Corona - What's up
RWU does not stand still even in these extraordinary days and weeks. In many places new solutions are being worked on with commitment and creativity. With the series "Corona - What's up", we want to focus not only on what is currently not possible, but especially on what's up.
No students - no work? Quite the opposite. At the moment, there is a lot going on in the International Office. Shortly before the corona virus broke out in Germany, many students already arrived for the start of semester and to the "Welcome and Orientation Week".
What do you when the adventure has now become isolation? Should they go back to their home country or stay here? Many of the "Internationals" stayed in Weingarten - also because they had no other choice.
More personal and intensive support
"The Corona crisis has intensified our contact with our students and made it more personal," says Ramona Hermann, Deputy Director of the International Office (IO) and coordinator for the international full-time students. The location of the office on the ground floor of the P building and the windows facing the park has opened up a new way of making contact: The "window consultation hour" enables the IO to maintain the necessary safety distance and still maintain contact with the "students".
"The psychological aspect is particularly important here; the "Internationals" have been particularly hard hit by the corona crisis - the need to talk has increased. That is why we try to continue to be there for them and to support them with advice and action as well as with an always open ear", says Ramona Hermann.
"It is also important to explain the contact rules to those seeking advice and to give tips on where and how they can move around in the area to avoid a camp fever," says Barbara Wildenhain, coordinator for international exchange students of the IO.
A few of the "those who stayed here" had decided from the beginning to stay in Weingarten. "They are very happy that they now have the opportunity to attend classes via e-learning," says Barbara Wildenhain.
Lively exchange and commitment
The lively exchange with the Council of Indian Students (C.I.S.) helps to answer the many questions of the students from India together with the IO. They are the largest group of students who have come to RWU.
A service cell phone "Arrival and Academic Success" for "Peer-to-Peer Counseling", a conversation counseling among like-minded people, which was purchased as part of the support program, enables the student assistants to get more involved and get involved. At certain times, the "Internationals" are able to contact the students and get advice or just talk to someone.
"Internationals" are also provided weekly with information on the current situation, possible solutions for frequently occurring problems, encouraging words and creative tips against camp fever. Conversely, I am positively surprised to hear from my students how important it is to them that we are doing well," says Ramona Herrmann.
From Weingarten to the world
There are also the students who have travelled out of Weingarten into the world to complete their semester abroad or practical semester.
Christine Tauch, head of the International Office, is responsible for them. She reports that students had to break off their stay and came back to Germany. Scholarship providers such as Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) and Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung try to find good solutions in terms of "outgoings" so that the interruptions of their stay do not lead to negative financial consequences, says Christine Tauch. Four students are still abroad and want to finish their stay as planned, if the local conditions allow it. It is important to the International Office that it is not a matter of forced termination of the stay. "It is a complex situation that requires an individual decision depending on the country and the situation on site and it has been shown that in most cases the return was a good, if not the better choice" says Christine Tauch.
Lisa Bendel is through Erasmus+ Program at the "Københavns Professions Højskole" in Denmark where she is studying social work. To stay in Copenhagen and not return to Germany was not an easy decision for her: "I didn't want to make a hasty decision to leave. The Erasmus semester was and still is too much for me," says the 29-year-old.
The switch to online teaching was completed after two days. Now something has to be restructured but everyone is showing flexibility and accepting the challenges. I feel well looked after by both the International Office at RWU and Copenhagen," says Lisa Bendel. The student is looking forward to continuing to explore the city, taking walks or cycling tours as soon as the situation has calmed down - even if it will be a bit different.