Winter School in Mexiko 2019 – ein kurzes Interview mit Prof. Dr. Rune Ellemose Gulev

Im vergangenen Februar hat sich wieder eine Truppe Kieler Studierender aufgemacht, um zwei Wochen lang im mexikanischen Puebla zu leben, zu studieren und ganz neue Erfahrungen zu sammeln. Begleitet wurden sie dabei von Prof. Dr. Tobias Specker, Mamak Mehrvar, M.A., Prof. Dr. Sönke Schmidt und Prof. Dr. Rune Ellemose Gulev, Professor für Internationale BWL an unserem Fachbereich.

1. Rune, could you please tell us briefly what a winter school is?

A winter school (or summer school) is an intense international program that typically lasts about two weeks during the non-teaching time. It is an excellent opportunity for students to earn ECTS outside the regular teaching time while broadening their horizons in ways that would not occur domestically.

2. What were your main activities there?

Besides the academic teaching (altogether four courses were taught with teachers from Germany and Mexico), students got to experience company visits to VW, Thyssenkrupp and Audi. There were also multiple cultural excursions to the pyramids and other noteworthy Mexican sites.

3. What impressed you the most?

The magic and chemistry that happens when young intelligent people from different nations meet in comfortable academic environments. The learning that happens, both directly and indirectly, about how things can be done differently is amazing to experience each time. I particularly experience joy when students say things like “I had never thought about that” or “I thought we were world champions in that – but they do it better”. Stereotypes and preconceptions get busted and a more realistic and complete impression of the world takes place. Also, it must be mentioned that the local volcano is very loyal: every time we are there it honours us with a smoke show. This is truly fascinating to observe.

4. What do the students think of opportunities like this? Did you receive any feedback?

Student feedback continues to be very positive which is very rewarding because, although it is joyous work, it is also hard to organize and implement a winter school. That they like it so much is great. The main benefits for students that they typically voice is that they had a great time, learned interesting content that they otherwise would not have been able to, and got to know many new interesting people while broadening their horizons. It is an exhausting program with many activities, but when it is over no one wants it to stop.

5. Are there any other winter or summer schools planned students can still apply for?

The next intensive international program is the Winter school taking place in China in September 2019. With the excellent work from our colleagues from the department of mechanical engineering (Prof. Dr. Tobias Specker, Mamak Mehrvar, M.A., Prof. Dr. Sönke Schmidt) and the cooperation with the DHIK (Deutsche Hochschule Internationale Kooperation) I hope that more intensive international programs will be in the pipeline.

6. Are short international intensive programs like this good to keep investing time and resources in?

I think short international intensive programs like this will continue to increase in popularity. Many students would like to use the non-teaching time productively and harvest a few more ECTS that they may have fallen behind on during their regular study program. As such, summer and winter schools can be seen as a vehicle to help students graduate within the time frame their studies should take. Further, typically these intensive programs offer something special, be it unusually interesting lectures with a specific focus, and/or excursions to companies that operate in the region. Add to this, the fun of celebrating cultural diversity and experiencing new living ways, intensive international programs that award ECTS are truly rewarding on all fronts.

I would like to see them being offered with greater frequency so that more of our students can enjoy participating in them. Also, I hope that in the future funding for such programs increases so that all students, regardless of financial situations, can participate. This would be of real benefit to all our students.

Die Winter School in Puebla hat bereits erfolgreich 2018 (trotz Vulkanausbruch und Erdbeben) stattgefunden. Hier geht es zum Artikel:

Text: Janna Lynn Schröder
Photos: Professor Dr. Rune Gulev
(published: 09.07.2019)