The Department of Business and Health is successful with a sustainable internationalization strategy. Around 60 guests from abroad came to Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences for the anniversary. Ten years of European Summer School was celebrated on 14th May. Ten years of successful exchange of students and teachers, who are mainly concerned with Europe and European cooperation. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schäfermeier, Vice President of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, on the occasion of welcoming the participants in the “International Week” at the university: “Today it is more important than ever to promote intercultural exchange and to get to know Europe with its institution, its values, and its future.”
220 students of economic sciences have participated in the six-week events so far. The first one started in May 2009. The young people come from the USA, Canada, and Mexico, Jordan, India, South Korea, France, Hungary, Finland, Turkey, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland, around 50 teachers from the partner universities have given lectures and conducted seminars. Prof. Dr. Riza Öztürk, one of the initiators and supervisors of the Summer School: “Together with our International Office, we have repeatedly put together an interesting study program including a cultural program with trips through Germany and the Netherlands.” The European Summer School has its “special place within the framework of the international activities of our university,” said Öztürk, saying it is “part of the sustainable internationalization strategy of the Department of Economics and Health”.
During the planning phase ten years ago, Öztürk, head of International Studies and Management (ISM) at the faculty, and his departmental colleague Prof. Dr. Rainer Lenz were on the way at the North American partner universities in order to concretize the idea of the Summer Schools. Result: “Our summer school was conceptually adapted so that the North American students had the opportunity to come to Germany,” says Lenz. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kohn was also involved as study program leader in ISM. For the successful participation, including written elaborations and exams, the students now receive 12 credits, which are recognized at the partner university.
It was clear that the summer school should offer main topics with a European dimension, namely “European Culture and Management” and “European Politics and Business”. Or concretely said, topics such as world economy and European integration, European politics, finances, and European trade as well as the sustainable economy. The theory is combined with practice and culture by taking tours of well-known companies and traveling in cities such as Frankfurt (stock exchange), Berlin (Bundestag) and Rotterdam (European Court of Justice). Prof. Dr. Carsten Doerfert, also responsible for the Summer School, adds: “For 10 years there has not been a single problem, and we have always received positive feedback from our evaluations.”
The realization of the Summer School is closely linked to IBSEN, the network of ten universities in Europe, North America, and Asia. The abbreviation stands for “International Business Studies Exchange Network”. It has existed for more than twenty years as a university cooperation that aims to stimulate greater exchange mobility among students, teachers, and staff. Among other things, some double-degree projects have been created, for example with Prague and Cagliari. Another pillar is cooperation on research and third-party funded projects in EU and DAAD tenders. The Department of Economics and Health is IBSEN’s founding member.
The IBSEN consortium used the organization for the International Week to present new developments and partner universities. Judith Peltz, the director of the International Office of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, presented funding opportunities in the context of the Erasmus +, Carol Steinhaus and Michel Labor spoke about the development of international teaching modules. Rainer Lenz gave a lecture on “Digital Transformation and Blockchain”.