In October, students and faculty from Adelphi University, New York, visited Hochschule Fresenius Cologne as part of the TAVEC Project. TAVEC is a collaborative project between both universities in which international student groups worked on topics in the field of diversity. The trip was awarded to Adelphi University’s winners of TAVEC Project’s Virtual Trans-Atlantic Student Conference in March 2021.
After one year of virtual meetings, US and German students as well as faculty members were excited to finally meet each other in person. During the visit, students reflected on their project experiences while faculty members worked on ideas and further steps in their collaboration.
Adelphi University student Jordan Zeppieri said, “I felt my time in Cologne was enriching and eye-opening. The students from Hochschule Fresenius were very welcoming and patient with us as we learned and asked many questions about German life. Professor Ray gave us a crash course on Germany’s history, economy, and political infrastructure. The ideologies I was exposed to allowed me to think differently about everyday situations as well as issues we have in the US. I believe that if any student from the US has the opportunity to visit Cologne they should take advantage of the opportunity because they will leave with a new wealth of knowledge!”
Adelphi students and staff joined classes at Hochschule Fresenius, explored the Cologne campus and the neighboring “StartPlatz” start-up incubator, visited local sights, and enjoyed joint dinner activities with their German counterparts.
“My experience in Cologne was great. I was amazed by the staff, professors, and students. We found everyone so friendly and helpful. I am very grateful to TAVEC team, that I was able to have this great experience in my life. Food, shopping, sightseeing and everything was phenomenal!! My favorite part was cathedral and StartPlatz,” said Zareen Shaikh, student at Adelphi University.
Fellow student Sofia Pinzon added, “I really had the most memorable time in the past 5 days. It was an amazing experience for my first time in Europe, I met the best people, and was treated so well. While I was enjoying my time hanging around, I learned so many new things and definitely will keep these memories for the rest of my life. TAVEC was so great to us and it felt amazing to finally meet my group partners in person. I cannot wait for when they come visit us in New York, I hope we can give them the best time like they did to us.”
Hochschule Fresenius’s International Business School in Cologne and Adelphi University’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business in New York came together in September 2020 with the support of DAAD’s International Virtual Academic Collaboration grant to form our Trans-Atlantic Virtual Exchange and Collaboration (TAVEC) Project. The collaboration was initiated by Priya Nayar, Hochschule Fresenius’ representative in New York and Adelphi University alumna.
Faculty from both institutions worked together to co-teach in four selected modules and brought undergraduate and graduate students together on a shared collaborative platform, cutting across projects and cross-university teams. 126 students from both universities were co-taught in some courses and had joint guest lectures. They had joint meetings with both university’s instructors and worked together on various projects during the winter semester 2020.
All students had the opportunity to sign up for a virtual conference to present their joint projects to a broader audience and take part in a competition. Students had the opportunity to present the collaboration results live in our first Trans-Atlantic Student Conference in March this year. 22 students of fourteen groups from two collaborative Bachelor and two collaborative Master study programs signed up and presented the joint projects they worked on in the past winter semester.
The conference contained a competitive component, so students presented their projects to an external selection committee of five experts from the field. Six students from Adelphi and eleven students from Hochschule Fresenius won a travel grant to visit the other location and their counterparts together with faculty members and administrative team members to represent their home institution.
“We had to postpone the travel dates once and were not sure until the very end if the travel can really take place. So, we were more than happy to really welcome our Adelphi partners now and get the chance to exchange ideas and experiences on a personal level,” said Lena Mewes, project coordinator at Hochschule Fresenius’ International Business School.
“My experience in Cologne has been characterized by new cultural norms, unique cuisine, and fascinating locations to the say the least. How does one define a good host? Well the administrators at Hochschule Fresenius can answer that question. Upon arrival my expectations were immediately exceeded. Good food, incredible history and fascinating architecture in addition to the views of the beautiful landscape here in Cologne has set the precedent for excellence. Tours, group discussion, and workshops at Hochschule Fresenius have yielded strides in collaboration that would not have been possible in the world we were familiar with a few months ago. I am forever going to be grateful for the experiences I have been a part of during my TAVEC experience and I am very grateful to all those responsible for organizing and coordinating this collaboration!” said Adelphi student Joseph Kern.
Hochschule Fresenius’ students and staff members will travel to New York in December to visit Adelphi University.