A glimpse behind the scenes: Welcome to the International Office
For students, faculty, and staff of the WU community, the International Office is often the first point of contact when it comes to finding out about international exchange programs. Because of numerous partnerships and worldwide cooperations, there is a variety of possibilities and perspectives: a semester abroad, double degree programs, International Summer Universities, Erasmus funding for internships abroad, staff and faculty mobility or online initiatives. With such a diverse range of options, the question arises: How is internationality made possible on an administrative level?
Internationality and open-mindedness are part of WU’s image and shape both the institutional and the strategic position of the university. As a service-oriented and supportive unit, the International Office is actively involved in the implementation of these principles.
How does the International Office actually work together?
Smaller teams form a large team. More precisely, the International Office consists of the general student consultation and communication team, an exchange coordinators team and of a management team including assistants.
For an exchange of ideas within the unit, the International Office meets in weekly jour fixes. In the meetings, it quickly becomes apparent that agile and project-based work functions well in the individual teams.
Christopher Rindhauser, Undergraduate Exchange Programs Europe: “At the International Office, both independent work and teamwork are required in order to continuously develop WU’s internationalization portfolio. As coordinators, we work independently on our programs and projects on the one hand, and on the other hand we cooperate intensively in different teams in order to implement our ideas in the best way possible.”
Sarina Eckhard-Gludovatz, International Short and Summer University Programs: “The International Office Jour Fixe in the team is essential for me. We don’t just pass on information about our own activities or what’s “going on right now”, but we rather aim to learn from each other, discuss ideas and problems openly, and include different perspectives in our decision-making processes.”
Currently, the International Office is working on collecting best practice examples for the communication with students. After all, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has proven where core qualities lie. Despite the special situation, it has always been possible to respond in a flexible, adaptable and individual manner to the needs of WU students – regardless of the initial situation.
What are the ambitions and tasks of the International Office?
One of the primary goals of the International Office is to enable students to experience internationality. During their studies at WU, all students should have the chance to have an international experience. This why, in addition to the popular semester abroad, other exchange formats are being established or further developed. International Summer Universities, short study programs, and online initiatives, such as the CBS-HSG-WU Online Course Initiative or the ENGAGE.EU Online Exchange Initiative, are worth mentioning. These offers also enable students to study internationally at Campus WU.
How does a university become a WU partner university?
Partnerships, cooperations and networks form the basis for international exchange. However, before a university can become a WU partner university, a quality assessment is carried out in which several criteria come into play. For international student mobility, the strategic positioning of the potential partner is of particular importance – ideally, it should coincide with WU’s guiding principles. In practice, a positive international orientation is reflected in a high-quality and compatible range of studies, English-taught courses, and credit transfer options for WU students. In the selection process of a WU partner university, attention is also paid to existing accreditations, such as AACSB, EQUIS or AMBA, and membership in international networks.