Action conference of Bread for the World
“Internationalization of German Universities?! Claim – Reality – Perspective”
How internationally oriented are the German universities actually? What goes beyond a nice image? And how are international students integrated into the transformation of the universities in the country? These questions were addressed at the four-day action conference of Bread for the World in early April. The largely international audience took a critical look at the German university landscape, and it became apparent already after the introductory keynote that particular the perspective of students and researchers from the Global South is not taken into account in the internationalization strategies of German universities – still! The reasons for this are many.
One of them, for example, is that internationalization simply serves as a showpiece. While individual study programmes are – mostly – translated into English and opened for foreign students, the content taught and the teachers themselves still come from Germany or European countries. How can this be overcome? The conference participants addressed this problem and associated topics divided into four workings groups. The network n was allowed to be part of a working group on transformative universities on one day and had to answer to precisely these opening questions in a short input about our work. For a look at ourselves quickly made apparent that most of our members and active participants are German-speaking students.
In a subsequent discussion, we pursued the questions why foreign students who – in contrast to exchange students – study in a study programme established at German universities see few opportunities to contribute to contribute to their university on a volunteer basis. And what initiatives at universities or organizations such as the network n could improve in this regard. So what we take with us is criticism and suggestions about our own way of working and organizational structure and the concrete task to take a fresh critical look at them.
A guest contribution by Rebecca Geyer