Awards for international students

The DAAD award winner Liu Hang (center) with Vice Rector Prof. Dr. Anja Dieckmann and Prof. Dr. Joachim Albrecht. Photo: © International Center Aalen University

Th, 07. Dezember 2023

Three student prizes have now been awarded at Aalen University as part of the annual international celebration. Around 100 guests – students, professors, employees and external guests – took part in the award ceremony. The event was organized by the International Center, consisting of the International Relations Office (IRO), the Language Center, the non-profit association “International Society Aalen e.V. (ISA)” and the Welcome Center Ostwürttemberg.

At the end of each year, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) prize worth 1,000 euros is awarded at Aalen University for outstanding achievements by foreign students. This year the prize went to the Chinese Hang Liu, a graduate of the master's program in Applied Surface and Materials Science and currently a doctoral student at the Research Institute for Innovative Surfaces (FINO). The award was presented by Prof. Dr. Joachim Albrecht, head of the institute and supervisor of Liu's doctoral thesis.

During the warm speech in honor of Liu, Albrecht not only highlighted her excellent academic achievements and research results, but also emphasized her social and helpful nature, which is an enrichment for both FINO and the entire university. “Hang Liu's presence at FINO has a positive influence on all employees,” explained Albrecht and continued: “She shows remarkable teamwork and is always helpful to anyone who needs support. These characteristics not only contribute to a positive working environment at FINO, but also strengthen the team spirit and collegial cohesion.”

Buddy of the Year 2023

The German student Amrana Sandhu, a bachelor's student in the User Experience study program, received the “Buddy of the Year” award worth 500 euros from the non-profit organization ISA on the same evening. Sandhu has been involved in the buddy program for more than three years and has supervised a total of six international students from India, South Korea, Mexico, Jordan, Côte d'Ivoire and Finland. The prize was presented to her by Prof. Dr. Dirk Flottmann, deputy chairman of the ISA, who particularly emphasized her exceptional warmth and care during his speech: “It is particularly worth mentioning that Amrana has managed to make the program a ‘family affair’. In addition to making everyone in the program feel like family, Amrana takes her buddies home to spend time with their family, and she involves her family directly in the care of our international students.”

Surprise prize 2023

For the first time, a surprise prize was awarded as part of the annual international celebration. Fekrat Haj Ali's extraordinary commitment to the buddy program was also recognized. The bachelor's student in the Industrial Engineering and Management course was completely unexpectedly asked from the audience onto the stage. The moderator of the evening, Rosemarie Francis-Binder, who also coordinates the buddy program, thanked Haj Ali for his extraordinary commitment to the buddy program, and the ISA chairman Prof. Dr. Ulrich Klauck presented him with a certificate. Haj Ali introduced international students to German culture and society through numerous activities over three years.

International celebration

The opening speech was given by Prof. Dr. Anja Dieckmann, Vice Rector for International Affairs at Aalen University. She thanked the guests at the celebration: “Most of us gathered here this evening support international students in one way or another. I would like to take the opportunity of this celebration and thank you all for your commitment and for promoting the welcoming culture at our university.” A special thank you went to the external guests, such as the members of the family program or the representatives of the bicycle workshop contribute to the integration of international students. The evening was accompanied by performances by local and international students, who contributed to a varied program through singing and dancing. Studierendenwerk Ulm supported the celebration with pastries, snacks and hot drinks, which ended comfortably with lively conversations and exchanges among the numerous guests.