This past June, I had the honor of participating in the Germany Today Program, sponsored by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst – The German Academic Exchange Service.) I was part of a delegation of faculty and administrators from various universities in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The DAAD generously provided a comprehensive program with very little direct cost to participants. The program started in Bonn, traveled to Brussels and ended in Berlin. Each day we met with DAAD’s local staff, researchers, university faculty and administrators, grants organizations and DAAD funded students and scholars. There was a strong emphasis on the Bologna Process and current policy discussions in the member countries. Dialogue was particularly meaningful because we had nearly a week to continue our discussions with colleagues over lunch, dinner and bus journeys. We were able to not only reflect on our experiences during the week, but to also learn about trends and best practices on their campuses and in their home countries. The added bonus of this program was networking within the structure of a very strong training experience.
I was able to bring DAAD to my campus at WCSU this past October for the International Education Conference. Jane Fu, from DAAD (based in NYC), gave an excellent presentation about the wide range of funding opportunities for undergraduates, graduates, PhD candidates and Post Docs, and Faculty/Researchers. DAAD is an incredibly well organized and generous organization. Funding is available for German language study, internships, research, short term lectureship, and even group study.
As I prepare for my pre-conference workshop presentation, “Fundamentals of Short Term Education Abroad Programming”, I am reminded of the importance of program start-up funding. Short term programs, while increasingly popular, often run at a financial loss in year one. In my opinion, this is something that should be anticipated and is perhaps necessary in the first year in to develop an audience for a sustainable program. Once a successful cohort returns from a short course abroad, they inadvertently serve as your course’s marketing team. Their positive experiences move like wildfire across social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and the chances of recruiting in year two are significantly heightened.
Through my recent trip to Germany I was quickly able to discern that it is a particularly viable destination for short courses in business, sciences and social sciences/humanities. DAAD offers financial support for academic information visits to Germany that are organized by faculty members for groups of students. The group should consist of 10 – 15 students plus one faculty and the trip abroad should last between 7 and 12 days. DAAD offers approximately 6,720 Euros to subsidize room and board. For institutions that struggle with a lack of seed money for program development, this particular funding represents an excellent opportunity to decrease direct costs to students.
For more information and application deadlines, visit www.daad.org/?p=groupvisits. Based on my experience in Germany this past summer with the DAAD, you will not be disappointed.