Exciting reports of our students’ experiences during their time abroad.
International exchange is important at all levels: Our students gain insights into everyday (study) life, academic work, and teaching. In addition, they make valuable personal and professional contacts. For the regular exchange of experiences between universities and students, we organise an extensive programme of cultural, business, and educational events.
Eva Kugel, a student in the Bachelor's degree programme in Business Psychology, completed an Erasmus+ internship in Amsterdam at ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
My name is Eva Kugel, I'm 23 years old and I'm studying Business Psychology in the Bachelor's programme at SRH Distance Learning University.
Since I wanted to get to know corporate cultures abroad, I decided to do an internship abroad. The international company ZF Friedrichshafen AG has a small location with 32 employees in Amsterdam. Since I had already worked for the automotive supplier in Friedrichshafen and I love the Netherlands, I decided to apply for an internship in the HR department there. After I was accepted, I applied to SRH DLU for an Erasmus+ grant, which I luckily received. Erasmus+ supports students who do an internship or semester abroad in Europe - a great support!
My accommodation is a student hostel, where I immediately made friends. Many other students or graduates who are also doing an internship abroad live here.
I received a warm welcome at work and was well trained in the first few days. Now I am involved in various HR projects and operational HR activities. My activities range from the creation of a company car scheme to personnel development measures, country harmonisation issues, payroll accounting and recruitment measures. Because the location in Amsterdam and therefore also the HR department is very small, the topics are very varied.
In my free time I explore Amsterdam, museums, windmills, nature, beaches, and surrounding cities. Amsterdam is a cycling city, which is beautiful in good weather, but also has its charm when it rains. The countless restaurants, bars and beautiful parks in the centre invite you to linger after work or at the weekend.
So far, I am really enjoying my time in Amsterdam and look forward to the remaining time.
Wiebke Timm, a student of the Bachelor's degree programme in Business Administration and Management, completed an Erasmus+ internship in Krakow at UPM.
I am Wiebke Timm, 23 years old, and I am studying the Bachelor's distance learning programme "Business Administration and Management" at SRH Distance Learning University. Since I chose International Management as my specialisation, I think it's important to gain experience abroad. Therefore, I decided to do an internship in an international company abroad.
After a few weeks of research, I became aware of the Finnish company UPM. UPM specialises in the production of wood and wood pulp products and pays special attention to sustainability and the protection of the environment. The company has a large HR service centre in Krakow, Poland. As I am particularly interested in HR and project management and wanted to work in an international environment, it was clear to me that I wanted to apply for an internship there.
When I was accepted after two interviews, I immediately started planning. Since I had often heard about Erasmus+, I enquired at SRH Distance Learning University about this funding opportunity. The Erasmus+ programme supports students who are doing an internship or semester abroad within Europe. The aim is to financially support the students in their language education and everyday life in the foreign country.
The first weeks of my internship in Krakow are now over. Since my internship company provided me with a room in a flat for the entire internship, I had an easy start and didn't have to worry about accommodation. In addition, with my flatmate from Estonia, I had someone to explore everything right away.
The first days at work comprised many administrative tasks. But the first training sessions on the computer programmes and daily tasks were also on the schedule. This gave me an immediate overview of the tasks that I would have to do during my internship.
The HR Service Centre is divided into different country teams, Finland and Germany being the largest. Within the teams, there is a further subdivision into different areas of responsibility. I am responsible for the German training team and organise several trainings and seminars for our company locations in Germany.
So far, I like my internship at UPM very much as I was immediately welcomed by everyone. When I have questions, someone is always there for me. The city of Krakow is also beautiful as the old buildings in the old town with small streets and lots of small bars and restaurants make you feel like you've stepped back in time.
At weekends, I spend a lot of time in the surrounding nature, because with 23°C and sunshine in October, it's definitely worth enjoying the sun before winter comes. But the city also offers plenty of entertainment in the evenings. From cabaret to concerts, everything is on offer. Krakow is especially known for its many jazz bars with live music, which makes me particularly happy as a saxophonist.
Carolin Matusch, a student on the Master’s programme in Finance, Accounting, Controlling & Taxation, completed a virtual exchange programme at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.
Having already embarked on my career, there is no way I would have been able to pursue an on-campus degree programme. This is why SRH appealed to me so much. It was a great opportunity for me to be able to do my Master’s at the same time as holding down a full-time job. And so I started studying Finance, Accounting, Controlling & Taxation in July 2018.
In November 2018, I then saw an announcement about the virtual exchange programme with TEC in Monterrey. It was something I simply had to do, so I soon decided to apply for a place on the exchange programme. We had to choose one of three courses (Human Capital Management, Dynamic Modelling Systems or Strategic Alliances and Redesigning Processes). All three courses were described in detail on the TEC website; I opted for Dynamic Modelling Systems. After receiving positive feedback on my application and being enrolled in my chosen course, I was particularly intrigued to see what it would be like to study virtually.
The course started in January 2019. Before it began, I had checked out the TEC website to see what the course entailed and what literature I needed. After having received the login details for the course and the virtual learning environment directly from TEC, I was very positively surprised by the system’s clarity and intuitive operation. Everything was clearly arranged, and you knew immediately where to find whatever you were looking for. This was also helped by a blackboard where the course leaders posted our tasks for the week, plus links to the tasks. The first tasks involved a tutorial on how to use the virtual learning environment, and all of the participants introduced themselves. These introductions were then posted on the course blog, so we could get a picture of all the participants (from Japan to Costa Rica). The entire course participants were then divided into teams of 4 to 5 people. These teams remained the same right through to the end of the course, and so we set up a WhatsApp group that I was then able to use – also with a 7-hour time difference – to work on group tasks with my fellow students in Mexico and Costa Rica.
The course ran until the end of March, and we had to solve assignments every week as well as work through sections of the required literature. In addition, there were videos summarising each section of the module. For one thing, we had to complete multiple choice tests on our own. But we also had to do group work (issues related to the individual topics), as well as a joint final project. My group decided to tackle a problem presented by a fellow student from Costa Rica. It was about the inefficient handling of public tenders in her company. To solve this problem, we devised a solution using dynamic modelling systems. The assignments were then submitted online and assessed by our professors. What is more, our professors always gave us very helpful feedback on each assignment.
Those three months were really tiring, but also very interesting. I was introduced to a completely new system, which will help me beyond my studies. The contact I enjoyed with my fellow students and course leaders was indescribable. Everyone was so open and friendly to me, and they were always there to help me whenever I had any questions. This experience also showed me that you can work very efficiently on a project despite being miles always and having a time difference, and that cross-continental communication is possible.
… and just like that, I was able to experience another culture after work. I would definitely do it again some time!
Jenny Fischer, a student on the Master’s programme in Media and Communication Management, spent a four-month semester abroad in Lithuania.
I had already spent half a year in Slovenia from March to August 2017, working at a Goethe-Institut. I enjoyed a wonderful summer in a country that was completely new to me. At that time, I was able to simply transfer my courses and continue studying in a very flexible way. Due to my previous good experience, I decided in early 2018 to apply for a semester abroad in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius – and it wasn’t long before I received my acceptance letter.
I studied at Vilniaus Gedimino Technikos Universitetas (VGTU) from September 2018 to January 2019. Since I had already reached the end of my Master’s degree, I was able to take my last business courses there, and also started to do some research for my thesis. On top of that, I took a Lithuanian course at university, which was a great help to me in managing my everyday life.
I deliberately chose Lithuania because I felt I knew very little about this small Baltic state. My feelings were confirmed: I arrived in a city full of life, where fried bread and craft beer go hand in hand. Where people are gruff yet very affectionate. A city resplendent with baroque architecture, Catholic churches and trolley buses. Where you can find nice cafés with unbelievably good cakes on every corner.
I am very grateful to have been able to spend my Erasmus semester in Vilnius, meeting fellow students from all sorts of countries. Thanks to the International Office and the super administration at The SRH Distance Learning University, everything was really well organised.
Vera Schulte, a student on the distance learning Bachelor’s programme in Media and Communication Management, spent a four-month semester abroad in Indonesia.
After The SRH Distance Learning University gave me the opportunity to spend a week studying abroad at the University of Barcelona in the summer of 2017, I became more and more interested in spending an extended period abroad. Thanks to my university, it was also possible for me – as a student of a distance learning university – to achieve my goal and complete part of my degree at a university abroad.
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to spend time in Asia. And so in March 2018, my journey took me to Indonesia for four months, or to be more precise, to the “Island of Gods and Demons”, where I completed my marketing modules at Universitas Udayana. During my studies at the Balinese university, I attended lectures on International Marketing, Brands and Brand Equity, and Developing and Managing Channels of Distribution. In addition, I learned about the economy of Asia in further lectures and acquired a basic knowledge of Indonesian.
Besides acquiring theoretical knowledge, my semester abroad also gave me the unique opportunity to get to know a beautiful country with caring and helpful people, and to immerse myself in a fascinating culture full of demons and gods. During field trips, we learned about the different Hindu Dharma temples and their rituals and ceremonies. These included purification in the holy springs of the Pura Tirta Empul water temple and daily offerings to the gods, which involved placing bowls of flowers, incense sticks, water and sweets in the entrances of houses. In those four months, I got to know more about the typical life and mentality of the Balinese people. Above all, their positive attitude, laidbackness and continual satisfaction made a lasting impression on me.
My stay abroad was one of the most exciting and enjoyable times I ever had, enabling me to gain valuable experience and discover a country in all its diversity – off the beaten track. Even though I did not spend my semester abroad at a partner university, The SRH Distance Learning University supported me by recognising my academic achievements.
From 16 to 20 July 2018, 22 students from SRH Fernhochschule – The Distance Learning University took part in an international seminar at the University of Barcelona. Students from Spain, Mexico, Paraguay and Switzerland also participated in the seminar.
During the seminar entitled “Barcelona Marketing & Business Models”, the students addressed contemporary issues and challenges in the field of marketing, which is currently undergoing a revolution, especially due to technological change. Current practice-oriented examples and developments were introduced by renowned marketing experts and leaders of well-known companies such as Seat, Roca and Matell within exciting interactive contributions. Building on this, small groups of students developed business models and marketing concepts based on case studies. Emphasis was placed on the development of innovative marketing concepts under the influence of new technologies and ongoing digitalisation. The academic programme was complemented by a guided tour of Barcelona, a visit to the Hospital de Sant Pau, a workshop at the Chocolate Museum and a group dinner.
Lisa Wanninger and a few of her fellow students visited Saratov, Russia, in April. Read here to find out what experiences and impressions they brought home with them from the Summer School.
The programme was second to none – from the warm welcome at the airport, to the professional organisation and perfect coordination of the planned activities, to the transport back to the airport, where we boarded the plane with some sadness. My expectations (and I think I can speak for all SRH students here) were greatly exceeded. On the one hand, because we were able to develop real friendships in this short time and, on the other hand, because we gained all kinds of different impressions and acquired expertise in Russia, which we were able to take home with us. Apart from my personal cultural highlight – an excursion to Volgograd/Stalingrad – we had the opportunity to get to know the city of Saratov and its various sights after completing our daily programme at the university. This was particularly interesting because Russian students accompanied us, giving us insider tips for sightseeing, local food, shopping, and all sorts of things. We gained in-depth insights into the Russian economic system, also involving visits to companies and banks (Bosch, “Maria” Furniture Factory, Business Incubator, Agricultural Bank, etc.). We were able to identify in practice within the organisations the knowledge we had acquired in theory.
In the course of the programme, we also developed specific projects in international teams, which were presented and assessed at the end of the programme. The programme was rounded off in style with a group meal, and we sadly took leave of our new Russian friends. In a nutshell, it was a wonderful and interesting experience that has had a great impact on me personally and professionally. In addition, the international exchange I experienced will help me to better understand global interrelationships in change processes in the future. I would like to mention at this point that the organisation at SRH Fernhochschule – The Distance Learning University, led by Mr Beditsch, is absolutely praiseworthy, and I am most grateful for this, too.
"My fellow students and I had an enjoyable and rewarding stay in Saratov. I would also like to thank the SRH Distance Learning University for giving me the opportunity to visit Russia. THANK YOU!"
Marco Keller, a student of Business Psychology & Change Management (M.Sc.), completed a five-month internship in London.
My studies sparked my interest in gaining personal experience in an international megacity and in gaining my own impression of a place rather than just focusing on the literature and discussions. Given my strong interest in the financial sector, I soon discovered that London was the right European city for me. My decision and the preparatory work involved were made much easier by Erasmus+ funding and the support provided by our university, which was not just of a monetary nature, but also included language courses and other organisational support.
Thanks to my years of professional experience, I was entrusted with tasks that I would not have been assigned otherwise, which meant that I was able to gain deeper insights. My tasks and my internship not only gave me insights into the different industries, the business location of London and the range of tasks involved in management consultancy – I was also able to make international contacts. From the very beginning, my internship company integrated me into the team and supported me, which allowed me to get to know London and the culture after work, too.
I spent a total of five months in London. I was unwilling to sacrifice time from my degree programme for my stay abroad, and I wanted to use my experience and contacts from London for my final thesis, which I am still benefiting from. I therefore decided against taking a leave of absence, and instead completed my last examination in London, as well as starting my final thesis. Our university supported me greatly in this respect. I was able to take my last examination in London, without any difficulties. Also, the communication and organisation side of things worked well, even though I was studying abroad.
My stay abroad was, and continues to be, a positive milestone in my life. It enabled me to gain interesting and valuable experience, as well as making new personal and professional contacts.
From 17 to 21 July 2017, 25 students from SRH Fernhochschule – The Distance Learning University took part in an international seminar at the University of Barcelona. During the seminar entitled “Barcelona Marketing & Business Models”, the students from Brazil, Belgium, Spain, the Czech Republic and Germany addressed contemporary issues and challenges in the field of marketing, which is currently undergoing a revolution, especially due to technological change. Current practice-oriented examples and developments were introduced by renowned marketing experts within exciting interactive contributions. Building on this, small groups of students developed business models and marketing concepts based on case studies. Emphasis was placed on the development of innovative marketing concepts under the influence of new technologies and ongoing digitalisation.
The academic programme was complemented by a guided tour of Barcelona, a visit to the Sagrada Familia, a workshop at the Chocolate Museum and a group dinner.
Robert Glaser, a student of Business and Management (B.A.), completed a four-month internship in London.
I have always been attracted to the idea of going to live abroad – even if only for a few months. In spring 2016, the time had come for me to leave and – like so many others before me – I embraced the call of freedom. My aim was to do an internship at a PR agency in the financial services sector in the cosmopolitan city of London. Where better to do an internship than in the financial hub on the Thames?
As a qualified banker and a student of Business and Management, with Banking & Finance as my special field, my stay abroad gave me a good opportunity to gain further professional experience in this field – combined with the goal of perfecting my specialist knowledge of English.
Being an avid football fan, however, there were also other aspects that played a role in my decision to go to England, the motherland of football. Watching the European Championship in several pubs was an especially amazing experience. And despite it being the “Brexit era”, with many conflicts and demonstrations, especially in London, I was able to make close friends from all over Europe – a real enrichment for the European idea and our peaceful coexistence.
The SRH Distance Learning University gave me tremendous support during my stay abroad – not only organisationally, but also financially through the Erasmus+ programme. As a result, I also managed to find time to study in addition to doing my internship. Finally, it is such a good experience that I would strongly recommend it to anyone.
International exchange is important at all levels: it enables you to gain insights into everyday life (at university), scientific work, and teaching. On top of that, you have the opportunity of establishing valuable personal and professional contacts. To facilitate the regular exchange of experience among universities and students, we organise an extensive programme of cultural, business and educational events.
So far, the cooperation, sealed in autumn 2013, has focused primarily on student exchange between the two universities in Germany and Russia. Since then, students from both universities have regularly contributed to multi-week international seminars, enabling them to gain valuable insights into the culture and economy of the respective host country.
In early December 2015, Prof Sergey Y. Naumov, Director of Saratov State Socio-Economic University, took advantage of his trip to Germany to pay us a visit. The two partners expressed their desire to intensify cooperation between our two universities. In the future, academic exchange will no longer be limited to students – it will be opened up to enable lecturers and external lectures to benefit as well.
Antonio Crego, Professor of Psychology and Health from the Spanish partner university UDIMA, spent two weeks at our university in the summer of 2015 within the ERASMUS+ programme. This programme – best known for promoting student mobility – also gives lecturers the opportunity to participate in academic exchange at a partner university.
Prof Crego attended face-to-face classes on the Master’s programme in Health Care Management at our Study Centre in Stuttgart – a novelty for the Spanish professor in the context of distance learning, given that the Spanish Open University (UDIMA) programme does not encompass on-campus classes. Together with Prof Dr Ahmed A. Karim, he visited the University Hospital for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Tübingen. In a meeting at our administrative headquarters in Riedlingen, emphasis was placed on sharing experiences with lecturers and staff with regard to the distance learning concept.
In late March, a multi-day seminar on “Social Media in International Marketing” was held at our university. In addition to Indian students from Kannur and our own students, a group of Master’s students from Saratov State Socio-Economic University also contributed to the international exchange. The seminar also featured lectures and workshops, including presentations.
Prof Dr Uzhunnan Faisal from India and Dr Elena Lugovaya, who is responsible for International Relations at the Russian university, spoke about marketing in their respective countries. In addition, our professors gave lectures on “International Management in Disruptive Markets” and led workshops on “Social Media Communication in an International Setting”. The Russian students were also given a tour of the headquarters of the SAP SE software company in Walldorf.
In March 2015, Prof Dr Uzhunnan Faisal visited Riedlingen with a delegation of Indian students. During their two-week visit, the group enjoyed an extensive programme of cultural, economic and educational activities. Plant and factory visits to the companies Feinguss Blank, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma and the Liebherr plant in Biberach offered our guests an insight into German economic structures. The programme also included visits to educational and healthcare facilities, and to the SRH Clinics in the rural district of Sigmaringen.
In the second week, the Indian students attended a multi-day seminar on “Social Media in International Marketing”. Both our international guests and the seminar participants from our university benefit in many ways from this academic exchange.