21. September 2022 | Magazine:

The adventure of studying abroad New support programme for international students

The Winter Semester 2022/2023 is just around the corner. At Technische Universität Braunschweig, we will once again welcome many new international students who will either come to Braunschweig for an exchange semester or spend their entire studies here. To ensure that the adventure of studying abroad will be a great one, we have developed a new International Student Support programme.

Together with many other facilities and projects at TU Braunschweig as well as student initiatives, Marilena Zitka, Coordinator International Student Support at the International House, and her colleagues have put together a varied programme: “In the last two semesters, the pandemic put relatively tight limits on what we could offer,” says Zitka. “We are very pleased that we can now get started with both a Welcome Week on campus and our new semester programme.” The aim is to provide students with adequate support when they start their studies and to help ensure that they are successful in their studies in the long term.

Marilena Zitka, Coordinator International Student Support, holding a sign saying “Welcome to TU Braunschweig” in front of the Historic Main Building.

Marilena Zitka, Coordinator International Student Support, extends a warm welcome to all international students. Picture credits: Simone Fürst/TU Braunschweig

The new International Student Support programme is made up of four pillars: “START” with offers to help students get started, “CONNECT” with networking events and opportunities to get to know each other, the excursion programme “DISCOVER”, and the language course and workshop programme “PRACTISE”. In addition, there will be comprehensive advisory and information services.

Advice is key

The advisory services provided by the Incoming Office and the Mobility Office at the International House, but also by others involved, play a central role in supporting international students, Marilena Zitka explains: “The challenges international students face are great, especially at the beginning of their studies, but many questions also arise later on. With our advisory services, we want to help identify needs and difficulties early on and find solutions together.” Students can seek initial counselling at the Student Service Centre or approach the counsellors at the International House directly.

“Start”: Programme for a successful start of studies

A group of students is standing in front of the old main building of TU Braunschweig for a photo.

Students from all over the world study at TU Braunschweig. The International Student Support programme provides them with assistance for the start of their studies and also contributes to their academic success in the long term. Photo: Simone Fürst/TU Braunschweig.

To make sure that international first-year students enjoy the start of their studies, the focus of the programme is on the first few weeks of the semester. During the Welcome Week for international students from 17 to 21 October, students are offered a particularly comprehensive range of advisory services and can take part in numerous information events, workshops, city and campus tours as well as in an excursion (see info box). Already after being admitted, students have the opportunity to register for the Buddy Programme of the Erasmus Student Network Braunschweig (ESN). Local Buddies are on hand with help and advice to help international students get started in Braunschweig and answer any questions they may have about living and studying in Germany.

“Connect”: Getting to know fellow students

At Coffee and Lunch Breaks, first-year students can get into conversation with other international students and with the International Student Support team. In addition, the ESN invites students to many events each semester, such as bowling nights or pub crawls. For networking purposes, international students can also participate in the SCOUT programme of the Institute of Psychology, where they can form a tandem with local students who support them in their everyday life as well as in their studies.

“Discover”: Getting to know cities, companies and research institutions

A group of international students talking to a staff member during an excursion to a company.

The excursion programme lets international students get to know cities, research institutions and companies in the region. Photo: Hanna Schröder/TU Braunschweig

Since the Summer Semester of 2022, international students have already been able to take day trips to major German cities such as Hamburg and Berlin as well as to cities nearby such as Bad Harzburg or Göttingen during the “Discover” excursion series, which is organised and supervised by the International Student Support Team. In addition, students can establish contacts with potential employers during their studies on excursions to companies and research institutions.

“Practise”: Workshops and courses for personal development

There is also a new workshop programme for international students this semester. The offer includes topics such as time management, resilience and communication during studies. In addition, workshops are offered on important digital tools for everyday university life and on writing scientific papers. To further train their language and professional skills, international students can participate in the peer learning programme “S.o.S. (Studying without Language Barriers)”. Here they learn in small learning groups from and with German-speaking fellow students. The language courses offered by the Language Centre, which include German as a foreign language as well as twelve foreign languages at different levels, provide many other opportunities to improve personal language skills. Students of the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering can also take part in the tutorial programme “inTU”, which supports newly enrolled students at the start of their studies.

Text: Louisa Hering, Daniel Götjen / International House