The Göttingen Model

The pandemic with its travel restrictions has made us sorely miss traveling, but has equally highlighted the need for cooperation across borders. At many universities, interest in Internationalisation at Home measures has therefore increased sharply in recent years, and at the University of Göttingen, too, we have seen a significant increase in digital forms of international exchange - virtual exchange and joint classrooms - during the "Corona semesters". On the way out of the pandemic, considerations of sustainability now also reinforce the University's ongoing interest in internationalising its curricula.

In addition to promoting international mobility, the university has been striving for several years to open up possibilities for students to gain sound knowledge of specialised issues that have international connections, in conjunction with the content of their study subject, and to learn to incorporate a variety of perspectives in their academic activities, regardless of whether they spend time abroad.

Internationalisation of the Curricula is not (just) about expanding opportunities to learn English. Instead, the aim is for teaching to allow for intercultural activities or taking a global perspective on content or methods. – The possibilities are endless. In line with the Mission statement for Teaching and Learning Integration of an international and intercultural dimension and a global perspective in study contents opens up broader viewpoints on complex topics. It can also help to cast an entirely new light on the seemingly familiar, and question it critically.

This strengthens the networking of students with international partner institutions and promotes cooperation between Göttingen students and visiting students during the specialised teaching process. This gives students the opportunity to contribute their own wide-ranging knowledge, experience and abilities. The international perspectives of Göttingen teachers and cooperation with colleagues from abroad expands the spectrum of theories and methods available in teaching. Students are encouraged to become part of an international academic community from an early stage of their studies.

Well before the pandemic, digitisation has been playing an important part in this, by networking the University of Göttingen with international strategic partners. In video and web conferences, and in shared virtual workspaces, teachers and students communicate in the (specialist) foreign language and collaborate closely in research-oriented or challenge-based projects. Together with guest teachers and professionals from international companies, Göttingen teachers further develop existing courses, devise new learning opportunities and create digital teaching materials that are used in different contexts to ensure the long-term internationalisation of teaching and purposefully enrich in-person teaching. International partners expand the existing learning opportunities and offer insight into current international research projects or local aspects. Through impulse lectures, interviews and supporting material, students gain impressions of studying at partner universities and learn about everyday life and the conventions of academic practice in other countries.

In (further) developing learning opportunities with an international orientation and embedding them in the curriculum, academics may draw on key areas in the concepts of the degree programmes. Internationalisation of the Curricula is thus compatible with existing key areas of teaching in Göttingen, such as research-oriented teaching and learning, diversity, sustainability, and civic engagement.