International Week 2021: Bettina Huhn
Why did you take part in the programme of Virtual International Week of SeAMK?
International Weeks at SeAMK were always very important for my work in the past years. The program was always very interesting and the networking possibilities excellent. I was hoping to get some of this experience also with the Virtual International Week. Although I badly missed the Arctic Barbeque, my expectations were met to the fullest with only slight drawbacks caused by the digital format (technical things). The organisation and the program were again superb und I am grateful for having been invited.
What kind of thoughts/ ideas did you get from the presentations?
My knowledge of the ongoing international projects and research at SeAMK were brought up to date. I realized that colleagues at SeAMK and other participating universities are facing similar problems in the field of internationalization with respect to the COVID 19 crisis and we could exchange ideas about ways to face these challenges.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of a virtual international week?
A definite pro is the fact that a virtual event is independent of external circumstances like the pandemic or other impediments. More people can take place from all over the world. You can choose the hours of participation in accordance with other work or private tasks. No time is lost for travels.
On the other hand, a virtual international week, as good as it may be organised, cannot fully replace physical events. Of course, time and money for travel cost and accommodation is saved. The carbon footprint of a virtual week is smaller (but not zero because the constant streaming uses a lot of energy). Nevertheless, sitting together in coffee and lunch breaks and randomly getting into contact with international colleagues cannot be substituted by highly structured and limited digital events with some technical challenges (“Can you hear me?”).
What would you like to say about the cooperation with SeAMK?
My personal cooperation with SeAMK stretches over 20 years and positions at two different universities. As Head of the International Office first in Aschaffenburg and then in Ansbach I worked very successfully with my colleagues in the Business School and in the School of Technology, mostly in the field of student and staff exchange. Highlights of our cooperation were setting up a double degree programs together. The first was in Electrical Engineering between the School of Technology at SeAMK and the Faculty of Engineering at Aschaffenburg University. Unfortunately, we could not transfer this scheme when I changed to Ansbach University because of missing matches in the curricula. Nevertheless, we managed to install a double degree program with the Business School.
As for the field of teaching, there are quite a few close and permanent contacts between teachers and researchers at SeAMK and Ansbach University, also on the level of lab engineers. Joint blended learning projects in the field of Life Sciences are currently being developed.
There have been off-the-usual-exchange-pattern projects with students, e.g. one student wrote her thesis at SeAMK School of Technology, others do practical training in labs of both universities. The most exciting project of a group of Ansbach students was driving an electric car from Ansbach up to Seinäjoki, taking measurements and facing all the challenges of long distance travelling with an electric car.
SeAMK is currently our partner in a major internationalisation project at Ansbach University, funded by the DAAD.
To sum it up, especially under the new possibilities of the Erasmus+ program there will be many more options to intensify the cooperation of our university in the fields of exchange, teaching and research.