How would you put into practice the theories you learn during lectures while gaining significant work experience, and giving back to the community where you live? As a student at Karlshochschule I know we do this throughout the length of our study program.
‘How?’ you may ask. Well, as a first semester student many things about my university excite me; one of these in particular is the SENSE project. Which as stated by Maren Baisch, coordinator of the project, will “have an impact in the learning at Karlshochschule”.
Karlshochschule is known for taking its students seriously. In fact, the SENSE project was a student born idea which became a reality with the help from our university President, Dr. Michael Zerr, as well as a grant by the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Maren Baisch is a project coordinator for SENSE and also a lecturer for Political Science at Karlshochschule. She joined Karls after having worked for over five years for the German Development Cooperation. In parallel, she is a volunteer and was a member of the board for AFS Germany.
What is the purpose of the SENSE project?
The SENSE project’s purpose as explained by Maren Baisch is to “guide students into becoming active and responsible citizens and leaders through service learning projects which focus on topics like ethics, responsibility, and sustainability”. In other words, its aim is to bring sense into our learning process during our university experience.
For those who are new to the concept of service learning, Maren defined it in her interview as “a methodological approach that combines the academic learning content with practical experience for the benefit of the community”.
Even though the project is still in its early stages, it aims to be fully integrated into the curriculum at Karlshochschule by the next winter semester. Nevertheless, in the current summer semester we will start with three pilot phases: a group of students will do a community-oriented service learning project in Karlsruhe, we will see how a group of students take their SENSE experience into their semester abroad and experiment with the concept of learning by teaching with a Goethe-Gymnasium in Karlsruhe.
The SENSE project is for the students and shaped by the students
Jedida Ravindran is not just a third semester international relations student at the Karls; she has also been on four gap years where she worked in different NGOs, volunteered, and travelled. Recently, she taught English to expatriates in Malaysia to help them integrate in society and is working on the SENSE project, focusing on the international part of the project. One of her main tasks in her work is to ensure that the SENSE project is even more tangible at the Karlshochschule.
When asked about the advantages such a project could bring to university students she stated: “the advantage is especially felt when you study a lot of theories and a lot of content that may seem very abstract, the SENSE project allows you to transform this learning into something very practical and so instead of just studying for three or four years, graduating and then trying to make sense of what you’ve learnt so as to apply it to your new job, you are already making sense of it as you go along with your studies”.
Jedida further emphasized that “not only have you been exposed to the outside world or have contributed or been aware of the society and community around you but you have understood how to apply what you’ve learnt in the classroom to your job”.
Lastly, Jedida remarks how “the SENSE project will leave an impact within student and in communities around the world”.
So why not join in?
Article by Helen Ramons *HR (Karls Storytellers)