Virtuelle International Project Days

Category: Englisch

Students from TH AB and six of its partner universities collected and reflected on their intercultural learning experiences 

On Thursday 29 April, this year's International Project Week was completed successfully in the new Virtual Project Day format for the first time. Once again, the second semester students of the International Technical Sales Management (ITV) degree programme from the Faculty of Business and Law as the PLV group as well as international students from partner universities in Taiwan, Thailand, Georgia, Finland, France and Chile were involved. The aim was to reflect together on the digital working and collaboration skills and knowledge (across cultural boundaries) acquired over the past pandemic year and to derive from this what the participating students could use for their further personal and professional future.

Expert interviews and interactive expert presentations
After a joint kick-off meeting, the students acquired up-to-date knowledge from a suitable accompanying course of the Virtual University of Bavaria (VHB), worked out various contents in international and interdisciplinary teams and conducted expert interviews, which they presented in various formats. The presentations of the mixed student teams were enriched by interactive expert lectures, which brought the students into close contact with the professional world of virtual meetings, networking, customer contacts and conferences in an international context.

Intercultural exchange with valuable learning experiences
Another focus of the Virtual Project Days was intercultural learning itself: The students had the opportunity to examine their own culture in a so-called Virtual Space Meeting and also got to know cultural aspects of the other cultures better. Moreover, even the virtual format allowed for a valuable exchange on everyday issues and the pandemic situation in the different countries.

Varied forms of virtual interaction were used
As organisers of this virtual event, Prof. Dr Alexandra Angress and Prof. Dr Sylvana Krauße relied on varied forms of interaction and made use of different digital tools and platforms to give the students the feeling of multi-faceted collaboration (in different rooms and group sizes). Sometimes they met in plenary, sometimes the students moved back and forth between different presentation stands, sometimes they created joint padlets, interactive online posters, which were commented on by the other teams. 
The attractive programme was complemented by current insights on the topic of "virtual working with international teams and customers" by speakers from industry and research such as Denis Schreek (Linde MH), Alexandra Metzger Alma (Hispano Dialog), alumnus Sebastian Schäfer and Thomas Röhr from the partner university in Belfort/France.

Conclusion and feedback
A first round of feedback reflected the different expectations and composition of the participants. It ranged from rather sober appreciative words ("better than expected") to effusive and warm praise. The success of the project was also thanks to a dedicated team in the background, consisting of Tamara Szabò, Christian Feidner and Michael Krafft. Special thanks also go to Carina Bläser for organising the Virtual Space Meeting and registering the international students on the part of the International Office, as well as Anne Maier for her competent start-up help in the digital area.
For the course leaders, professors Angress and Krauße, there was a lot to take away from this format. Even though they had become familiar with almost all the elements of the digital teaching and collaboration used last year - it was once again an exciting challenge to apply this across the different time zones and with so many different participants and their expectations in a targeted and successful way, also with a view to future hybrid formats; opportunities offered by the new EU education programme ERASMUS, among others. 

The feedback from one of the international students can be seen as very encouraging for using and advancing the event format beyond the pandemic period: „I want to thank you for a wonderful and unforgettable week, I gained a lot of experience, knowledge, made new friends, made connections and  learned better to work in a team. I really liked your approach and maximalism in the given project and given education. In the future I will definitely participate again in summer school and exchange programs at your university as well. And I also definitely recommend it to friends. I would like to thank you once again for a wonderful program.” (Luka Baklaga, Business and Technology University Tbilisi, Georgien)