Group Visit from the USAShort Program at Aalen University for American Students

Virginia Tech students and employees in front of the Mercedes Benz plant in Sindelfingen. Photo: © Aalen University | Carola Wirth

We, 14. June 2023

Recently, 30 electrical engineering and information technology students from the U.S. university Virginia Tech accompanied by three professors visited Aalen University as part of a so-called "Short Program". In various lectures, talks and networking events, they not only got to know local university life, but also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with German students. The ten-day stay was rounded off by company excursions and a cultural program.

Since 2013, Aalen University has organized an annual short program for students from its U.S. partner universities. The aim of this program is to introduce the American students to German university life, German industry and Germany as a culturally rich country. Professors from the university also integrated the students into their lectures or offered courses specially tailored to the U.S. students. Through various laboratory tours, the guests also got to know the university campus and, thanks to a range of leisure activities such as museum visits and a city tour, Aalen as well.

A highlight for the American students was getting to know German students. At a networking event, they had the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other. This event was also valuable for the German students, as they were not only able to make new friends, but also improve their English skills and gain intercultural experience. The guests also particularly enjoyed the company excursions. A total of three companies were visited this time: the Palm paper mill in Unterkochen, Mercedes Benz in Sindelfingen and Daimler Trucks in Wörth am Rhein. "The company excursions were great - especially the insight into the German automotive industry. It allowed me to see what new technologies they are working on," explains one U.S. student enthusiastically. The trip to Berlin will also be remembered by the U.S. students. Accompanied by a staff member and two tutors from the International Relations Office, they set out to explore the German capital. "Berlin is a great city full of history. It was a lot of fun to go exploring there," said another U.S. student.

The partnership with Virginia Tech is the latest partnership of Aalen University in the USA. It is planned to be expanded further. The short programs for U.S. students are important for Aalen University because they also affect the university's exchange balances with its American partner universities. "Usually, German universities send significantly more students to the U.S. for study exchanges for one or two semesters than vice versa. This is also true for us, so the short programs provide some compensation for the less mobile U.S. students at the partner universities. After all, our students also benefit from the numerous study places - and without having to pay horrendous American tuition fees," explained Pascal Cromm, head of the International Relations Office at Aalen University.