For four weeks, 20 students from six European countries got to know the region and its companies at the “Summer in the Castle”. Now the project of the Duale Hochschule (cooperative education college) ended.
Bad Mergentheim. “German classes here are much more interesting than in Italy,“says Micol Lubian. For example, the grammar part of the “Summer in the Castle”, for example, was pleasingly short. What the 18-year-old from near Padua describes is part of the concept of the applicant seminar devised by the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW). “We don’t give lessons like in school”, explains project manager Stefan Riedl.
Of course, elements such as the debate have also been fine-tuned. In principle, however, the aim was to give pupils an understanding of communication in Germany and, above all, in German companies. As Riedl reports, different cultures clashed with each other. For example, it was unfamiliar to foreign students that in some companies in Germany, all employees were called by name. One participant would have been surprised to find out:“The boss doesn’t scream at all”.
Interesting roof windows
They should also be introduced to topics that the students do not deal with in their everyday life. “For example, we are showing how interesting a skylight can be,“explains Riedl.
At a closing event in the castle, the young people presented what they had experienced during the project and worked out in five groups. Campus director Professor Seon-Su Kim and the accompanying professor Enrico Purrle then presented them with the certificates of participation.
During the week, the students always had German lessons in the morning. In the afternoon they visited companies, practiced presentations and created a journal. On the weekends there were excursions, for example to Würzburg, Stuttgart and Heidelberg. The students were enthusiastic about the Schlossgarten in Veitshöchheim and the Mergentheim Volksfest.
An important event in the context of the project was the “Speed Dating”, during which the pupils and the six partner companies of the “Summer in the Castle“had the opportunity to get to know each other better in short conversations. The search for young talent is the main objective of the project, which was initiated five years ago by partner companies of the Cooperative State University. “Companies do not find enough skilled workers in Germany,“explains campus manager Kim. Therefore, they are now deliberately searching abroad. The students came partly from countries where companies from the region have offices, such as Hungary. Italy, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Latvia and Slovakia were also represented among the countries of origin. Eleven of the 20 participating students were invited to interview with DHBW partner companies. Two participants have already accepted a job offer.
One of them is 17-year-old Ayten Pamuk from Bulgaria. She will complete her school-leaving examination next year and will start working at TecAlliance in Weikersheim in September 2018. She is particularly interested in electromobility. Pamuk has been learning German for four years, but came to the country for the first time for the “summer in the castle”. She liked the region and the people. She would also like to live and work here after her studies.
Not yet confirmed, but the 17 year old Artur Nafradi, who comes from near Budapest, has already an interview. He has been learning German for more than ten years and attends a bilingual grammar school, where history and geography are taught in German, for example. He has been to Germany several times, including in Cologne and on Lake Constance and has friends and acquaintances here. He would also like to work after school in the Tauber Valley and study international business.
The final decision as to who will be recruited is up to the companies. “We have no influence on that anymore,“says campus manager Kim. But even if not all pupils find a job directly,“Sommer im Schloss” is in his opinion a success. The aim of the project is also to convey a German “welcome culture” and to give pupils an understanding of the region and its inhabitants:“The pupils should feel at ease here, and this will also help to dispel any prejudices. In the meantime, there are already some students at DHBW who have taken part in “Sommer im Schloss” in recent years and supported the project.
Project manager Riedl adds:“A former employee even took four extra days off to be able to participate”.
The original article in german can be found here.