“Going International” is a challenge that ever more PhD students are taking up at the Graduate Center for the Study of Culture in Giessen. Since the foundation of the GCSC in 2007, the number of international students in the humanities who have elected JLU for their doctoral studies has been constantly growing. Besides, thanks to collaborations with numerous international partner institutions, as well as to pioneering projects such as the European PhD Net, the GCSC has been fostering academic exchanges in manifold ways. This has made our graduate center an extraordinary repository for the experiences of young academics dealing personally with the many joys, but also with the everyday difficulties, of academic internationalisation.
It is on this premise that the International GCSC/IPP/GGK Forum made its debut in July 2007. The forum was conceived on the initiative of a group of students from different countries and backgrounds on the purpose of putting their experiences together, talking about common problems (language, bureaucracy, integration), and promoting a form of mutual mentoring. In collaboration with the International advisory offices of the GCSC and JLU, the forum has been actively engaged in facilitating communication among internationals (and not only!) by way of a mailing list and friendly gatherings.
The forum get-togethers have also become occasions for discussing cultural specificities and differences in the academic and everyday contexts, as well as a space for forging ideas and developing new projects. Among the current projects of the Forum, for example, is the series of thematic evenings “Through different Eyes” (starting Winter Semester 2009), in which artists’ performances, film screenings and reading from literary/ extra-literary sources will provide the background for discussing some current problems, common stereotypes, relevant issues concerning countries such as Argentina, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Ukraine.
The International Forum provides support for international PhD students at the GCSC/IPP/GGK and will happily advise on all matters pertaining to:
- University formalities,
- Getting registered, visa and residence permits,
- Finding an apartment and everyday life in Germany,
- Establishing social networks,
- German academic environment
The International Forum is furthermore committed to the goals of:
- Fostering bilingualism at the GCSC and IPP
- Helping international students to overcome language and cultural ‘barriers’
- Sensitising the GCSC to cultural differences and the specific needs and problems of international students
- Facilitating and strengthening the GCSC and IPP’s international contacts
- Contributing to the plurality of approaches and concepts in the GCSC’s academic work.
The forum welcomes any ideas, comments or personal initiatives. If you would like to learn more about its current and planned activities, please, do not hesitate to contact:
- Saltanat Rakhimzhanova (rsaltanat[at]yahoo.de)
- Vincenzo Martella (vincenzo.martella[at]unibg.it)
- Elena Petrova (EPetrova[at]gmx.de)