- Press release
First round of the virtual exchange programme VIEL successfully concluded with visit to Pwani University
The first exchange round of the trinational project VIEL of Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with PU and the University of Limerick in Ireland has ended successfully. As a crowning finale to the fruitful first semester, a workshop was held at Pwani University (PU) Kilifi in Kenya on 1 March 2022. "Virtual International Exchange and Learning (VIEL) Kenya-Ireland-Germany” is part of the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students – BWS plus, a programme of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung. The project runs from October 2021 until September 2024 and is financed with an amount of 145.000€.
Procedure of a virtual exchange semester
The new project VIEL, which was launched by Prof. Sissi Closs from the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA) in cooperation with Pwani University (PU) in Kenya and the University of Limerick (UL) in Ireland, started in October 2021. The aim of the project is to create a cultural and professional exchange for students from the three universities in a future-oriented, virtual setting. Every semester, two students from each university have the opportunity to participate in an exchange round. From October 2021 to January 2022, a total of four workshops on the topic of Communication and Media took place as part of the virtual exchange programme:
Date & Time
How to make a podcast
21. October 2021
9:00am GMT, 10:00am CET, 11:00am EAT
Dr. Yvonne Cleary
11. November 2021
12:00pm GMT, 1:00pm CET, 3:00pm EAT
Intercultural aspects in communication
18. November 2021
12:00pm GMT, 1:00pm CET, 3:00pm EAT
Dr. Rukiya Swaleh
14. December 2021
12:00pm GMT, 1:00pm CET, 3:00pm EAT
In each of these workshops, the students were given a homework assignment in which they could once again internalise and apply the skills they had learned. In addition to the professional workshops, a total of eleven "student regulars' tables" took place. Every Wednesday at a set time, the exchange students met virtually with Belinda Oechsler for a private exchange. In these private sessions, they exchanged information about their respective everyday lives, current topics and life in the other cultures. In the process, the students got to know each other better on a private level. Over the course of the semester, these meetings developed into a regular table among friends and there was a lot of laughter.
Virtual closing event in January
The first round of exchanges officially ended with a virtual closing event on 20 January 2022, as the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to travel at that time. The participants, including the six exchange students, Farina Ebel and Susann Salah (HKA), Grecia Hernandez and Ivan Santos (UL), Nyota Mwatsuguu and Simon Riziki Kilemba (PU), as well as members of the VIEL team, Prof. Sissi Closs and Belinda Oechsler (HKA), Dr. Yvonne Cleary (UL), Edith Maino, Alexander Muthanga and Prof. Yakobo Mutiti (PU) looked back on the successful first exchange semester together. wEveryone agrees that the first virtual exchange semester was a complete success. This was also confirmed by the consistently positive feedback from the students. On the one hand, they learned important skills in the area of communication and media through the workshops, and on the other hand, they learned a lot about the other cultures. Everyone agrees that the newly formed friendships will last beyond the end of the student exchange.
Kenya Trip in February
In addition to the virtual workshops and the regular virtual private exchange of students, a short-term stay at one of the three participating universities is also planned in each exchange round. The crowning finale of the first semester was therefore a joint visit to Pwani University in Kilifi in February. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not clear until a few weeks before the end of the semester whether the visit could take place or not.
To everyone's delight, however, the trip could begin at the end of February. The students spent an intensive time in Kenya and got to know the country and each other even better. Through the regular virtual get-togethers, however, everyone had the feeling that they already knew each other very well, which meant that the group harmonised super well with each other. The highlight of the stay was the VIEL event that took place on 1 March 2022 at Pwani University.
Big VIEL graduation event at the PU over 60 participants
The programme started with an official welcome and introduction of the organisation and VIEL project team around Prof. Sissi Closs from Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Dr. Yvonne Cleary from the University of Limerick (UL) and Edith Miano from Pwani University (PU). Belinda Oechsler then presented the Foundation and the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUMs für Studierende und BWS plus, as well as the VIEL project in general. In order for the students to get to know the participating universities better, a presentation of the respective cooperation partners followed. The participants of the first virtual student exchange then reported on their experiences in the VIEL project and the cultural exchange and showed some of their great student work that was created in the workshops. A total of more than 60 interested students and lecturers from Pwani University took part in the event.
After a joint lunch break, the subject area of technical communication was discussed. Prof. Sissi Closs and Belinda Oechsler first gave insights into the professional field of a technical writer. Afterwards, open discussion rounds were offered in the form of "topic tables". The interested Kenyan students were able to address their questions to the exchange students and the VIEL team and exchange ideas. "I am really incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have done the exchange on site in Kenya in addition to the great virtual input. The stay was really the cherry on top of the cake for the semester and I'm really sad that it's already over. The workshops in Kenya and the social exchange brought us even closer together and I know that these bonds will last a lifetime!" Susann Salah, a student at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, concludes.
The second round of the VIEL project will start at the end of March 2022, when six new students will have the opportunity to participate in the successful virtual exchange programme.
The Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM supports the international exchange of students and vocationally qualified people. Since 2001, it has enabled more than 25,000 young people from Baden-Württemberg to gain experience abroad and allowed scholarship holders from other countries to visit Baden-Württemberg. Approximately 1,500 young people receive a Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM each year.
Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students – BWS plus
With the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM for University Students – BWS plus, the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung supports innovative joint projects between universities from Baden-Württemberg and their international partners. The programme is endowed with approximately 1.2 million euros annually. Since 2011, more than 104 BWS plus projects have been supported at universities in Baden-Württemberg.
The Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
advocates a vital Baden-Württemberg with a high quality of life for all its residents. It helps pave the way for advanced technological progress, high quality education, and a responsible relationship with fellow human beings. The Baden-Württemberg Stiftung is one of the major foundations in Germany. It is the only foundation which exclusively and above party lines invests in the future of the state of Baden-Württemberg – and thus in the future of its citizens.