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Press release: More than mere English proficiency and foreign experience

Nr. 7/2016 - 15.01.2016

Göttingen University initiates systematic internationalisation of its teaching curricula

(pug) Lectures by experts from all over the world broadcast online and intensified interaction between local and foreign cultures: Göttingen University has initiated a systematic internationalisation of its teaching curricula. In January 2016, the pilot project, funded with 83.000 Euro from the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, moved into its implementation phase at three of the faculties.

“Nationwide, we are the first institute of higher learning to systematically integrate international content into the curricula of all major subjects. It’s still of a pilot nature,” says Professor Hiltraud Casper-Hehne, Vice President for International Affairs at Georgia Augusta. “Representatives of the German Rectors’ Conference are interested in Göttingen's concept and will be setting up a national working group on curricular internationalisation.“

Even though a comparatively high number of Göttingen students – at 30 percent – have spent a semester or done an internship abroad, the majority of them stay local for the duration of their studies. “Now, the aim is to allow students to gather even more international and intercultural competencies at their homeland institute of higher learning. Given the growing migrational trends in our societies and the increased diversity at our University, this is indeed a very important matter,” explains Project Coordinator Tanja Reiffenrath of the Student and Academic Services Department. “We are working on the brand ‘The University of Göttingen: Education for a Global World – at Home and Abroad,’” Prof. Casper-Hehne adds.

The first step was to take inventory of the currently existing internationally and interculturally aligned programmes offered at three faculties – Theology, Law and Economic Sciences. This included lectures and seminars in English, culturally comparative and culture-related course offerings as well as exchange opportunities with affiliated foreign institutes of higher learning. Both students and teaching staff at the faculties are now working collaboratively with representatives of business and social communities to draft concepts aimed at shaping the study experience to be even more international.

For example, the Theological Faculty holds regular lectures on intercultural theology: several lecture series now also integrate many speeches by experts outside of Europe, for example from the Asian or African regions, by means of live broadcasts. In parallel, the students at affiliated foreign institutes of higher learning have the opportunity to follow lectures held in Göttingen thanks to video conferencing. In addition to this, there will be more time and space in the seminars for comparative discussion about and analysis of one's own and the foreign culture, particularly with a view to later spheres of employment in their careers and in society.

Through the expansion of joint Internet platforms, students of various faculties will be able to mutually interact with students at partner universities in the USA, Japan or China, and do so early in their Bachelor studies; that means, conducting research-orientated projects that are beyond borders. In the autumn of 2016, Göttingen University will be hosting an international conference on this topic. The mission of the meeting is to present and debate best-practice examples for the internationalisation of curricula and teaching and to determine how they can be made to bear fruit for the University of Göttingen.

Contact address:
Professor Hiltraud Casper-Hehne
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Vice-President for International Affairs
Wilhelmsplatz 1, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 (0)551 39-13110