future.
13. Do I need a passport and VISA to study in Germany? How long does the VISA-process take? Do I need to purchase my flight ticket to Berlin?
To fly to Berlin and to apply for a VISA (is required to study in Germany), you need to have or get a passport. Depending on your country of origin, it might take 4+ weeks to process your passport application. You can only submit your VISA application at a German embassy in your home country when you have a passport. Be aware that the VISA application process might take 6-8 weeks. Once your VISA has been issued, SBW Berlin will organize your flight to Berlin.
14. Will I receive funding for the duration of my studies?
Usually, SBW Berlin scholarship recipients receive funding for the duration of their studies. However, each scholarship recipients MUST attend weekly meetings, prove the progress of their project, submit a project description and progress plan (15-20+ pages) after each semester, and prove excellent academic performance. Based on this information, SBW Berlin evaluates all projects after each semester (= 6 months) and determines if all terms and condition agreed upon in the scholarship contract are met and if funding continues for the following semester.
15. Do I have to return to my home country after I finished my studies?
Yes, all SBW Berlin scholarship recipients MUST return to their home countries. (For more information on the SBW Berlin Scholarship for Refugees, please check out our webpage and/or the appropriate guidelines.)
16. Can I bring my family, can a family member stay with me, or can I stay at my family’s house?
No, that is not possible. All SBW Berlin scholarship recipients live in shared student apartments and must respect the privacy of their flat mate(s).
17. Do I need health insurance while living in Berlin?
Yes, all SBW Berlin scholarship recipients are responsible to get and pay for their own health insurance. The SBW Berlin team will answer any questions scholarship recipients may have after their arrival in Berlin and help them to sign up for health insurance.
18. What happens after I completed my studies in Berlin or Potsdam? Will SBW Berlin help me find a job?
All SBW Berlin scholarship recipients MUST return to their home countries. But the SBW Berlin team is committed to help SBW Berlin scholarship recipients to realize their professional goals in their home countries while developing their social project and pursuing an academic degree (or professional training/apprenticeship) in Berlin. This is done through networking with other organizations, through our assistance with targeted job searches in the scholarship recipients’ home countries, and with the preparation of job materials thereafter and through the targeted development of the social project showing strong connections to the scholarship recipients’ home countr
19. I saw a video about SBW Berlin on YouTube. Is that an official video from SBW Berlin?
SBW Berlin is on various social media channels. You can find us on YouTube under “SBW BERLIN STIPENDIEN BILDUNG WELTWEIT”: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCud3RfaNfzid56AH1xkJAUA/videos
We are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok. (Disclaimer: We want to warn you that these are our ONLY official social media channels. There might be other channels that talk about the SBW Berlin and the application process. They are NOT official SBW Berlin channels and may spread wrong information.).