Excellent Ambassadors of the RegionTraveling the world for East Württemberg
International students are now traveling around the world as ambassadors for the region East Württemberg. They were recently distinguished as honorary ambassadors.
Through various integration measures, the universities in Aalen, Heidenheim and Schwäbisch Gmünd develop exchange students into ambassadors of the region. The training is a collaborative project of the Regional Economic Development Corporation in Ostwürttemberg (WiRO) with the international offices of Aalen University, DHBW Heidenheim, University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd and University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd. As a result of the industrial campaign, “Ostwürttemberg is Exciting”, the project is also supported by the districts, district capitals as well as the business networks and organisations.
Nearly 900 international students from the four public universities of East Württemberg present great potential as professionals for the numerous internationally active companies in the region. Many exchange students appreciate East Württemberg for its job opportunities, intercultural climate and a distinct welcoming culture. Oftentimes, they decide to start their careers at one of the local companies.
Any international students who decide to return home after their study abroad can still contribute to the development of East Württemberg in a meaningful way: as an honorary ambassador of the region. The students can share their experiences of the culture, free time and sports in the area, as well as knowledge about the strong economy, job opportunities and careers. It could also well be that they decide to work for a company in East Württemberg later.
The ambassador-program is based on the knowledge that international students need to be integrated into their new learning and living environment as quickly as possible and, above all, feel comfortable to successfully study. International students can integrate much quicker with various activities, because they have opportunities to meet with people from the region. When they learn to appreciate their learning and living environment, there is a simultaneous deeper connection – which in turn prepares them for their task as ambassadors for the East Württemberg region. Students collect stamps, like in a real passport, when they participate in activities at the universities, the cities and region. Whoever brings enough proof of these activities receives a certificate as an honorary ambassador, given during a celebration by the District Chief Executive.
The programme has been running since 2017. Since then, a total of 26 international students from Argentina, Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Croatia, Columbia, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the USA have fulfilled the requirements of the certificate. Dr. Ursula Bilger, managing director of WiRO and the representatives of the International Offices awarded certificates to international students once again. “This programme was very rewarding for my personal experiences in East Württemberg”, exclaims Argentinian exchange student, Gianfranco Feliziani, at the ceremony.
More information can be found at the project website of the international offices of the universities.
Photo credit: © Aalen University / Pascal Cromm