Students become European citizens without prejudices
One of the many different goals of the European University initiative ENGAGE.EU is the exchange and cooperation of students from the seven cooperating universities. To this end, there is an “Online Exchange Initiative” with programs that focus on social responsibility. Applications for bachelor and master students for the upcoming summer semester 2022 are now open – you can apply until December 15 at the latest.
But why should WU students participate in online exchange initiatives? And why is it important if they want to pursue an international career in Europe? We asked one of the lecturers, Dr. Azra Bayraktar, who is Senior Lecturer prae Doc at WU Vienna’s Marketing Department, about her experience with the now year-old ENGAGE.EU program.
WU Blog: What were your experiences in teaching an online course for international students? What makes a course ideal for this setting? And why would you recommend other faculty members to teach an international course virtually – also post-pandemic?
Azra Bayraktar: Today, we can see that expectations of young people are changing rapidly. Although socializing is still the most important aspect in their lives, they also like to have a flexible system to schedule their time according to their workload, activities and according to their traineeship/internship programs. Therefore, offering them an online course will enrich their portfolio and addresses their demand for flexibility.
To learn about another university’s culture and have an international experience without leaving their home and country, is a great opportunity for students. It is also cost-efficient and accessible – especially given today’s health and economic conditions. From the teacher’s perspective, the advantage of having international students is that they enrich everyone’s horizons if you let them bring up their local experiences in the classroom. We all can learn something from each other.
“To learn about another university’s culture and have an international experience without leaving their home and country, is a great opportunity for students,”
The most important thing: Students should be working in global teams more than ever. Having encounters with different cultures during their studies will help them to lead and to become members of a global team.
WU Blog: Through international exposure in the courses, students strengthen their intercultural expertise. They develop a multi-layered awareness of social responsibility, are eager for knowledge, and open-minded. Which positive influence do you think these students bring to the European society?
Azra Bayraktar: Although Europe is a union, each country has a specific way of living, habits, culture, work routines, etc. Knowing these before entering the working world will give students a huge advantage and help them to become European citizens without prejudices.
“I have realized that challenges themselves are a good way to inspire and encourage students.”
WU Blog: One objective of ENGAGE.EU is to promote a positive and sustainable future in Europe. The ENGAGE.EU Online Exchange Initiative mediates competencies that are needed to face societal challenges. How can lecturers inspire and encourage students to become more involved in social change and constructive activism?
Azra Bayraktar: I have realized that challenges themselves are a good way to inspire and encourage students. Today’s generation is already very sensitive to social issues. I think, small steps they can implement in their daily lives will encourage them to support a greater cause more easily.
Online Exchange Initiative: Summer Semester 2022
WU has launched an online exchange initiative together with its partner universities in the ENGAGE.EU alliance. Students can apply for a series of online courses offered by participating universities. As part of a virtual and international classroom, you can benefit from international learning opportunities and interact with students from different countries.
Application period: Nov. 26 to Dec. 15, 2021.
Bachelor and Master students can apply directly to the participating network universities. The course offer can be found on the ENGAGE.EU page under “Current offers”. Details about the application process can be found on the pages of the respective cooperating universities.