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A Global Network

The “Day for International Teaching and Learning” shows how students and the university profit from ties everywhere

Freiburg, Mar 16, 2018

A Global Network

Photo: fotofabrika/Fotolia

Workshops, presentations and discussions on internationality: The “Day for International Teaching and Learning” on 9 April 2018 offers a program that’s chock-full. Students instructors and anyone who is interested are welcome.

Classes in Freiburg, seminars in Strasbourg, and an internship in Basel: At this point, European Campus students can choose among nine binational or trinational courses of study.
Photo: fotofabrika/Fotolia

Prof. Dr. Juliane Besters-Dilger has studied in Freiburg, Cologne and Grenoble. She was a visiting researcher in Moscow, Kiev, Oxford and Prague, and had a professorship in Vienna before she returned to the University of Freiburg. Since 2014, she has been Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Freiburg. The professor of Slavic linguistics is well acquainted with international activities and knows how valuable they are. Besters-Dilger says, “It's quite clear that internationality is the future of our university.” Networking with other universities and countries isn’t just a plan for the future, it's already happening. Take for example the “Day for International Teaching and Learning,” on 9 April 2018. Its program is chock-full of workshops, presentations and discussions on internationality.

Two diplomas

“Consider the “Regio Chimica” program of study that we’ve developed with the University of Upper Alsace in Mulhouse,” says Besters-Dilger. Studying is done in Freiburg and Mulhouse. Students take their courses in the local language. When they get their degrees, they have two diplomas, one which qualifies them for the French job market and the other for employers in Germany. “In the meantime we’ve set up nine of these binational or even trinational courses of study at the European Campus,” explains the Vice President for Academic Affairs. And at least that many again are being prepared. Five universities along the Upper Rhine are cooperating under the auspices of the European Campus, known as Eucor for short. These are Freiburg, Basel, Mulhouse, Strasbourg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.  “There aren’t any other German comprehensive universities in the current excellence competition that can demonstrate being involved in cooperation like this,” says Besters-Dilger. “It’s truly a unique selling point,” she adds.

“Internationalization is absolutely the right strategy for a small but geostrategically important subject like ours,” says Freiburg Islamic Studies researcher, Prof. Dr. Tim Epkenhans. Within Eucor, the University of Freiburg’s Oriental Seminar and the University of Basel are planning a two-year Master’s program in English called “History and Politics of the Modern Middle East.” Epkenhans enthusiastically explains, “It increases our visibility and makes us attractive for students in Egypt and Iran.”

“We’re international in many ways,” continues Dr. Ursula Glunk, Academic Director of the University College Freiburg (UCF). She will introduce UCF’s Bachelor’s course of study “Liberal Arts and Sciences” at the event in April. The program is oriented towards international models. The language of instruction is English but foreign students are nevertheless required to learn German in order to take part in university and city life.

“The aim of the course of study is to educate responsible global citizens who are able to think in networks and from many perspectives,” Glunk explains. “In addition, it’s important that our course content looks at different cultural perspectives that will be intensively discussed in class. The topics of oppression and civil rights, for example, form an element of the current course,” she elaborates. What is more, around 80 percent of UCF’s students take part in international exchange programs and many go abroad after they get their degrees.

A total of 40 percent of Freiburg students gather at least one semester of experience abroad during their studies – that’s seen as a rather high proportion. Besters-Dilger adds, “And fifteen percent of our students come from abroad. That's also a very good average and shows how highly regarded our university is in other countries,” she says.

Yet the Vice President for Academic Affairs says the figure for instructors could be higher, because teachers also need increased foreign experience when addressing questions such as how they can best teach a seminar made up of Chinese, Indian, Spanish and German students. Besters-Dilger well understands that can be a challenge especially for mid-level faculty. That’s why the “Day for International Teaching and Learning” will also provide information about continuing education and qualification programs that the university offers for instructors.

And what’s in it for the students? “International degrees make the job market bigger for them,” says Besters-Dilger, mentioning the soft skills that come with getting experience abroad. And the university benefits from it, too. “The exchange with other cultures of research and knowledge focuses and expands our own perspective and makes our offering even better and more attractive,” she says. “What it’s really all about,” she continues, “is if excellence is at all possible today without internationalization.”


Mathias Heybrock



The “Day for International Teaching and Learning” will take place on 9 April 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is oriented towards students, instructors and anyone who is interested. Registration online is possible until 25 March.

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