The first undergraduate international summer school programme (ISSP) in English was a great success: ISSP – a four week programme from 17 June ending on 14 July 2023 that had been designed particularly but not exclusively for students from UK and US partner universities of TH Aschaffenburg. The idea behind the short term programme was to offer students that cannot study abroad for an entire term for various reasons an attractive credit bearing alternative.
Participants of this first ISSP were undergraduate students studying business, accounting or other subjects from Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham (GB) , Montana State University Billings, US, the University of Missouri-Saint Louis (US) and University of Zilina.
The programme also forms part of a project of TH AB cofunded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art with a focus on academic collaboration related activities between Bavaran and UK universities. “We wanted to offer our partner universities an academic programme in return for their partnership, student and teaching exchange programme possibilities including waived tuition fees for our students who study there for semester or two”, Prof. Dr. Alexandra Angress summarises the main motivation behind designing and implementing this short term programme with Ernst Schulten, head of the International Office. With this four week programme UK Partner Universities such as NTU and Coventry University can send their students via the new UK Turing Scheme to partner universities abroad. The content of the first ISSP is mainly also the result of talks with the partners from UK and US who sent along students on this programme.
The start of this programme was marked by TH AB’s open campus day with a welcome and campus tour in English by Ernst Schulten to all international guests attending. President Prof. Dr. Eva- Maria Beck-Meuth welcomed all participants at an official opening in the “Hock-Saal”.
The ISSP consisted of an attractive mix of theory and practice including cultural and business related elements on Germany and the EU featuring a series of company and institutional visits accompanied by intercultural training sessions and regular German language classes and an intensive two-week SAP course. For designated course elements and outings also regular students and incoming students were invited to join and help immerse into the host country and culture. Practical sessions with outings and visits to the European Central Bank, the European Space Operating Centre in Darmstadt, a guided company tour at Faber Castell at Nuremberg/Stein as well as a planned tour at BMW formed part of this attractive summer school programme. The programme also featured visits to Miltenberg including a visit at the local brewery Faust and a visit to SAP/Walldorf experience centre followed by a city tour of Heidelberg. Prof. Dr. Boris Bauke and Stefan Homes with colleagues from Venture Lab provided an insight on how to create a start-ups to encourage cross-border collaboration and how to prepare a pitch. Prof. Dr. Greg Gardner, SUNY Potsdam, US gave a lecture applying cultural approaches learned to help gain comparative insights on Doing business in the US vs Doing business in Germany through selected case studies. He joined with delegation of colleagues and graduate students joined the ISSP as well.
A focal element of the programme were regular German language classes and students also met with local students for designated poster sessions and presentations on topics of working across cultures. For their final presentations ISSP participants produced a one-minute-video on their ISSP experience in Germany.
Feedback of some summer school participants
„I would encourage other students interested in business and also partly finance to come and study at AUAS as the courses are really well structured and I have accomplished so much in a month, it’ d be interesting to see what I could accomplish in a year.“
„This was an exciting program, both for the students and for my colleagues and I. It was well-organized and fun, but with a critical core of international exposure and training that will help the students become global thinkers.“
„The best part of the Aschaffenburg ISSP program was being able to get an international experience while making friends from all over the world. With that also being able to learn and diverse set of information from language, culture, and business practices, the ISSP had everything I was looking for in an international study abroad experience.“
„So one thing I really enjoyed about being in a smaller university is the way we are right here in town, a part of a community. Here in Aschaffenburg we just feel at home …I had the opportunity to learn not only about Germany and the language and culture but also through conversations with a lot of locals on their perspectives possibly also on Americans – and we could see the differences between our own realities versus our own expectations.“
Special thanks to Prof. Dr. Alexandra Angress and Ernst Schulten for making this programme happen and a huge success! Participants loved it and pledged to come back soon – first applications are being prepared be it for an internship, another short term programme, a semester abroad or maybe even a dual/double degree.