Semester break
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Semester break

The semester break is just around the corner and with it the question: How can I make the most of this free time? Many students are looking forward to a well-deserved break after an intensive semester. But the semester break offers far more opportunities than just relaxation. From internships that set the course for your career, to language courses that broaden your horizons, to trips that let you experience new cultures - this time can be a valuable part of your studies and your personal development.

What are semester breaks?

Semester breaks, often incorrectly referred to as "lecture-free periods", are periods between university semesters. As a rule, no regular lectures or seminars take place during this time. However, it is a misconception to believe that this time is exclusively for relaxation. Many students use the semester break for exam preparation, homework or activities that go beyond the lecture hall.

Difference between semester break and lecture-free period

The terms "semester break" and "lecture-free period" are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences that need to be understood:

Semester break

  • The term "semester break" suggests a completely free period without study-related obligations, similar to the school vacations.
  • In reality, however, many students use this time to take exams, write assignments or complete internships.

Lecture-free period

  • In fact, the lecture-free period refers to the period during which no regular lectures and seminars take place at the university.
  • Despite the term "free", this time can be filled with numerous academic activities, including, but not limited to, preparing for and taking exams, writing theses or attending block courses.

Important aspects

  • Planning: It is important that students plan their semester break carefully in order to complete the necessary academic tasks as well as find time to relax.
  • Communication: Universities usually communicate clearly about lecture-free periods and the associated expectations. It is worth paying attention to these announcements and asking questions if you are unsure.
  • Flexibility: Although the lecture-free period is often used for examinations and homework, there are also opportunities for internships, further education or relaxation. The flexible use of this time can contribute to personal and professional development.

By understanding this distinction, students can plan and use their time more effectively to both fulfill their academic obligations and take necessary breaks for personal recovery.

When is the semester break?

The organization of semester breaks varies depending on the type of higher education institution. Here is a detailed look at the timetables of universities and universities of applied sciences:


At universities, the times for the lecture-free period are usually regulated similarly throughout the country:

  • Winter semester: The lecture period usually lasts from October 1 to March 31, followed by a semester break from mid-February to early April.
  • Summer semester: The lecture period runs from April 1 to September 30, followed by a semester break from mid-July to the beginning of October.

Universities of Applied Sciences

The regulations at universities of applied sciences can be more individual and vary from institution to institution:

  • As a rule, there are two main periods for the lecture-free period: in spring from February to April and in summer from July to October.
  • For the exact dates of the semester break at a particular university of applied sciences, you should check their website directly or contact the student advisory service.

Note that the "lecture-free period" does not necessarily mean that no study-related activities take place. Examination periods and deadlines for assignments often fall during these phases.

Design options during the semester break

The semester break offers you a wealth of opportunities to grow personally and professionally, learn new skills or simply unwind. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the professional world, get socially involved, improve your language skills or discover new places - the semester break is your chance to try something new and broaden your horizons. Here are some inspiring ways to make the most of your semester break:

  • Time management and planning: Start with a clear idea of what you want to achieve during the semester break. Create a plan that allows time for both your goals and sufficient rest. This can be a calendar in which you enter specific activities or a to-do list with priorities.
  • Set yourself realistic goals: Whether it's an internship, a language course or completing a project, set achievable goals. Think about what is realistic, taking into account your time and resources.
  • Recreation is important: Don't forget that the semester break should also be a time to relax. Consciously plan breaks and leisure activities that help you to switch off and recharge your batteries.
  • Learn new things: Take the opportunity to develop new skills or hobbies that may be neglected during the semester. Online courses, workshops or creative projects can be a welcome change from everyday study life.
  • Get involved: Volunteering offers the opportunity to gain new experiences, strengthen social skills and make a positive contribution at the same time. Research local organizations or events that are looking for volunteers.
  • Expand your networks: The semester break can also be used to make professional contacts or maintain existing relationships. Attend industry-specific events, fairs or workshops to network with like-minded people and potential employers.
  • Reflection and self-care: Use the time for personal reflection. Reflect on your experiences and goals and think about what you would like to do differently or better in the coming semester. Self-care should always be a priority.
  • Stay flexible: While planning is important, be open to spontaneous changes or unexpected opportunities. Sometimes unplanned experiences lead to the most valuable memories and learning experiences.

By following these tips, you can turn your semester break into an enriching and fulfilling time that will benefit your well-being as well as your personal and professional development.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about semester breaks

In this section, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about semester breaks and lecture-free periods. From how to make the most of these important weeks in the academic year to the subtle differences between various terms, you'll find answers here to help you improve your planning and make the most of your semester break.

How do I find a suitable internship for the semester break?

Start your search early and use all available resources. Your university can be a good place to start, as many have a career center that offers internships and advice. Online platforms, job fairs and writing directly to companies that interest you are also useful strategies. Make sure that the internship matches your field of study and offers you valuable insights into your desired industry.


How can I use the semester break to advance my studies?

In addition to the opportunity to complete internships, you can also use the semester break to write upcoming assignments, prepare for upcoming exams or close gaps in your knowledge. Online courses or workshops can help you to acquire additional qualifications that complement your study profile.

Is it a good idea to travel during the semester break?

Traveling can be a great way to broaden your horizons, learn about new cultures and improve your language skills. It also provides a valuable break from the study routine. If you are planning to travel, consider how the trip can contribute to your personal and academic development, for example through a language course abroad or an international volunteer project.

How important is relaxation during the semester break?

Rest is essential to prevent burnout and to stay mentally and physically healthy. It is important to plan enough time for relaxation and leisure activities alongside all your activities and commitments. Whether it's a hobby, spending time with friends and family or just relaxing - find the right balance to help you start the new semester recharged and motivated.

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