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A regular gathering for the alma mater

Lennart Hesse establishes personal contacts with former University of Freiburg students in Spain

Freiburg, Jan 09, 2019

A regular gathering for the alma mater

Photo: Thomas Kunz

Building bridges, nurturing networks, sharing information and contacts: Alumni ambassadors ensure a connection with former students. The University of Freiburg and Alumni Freiburg e.V. connect their members worldwide through clubs and, most recently, through alumni ambassadors. Lennart Hesse is the first emissary of this sort. After graduating from University College Freiburg, he has been living and working in Valencia/Spain since September 2017. As an alumni ambassador, he gives his university a face abroad. Alice Tátrai-Gruda spoke with him about his tasks and experiences.

Through the alumni work of the University of Freiburg, people around the world can stay in touch with their alma mater. Photo: Thomas Kunz

Mr. Hesse, how to you become an alumni ambassador?

Lennart Hesse: I studied liberal arts and sciences at University College Freiburg at the University of Freiburg. It was a fabulous experience. During my time in college, I worked as a student assistant in the rector’s office. Because I wanted to continue my studies in Spain, but still wanted to maintain a connection to Freiburg, I became a member of the alumni association. Rudolf-Werner Dreier, the managing director of Alumni Freiburg, approached me with an offer to represent the University abroad. Since spring 2018, I have been an alumni ambassador in Valencia,Spain, where I work at an IT company.

What are your areas of responsibility as alumni ambassador?

For one, I am the contact person for students or graduates of the University of Freiburg who would like to study, research or work in Spain. Since I live in Spain, I can provide assistance and information about the local university landscape, the job market and the Erasmus programs. For another, I seek to support Spaniards who would like to study abroad at the University of Freiburg. I am also setting up an alumni network in Spain. And of course I am also representing the University of Freiburg. In June 2018, I took part in a conference at the German Embassy in Madrid. Many representatives of Spanish universities and German companies were present. It was a very nice experience to meet the German ambassador and to be able to say: “I represent the University of Freiburg.”

Representation and networking: Lennart Hesse is the University of Freiburg’s first alumni ambassador. Photo: Ivan San Ramón

Many graduates move away after college and do not maintain contact with their alma mater. Why did you decide to keep in such avid contact with yours?

The University and my studies in general have given me so much. That is why I am so connected to the University of Freiburg. In addition, I was already in close contact with the University through my student job in the rectorate that I wanted to maintain. I just wanted to know what was happening at the University and to be a part of this new project.

What happens in particular when graduates from the same university meet?

I recently met a University of Freiburg grad. He was running a marathon in Valencia so he got in touch with me. So we met, and I showed him the beautiful city. It came about because we had something in common, which was our studies at the University of Freiburg. I am always happy whenever I meet someone who has studied in Freiburg because it creates an automatic connection. For me, meeting other alumnae and alumni and finding out what they are doing and where they ended up after graduation are great experiences.

What are your future goals as alumni ambassador?

I am looking for alumni who would like to build up the network in Spain and who would also like to be ambassadors. Basically, we are all ambassadors as graduates of the University of Freiburg. But my idea is to form a circle, a regulars' table, which fully addresses this task and cultivates the network. The first official meeting of all Freiburg alumni in Spain is planned for spring 2019 in Madrid.


Alumni Freiburg e. V.