The ERASMUS Mobility Program by the European Union is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year; on June 15th, 1987, the program was initiated in Brussels and has become a European success story. On June 22nd, 250 KIT employees, students and representatives from academia, business and politics, ERASMUS alumni and students from other universities celebrated this with an ERASMUS regional conference and an International Students Day at KIT.
Since the initiation of the program, ERASMUS has enabled more than 2.5 million students to study in a European country in order to carry out and expand their academic and personal horizons. As of 2007, ERASMUS was included in the new EU educational Framework Program the “Life Long Learning Program” (LLP). Since then, the program focuses not only on the exchange of students, but also promotes cooperation between European universities and the exchange of faculty and administrative staff. So far, about 250,000 teachers have used this program to go abroad.
However, ERASMUS was not only praised but also looked at critically during the conference. Participants were invited to two panel discussions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the program. The first discussion dealt with the question if the program was able to meet expectations regarding the quality of experience abroad in the light of the ever increasing number of students participating. Quantity or rather quality? During the vivid discussion it became clear that the quantity acts as a catalysator in favor of quality. The mission to allow as many students as possible to go abroad durin their studies forces universities to be more efficient regarding the organization of study plans, the recognition of achievements abroad and internationalization. The second panel discussion took a closer look at how a stay abroad could foster future careers. Representatives from business, career-centers and academia agreed that international professional experience which can be gained thorugh internships abroad do exactly that. However, it was underlined that internships abroad should at least take up 6 month.
Students were able to inform themselves at the International Students Day on courses of study or internships abroad in Europe and on current exchange options. Representatives from 10 KIT partner universities introduced their institution and their national higher education system. KIT-students freshly returned from a stay abroad shared their first-hand experiences at the so called regional tables.
The event's highlight was the 25th Jubilee ceremony with the celebratory speech, by Mr. Klaus von Trotha, former minister for Science, Research and Art of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. The film “1 year abroad” entertained the audience with a not entirely serious view of the ERASMUS program. Dr. Markus Symmank, the Head of the ERASMUS Mobility Department to the DAAD, showed how the life and career of one can be positively influenced by the program: many of the ERASMUS alumni are now successful in leadership positions in business thanks to their cross-cultural experience. During short statements several ERASMUS-players shared their personal experiences with the program. Prof. Quint, Professor for Electrotechnics at the University for Applied Sciences at Karlsruhe, talked about his positive experiences during the establishing of a ERASMUS-partnership with the Romanian University at Temesvar. Philipp Schäfer, a KIT-student, shared the most important moments of his stay at the Polytecnica Madrid in Spain. Dr. Katarzyna Schubert-Panecka is an example of someone who benefited from the ERASMUS exchange program. She is now working at KIT at ZAK and lives with her bi-national family in Germany.
The air balloon competition, in which all participants took part, was also a complete success. The International Students Office at KIT has already received six of the balloon cards back, some even from Bavaria. The winners will soon receive a small gift by mail, and even those who have returned the card will not go away empty-handed.
Below you will find information and impressions from the event:
- das Programm (as of 19/06/2012)
- Photo Gallery
- Film "1 Year Abroad (in German)"
- Dutch humanist with 6 letters- Post at Radio KIT on 21/06/2012 with Ms. Morlock-Scherm, Institutional ERASMUS coordinator at KIT (in German)
- Fear of the lost semester – BA students rarely go abroad – Campus Report of 26/06/2012 with Mr. Niessen, Head of the International Students Office at KIT (in German)
- Speech given by Klaus von Trotha (in German)
For inquiries about the event please contact: Andrea Morlock-Scherm – Phone: +49.721.608.44911 – eMail: erasmusconference∂intl.kit.edu
DAAD is available for inquiries: Kerstin Tanović – Kennedyallee 50 – 53175 Bonn – Phone: +49.228.882.8684 – Fax: +49.228.882.555 – eMail: tanovic∂daad.de