Feeling at Home in a Cosmopolitan University
A prize for Bielefeld University in the Humboldt Foundation's "Welcome Centres" best-practice competition
Bielefeld University is one of the seven winners in the third round of the "Welcome Centres" best-practice competition for cosmopolitan universities. The competition was started by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Deutsche Telekom Foundation, and the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft [Donors' Association]. Prizes are going to research centres for excellent care of foreign academics and for their ideas on the further development of "Welcome Centres." After 2006 and 2008, this is the final round of the competition. The Welcome Service for international academics at Bielefeld University now belongs to a network of 13 prize-winning Welcome Centres in Germany selected in the three rounds of the competition. Bielefeld University's ideas for the social and cultural integration of international academic guests and especially their partners or families particularly impressed the jury. The award includes prize money of 10,000 EUR for implementing the proposed measures.
For Bielefeld University, such a professional service structure for international researchers enhances its attractiveness in the contest for the best minds, and it represents an important international marketing instrument. As a result, it already set up a Welcome Service in January 2010 to help international guests and their host institutes address all the non-academic aspects of their stay in Bielefeld and their social lives. For example, it helps in getting visas, sorting out insurance, language courses, bringing one's family, and finding accommodation.
Beatrice Künzel has been head of the Welcome Service since June 2010. Together with Monika Bokermann, she is making sure that academics from all over the world are receiving competent advice and support in individually tailored services to meet each particular need. Because social integration is such a major factor when coming to stay in Bielefeld, the Welcome Service organizes regular events and excursions for Bielefeld University's international guests.
"International networking and exchanges with academics from all over the world are an important element of excellent research and teaching," says Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rektor of Bielefeld University. "We have to not only offer international guests a professional academic environment but also ensure that guests and their families feel at home in Bielefeld. This prize for our Welcome Centre from the Humboldt Foundation shows that we are on the right track, and it confirms the good work being done by our International Office."
To find out more in the Internet:
Beatrice Künzel, Bielefeld University
Telephone: 0521 106-4880