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Sightseeing tour, guided campus tour, welcome dinner

Ceremonial end of orientation week for international students at the Club of Cultures of Chemnitz University of Technology – Personal welcome by the President

Every beginning is a challenge – this commonplace applies even more to the international students coming over from numerous countries all over the globe in order to do their first steps in Germany and at Chemnitz University of Technology. Around 600 new students from abroad were enrolled at the university in winter term 2018/2019 according to the current numbers. In comparison to the last winter term this signifies an increase of 28 per cent. The President of Chemnitz University of Technology designated this development on the occasion of the Matriculation and Prelude Ceremony for the new winter term as “a strong signal for Chemnitz University of Technology, a strong signal for Chemnitz and a strong signal for the Free State of Saxony”.

Personal welcome by the President of Chemnitz University of Technology

The internationality of Chemnitz University of Technology represented by the extraordinarily high share of international students in comparison to other universities in Saxony and Germany was emphasized again by the President during his personal address within the traditional welcome dinner at the Club of Cultures (CdK). The dinner serves as closing of the orientation week for international students and is celebrated by a buffet consisting of meals and specialties prepared by the students themselves in a country-specific manner. In addition to the new international students also German and international students of higher semesters were welcome. In his speech, the President underlined the cosmopolitism of Chemnitz University of Technology and expressed his gratitude to the students for their contribution to the international life at the university and the city of Chemnitz as well as for being part of the “family of Chemnitz University of Technology”.

Also many of the new international students experienced already this feeling of familiarity – among them Alice from Modena who does English and American Studies. The Italian arrived four days ago at Chemnitz and was impressed: “The university is very modern and international. I feel like being part of a family here.”

Abhijit from New Delhi expressed similar feelings. The Indian studies within the Master degree program Embedded Systems and arrived at Chemnitz University of Technology eight days ago: “I have a very positive impression and I feel very happy that I got to know so much of the city and the campus within the last days.”

The fact that the welcome dinner not only profits from a very good reputation within the international students of Chemnitz University of Technology but also beyond the city was proven by the Georgians Ofelia and Ilia. Both study computer science since one month – but at Zwickau. Nonetheless, they heard from the dinner and would absolutely like to take part in order to get to know new interesting people. The Ukrainian Lisa had similar objectives. She studies at Chemnitz University of Technology within the Master degree program Management & Organisation Studies since 2017 and had come to the event at the CdK because: “This is a perfect opportunity for me to meet friends and to get to know people with other cultural backgrounds.” The international atmosphere makes her feeling very comfortable.

Comprehensive orientation program

However, prior to the dinner the participants of the orientation week had to absolve a comprehensive program of introduction to and orientation at Chemnitz University of Technology organized by the International Office (IUZ) and its Student Buddy Program within the period from October 1 to October 5 offering special events for all new international students in order to assist them in their first steps at the university and the city.

Like every semester, the orientation week was opened by the introduction event “Learn, Live and Laugh at Chemnitz” to which all internationals were very cordially invited regardless whether they are exchange students or degree-seeking or PhD-students. Within the first part of the event, the participants were provided with important and useful information regarding the start of their studies. Subsequently, the new international students had the opportunity to get to know each other more intensively by having a bread roll, coffee or cake during a joint brunch at the CdK. Then they could listen to an information event of the University Computer Center.

On Wednesday, all interested participants came together for a campus tour in order to explore the campus Reichenhainer Straße. Those who would like to get to know more about living in Chemnitz could profit from the offer to participate in a second part of the information event “Learn, Live and Laugh in Chemnitz”. There they had also the opportunity to meet a representative of the Student Union Chemnitz-Zwickau who provided them with useful information and methods around living and working at Chemnitz and who gave answers to burning questions of the internationals.

On Thursday, the new students could take part in a guided tour through the University Library and in a sightseeing tour through the “Kaßberg”-district of Chemnitz, the largest existing district of Wilhelminian and art nouveau architecture in Europe.

The Friday started with the traditional rally through the city of Chemnitz which began this year due to mild temperatures at the “Nischel” as the citizens of Chemnitz designate the Karl-Marx-monument in an affectionate manner. In that way, the participants became familiar with the sights and important institutions within the city of Chemnitz.

Departing from the “Nischel”, the rally continued via the main station to the inhabitants’ registration office and the opera house. The orientation week was completed by the welcome dinner on Friday evening.

Student Buddy Program of the International Office offers individual assistance to international students

The objective of the “Student Buddy Program” of the International Office consists on facilitating the start of new international students at Chemnitz; they provide them with useful and important information regarding the orientation at the university and assist them i.a. within the process of enrolment and dealing with formalities at the authorities. However, the successful implementation of the Student Buddy Program depends on the active engagement of a number of students of Chemnitz University of Technology: In this regard, experienced German and international students – called “local buddies” – are connected with new international students – called “international buddies”. The local buddies assist their international buddies in doing their first steps at Chemnitz, they also have the opportunity to jointly participate in excursions.

Ziyu Chen from China is one of those local buddies. She studies Intercultural Communication as well as Management & Organisation Studies at Chemnitz University of Technology since 2016. As local buddy she offers individual assistance and support to a new international student. She thinks that this is a very appropriate opportunity to get in contact with new international students, to further enhance her intercultural knowledge and abilities as well as to give something in return. She hopes that in the future there will be even more opportunities for international academic exchange.

Thus, the Student Buddy Program serves as a platform to find and to get to know friends from all over the world, to prepare for a stay abroad, to further enhance and enlarge foreign language proficiencies as well as to develop and deepen intercultural skills. In acknowledgement of this voluntary engagement, which is highly appreciated by the International Office, the local buddies are issued a certificate of participation which they can, for instance, enclose with their prospective applications for a job.

As also in the next term(s) many new international students are expected, the team of the Student Buddy Program will be happy about any offer for assistance and hopes to find a great number of additional “local buddies” in order to welcome and support the international newcomers. Everyone who is interested in engaging in the Student Buddy Program is very welcome to register – which may also be done online.

(Translation: IUZ)

Matthias Fejes

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