My name is Tom Green and I am currently working in the Karlshochschule International Office as a Mobility Coordinator, primarily for the absolutely great incoming students we receive every semester, and as an intercultural trainer for both incoming and outgoing students.
One of the main drivers for my job is knowing that we in the International Office are working daily towards giving students the opportunities to learn, grow and ultimately the chance to experience something completely unique when reflecting their previous experiences – not just from a workshop or a training, but actually facilitating a journey where students can travel the world and experience life changing opportunities that open doors to something completely new. This is what I consider the exchange semester to be.
The Semester Abroad
The exchange semester can be the “enabler” to enter a new direction, a new continent, a new country. It can also be the “supporter” in giving the opportunity to find true passions, interests, networks, and transferrable skills which can hold benefits that simply cannot be fostered from what a classroom or lecture can offer. I would be confident to assume that there are Karlshochschule Alumni reading this who can agree with me, I know for sure there are some dotted all over the world because their desire for international experiences began with their respective exchange semesters.
Although this is in the integral part of an exchange, it is also about the steps before and after your semester abroad which might make all the difference – career aspirations change, life decisions form, relationships spark. For some, it is the beginning of a new perspective towards a globalizing world, to others it is another addition to an already very international portfolio – the point here is, the semester abroad is flexible, tailored, and diverse in itself; it is what you make it.
At the Karls we like to be different, we strive to make a difference to an evolving society and inevitably globalizing planet – we want to prepare the next generation of leaders and managers for interculturality. This means, our exchange semester is integrated into our curriculum – in other words, all of our Karlshochschule students participate in a semester abroad.
At the same time, I firmly believe the semester abroad has become more and more accessible through the means of support and funding; ERASMUS+ is one of the platforms available to all students within the European Union, regardless of your class, background and nationality. If you are studying at a Higher Educational institution and have the opportunity to go on a semester abroad to another European institution, this will be done so via the ERASMUS+ network.
ERASMUS+ is the educational network established and maintained by the European Commission – it is a fund that is specifically allocated towards all streams of education, stretching and distributed throughout Europe (and also across the world with certain projects) . The next 7-year ERASMUS+ project, from 2021 – 2027, the European Commission is looking to almost double its overall funding from 14 billion to 25 billion, with a goal to increase the number of participants from 4 million, to 12 million .
Mobility at Karlshochschule
What does this mean for you as students of the Karls, an International University? This means there are more opportunities for you, arguably more than there has ever been. When you go on your semester abroad within Europe via ERASMUS+, you are eligible for financial support in which we in the Karls International Office are incredibly grateful to highlight.
Over the last years, we have had a very good percentage of students being awarded this funding. In fact, in the 2018 & 2019 reports published by the DAAD, within the “Top 20 German Universities sponsored stays abroad within Europe in relation to students enrolled”.
Karlshochschule was placed number 1 in the 2018 report, and number 2 in the 2019 report .
At the Karls, we embrace diversity and encourage intercultural learning, it’s not only portrayed within our international student ratio or our campus and learning environment, it’s also reflected in our global mobility and international network. This translates into more opportunities for all of our students, regardless of background, academic performance or study program.
We currently have a strong and ever-growing network of 114 partner universities spanning across the world, both inside and outside of Europe. When studying at the Karlshochschule you undertake your integrated exchange in either your 4th or 5th semester depending on your study program. You have the support net on both sides, from us in the International Office and from your chosen partner university, to make sure that you are well prepared and ready to undertake your concrete, intercultural experience – that might just change your life.
When I consult students actively seeking for a partner destination when planning their semester abroad, I always give the analogy – where would you like to go, commitment free? Of course, your exchange does not come without commitments, obligations and responsibilities, but you have to think: where else do you get the chance to move, live, and experience first-hand a different city, country, or continent with so much support in so many areas? From your finances, to your social and academic preparation; at the Karls, we guide you from the very start, to the very end.
If you want more information about your exchange opportunities as a Karlshochschule student, what we do in the International Office, or about the next ERASMUS+ 2021 – 2027 project, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Tom Green *TG – Mobility Coordinator & Intercultural Trainer in the International Office.
 Original segment (DE): „Top 20 der deutschen Hochschulen – geförderte Auslandsaufenthalte in Relation zu den eingeschriebenen Studierenden im Wintersemester 2016/2017“ DAAD. (2018). 2018 Jahresbericht. Available: https://www.daad.de/en/the-daad/communication-publications/reports/annual-report/. Last accessed 07/20