A European Summer School in times of Corona? Students from all over the world, practical projects and internationality in teaching? Seems impossible but is not - as the business department demonstrated from May 10th to 28th with its digitally organized offer on the subject of "Business in Europe". The decision in favor of the digital format was made last autumn and Barbara Lawatzki from the International Office took care of the marketing. 21 students from Canada, the USA, India and from the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences took part. The three-week program consisted of zoom lectures, for which six teachers from five countries were recruited. The partner universities from the Faculty of Business’ IBSEN network from the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands were also represented. "It pays off that we have such good contacts with the premium partner universities," says Nermin Köklüce, who coordinates international activities in the department. In addition to the courses, "highlights" were placed every week, such as a virtual tour of the Schüco factory, a virtual lecture by the European Central Bank or a conversation with Wiebke Esdar, Member of the German Parliament from Bielefeld. Also, a lot of work was invested by the students into a market survey, that was carried out in collaboration with the Miele company. Professor Carsten Doerfert, who was responsible for the summer school as scientific director, was impressed: "Our practice partners at Miele were thrilled by the mixed team presentations and have announced that they will take the presentation results with them to the next strategy meeting". To include a "social component" to the program, several helpful resident students from Bielefeld were available as "buddies" for the participants and Uta Kentzler advised on the preparation of the presentations as a competency coach.
After three weeks of regular contact and collaboration, the students had a hard time saying goodbye: “We would have liked to have had lectures with you for one more week.” While the organizational team was holding its farewell speech, the students spontaneously formed a Facebook group using the chat function at Zoom so they can stay in contact and maybe actually get to know each other personally in the future.
"My heartfelt thanks go to all those involved" said Dean Professor Riza Öztürk, "internationalization is an important profile module of our department and the university and the digital summer school made an important contribution to this in 2021."