Virtual International Winter University 2021

On Sunday, January 3rd 2021, the first virtual International Winter University (IWU) Fulda has started with an online Opening Ceremony joined by students from around the globe.

12 participants from nine different countries are currently participating in the International Winter University Fulda 2021. For the first time, this popular short-term programme is carried out completely online and was organised in cooperation with Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

This year participants can choose from two different professional courses, i.e. “German History, Culture, Literature in an Intercultural Context” or “Business Simulation”, complemented by the module“Intercultural Competence“ and German language courses on different levels.

Both the German language courses and the “Cultural and Social Programme” are offered jointly with Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. The extracurricular activities include:

  • Virtual cooking sessions with typical German dishes
  • Virtual city tours
  • Weekly online training sessions in cooperation with Fulda University´s “University Sports”
  • Virtual visit to concentration camp Buchenwald
  • Evening activities, e.g. a quiz about Germany

The fact that students from all around the globe (Australia, Colombia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Spain and the USA) are attending a short-term programme in Germany while remaining in their home countries has created a special challenge for the organizational team this year.
However, taking the different time zones into consideration and offering courses twice a day allows the students to follow the programme without any inconvenience. The online lectures, where video chat is used, are accompanied by the e-learning platform “Moodle” as well as regular virtual get-togethers with the programme´s “tutors”.

The International Winter University´s tutors are the support team for all participants. Not only do the tutors help organize and run the programme but they also are the first contact point for all sorts of questions. Moreover, they usually come along on field trips to cities like Berlin, Weimar and within the Fulda region.
Deprived of  personal interaction due to the current circumstances, the tutors came up with a different plan this year: They have organized online office hours, virtual field trips, social media activities and found a way to deal with the long distances and computer-bound course programme: In three live online cooking session participants move from desk to stove and get to prepare traditional German dishes such as “Sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and Bratwurst”, “Käsespätzle” or “Schnitzel with potato salad”.
But no worries, those calories can be burned right away in live online workout-sessions offered by Fulda University´s “University Sports”. Every Friday morning and evening, students, tutors and lecturers can join the University Sports´ staff and exercise their entire body, voluntarily of course.  

The International Winter University Fulda will end with a Closing Ceremony on January 23rd, 2021.