The German-Jordanian University celebrates its 15-year AnniversaryAalen University congratulates with a video message

Exchange relationships don’t only exist at the level for faculty and students, but also for administration – here at a visit with the GJU University President, Prof. Dr. Manar Fayyad (pictured center) in 2019. Antje Discher from the International Relations Office represented Aalen University.

Th, 18. March 2021

The German-Jordanian University (GJU) is celebrating its 15-year anniversary this year. Because personal contact to partner universities is not currently possible, Aalen University congratulated its longstanding partner university with a video message. The initiative to prepare videos as a „birthday present” from international partners goes back to the GJU-Project Office in Magdeburg. „These video messages should highlight the success, size, and extent of the binational university, and the transnational educational project, TNB. We are impressed with the ideas and wonderful messages, and are very pleased with our partners’ commitment,” explains GJU-project Coordinator, Dr. Monica Heitz.

Universities of Applied Sciences as a Model

With the founding of GJU in the year 2005, the Jordanian government reacted to the lacking practical education in the country. The founders thus took the German universities of applied sciences as a model. The curricula were developed with the help of German professors. To this day, German lecturers are included in the teaching faculty. A special feature of the GJU is an obligatory exchange year in Germany, which the students spend at one of 120 German partner universities for the first half. For the second half, students work an internship at a German company. The GJU is supported through the framework of the DAAD program in the area of Transnational Education (TNB) with funds from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), and is considered one of the flagship projects of the region.

Close Exchange with Aalen

Since 2008, Aalen University has been belonged to the GJU’s partner university network. This began through collaboration in the field of Industrial Engineering and was later expanded to the fields of International Business Studies, Business Information Systems, Mechatronics, and Mechanical Engineering. Around 120 Jordanian students have been guests to Aalen so far. Even the Corona pandemic did not disrupt the tradition of student exchanges. Seven GJU students traveled to Aalen for summer semester 2021, and eight more have completed their lecture semester at Aalen University and are now beginning their internship semester. „The experiences in Germany were the main reason why I applied for GJU. Now I’m in Germany for my second time and feel very comfortable here. All the faculty at Aalen University who I’ve had contact with are very friendly and helpful. That’s how you can deal with the difficulties of the Corona situation,” says Lubna Al-Hammouri. The young lady studies Industrial Engineering and arrived in Aalen three weeks ago. Many Jordanian students regularly visit lectures in the study program, Industrial Engineering. „They often benefit from the courses and projects offered in English, but also do very well in the German lectures too,“ explains Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur. German students also benefit from the collaboration with classmates from different countries and cultures.

Faculty and Administration Exchange

Aalen University and GJU do not only promote close exchange relationships at the student level. The contact between the lecturers and international offices of both universities is also an important and fruitful aspect of the partnership. In summer 2019, coordinator Stefanie Kirsch, as well as staff members from GJU and the German partner universities traveled to Aalen for an Industrial Engineering networking meeting. In November of the same year, Amman hosted the international conference ISME´19 (International Conference on Industrial, Systems and Manufacturing Engineering), which was organized by GJU in cooperation with the Jordanian Engineers Association. To strengthen the academic collaboration and the application-oriented exchanges with engineers in Jordan, Prof. Dr. Alice Kirchheim was also invited to hold a workshop about the opportunities and risks involved with the automation of logistical systems. „I was impressed by the amount of participation and was able to build up my network at the GJU,“ exclaims Kirchheim. „I hope for the future that more students from Aalen University take the opportunity to get to know the open and welcoming country, as well as its fascinating culture through a semester abroad,“ says Kirchheim.

The International Relations Office (IRO) voiced the same hopes, after taking care of the students from Amman and supporting them in searching for internships for several years. „We wish all the best for the German-Jordanian University’s future and successful further developments. We look forward to continuing exchange and collaborative projects of all kinds,“ emphasized Pascal Cromm, director of the IRO.