Anyone who has already studied abroad knows how difficult it is to find one's way around the new university and new country: visits to the relevant authorities, the search for accommodation, course-admission tests or enrolment for particular seminars are matters to be dealt with during the first few days. And frequently they must be resolved with only a limited amount of knowledge of the national language. To help foreign students embark on their studies, the University of Dortmund has developed the Come2Campus programme. Based on an American model, the programme has been so successful that it is also to be offered this term for the second time by the Office for International Relations in cooperation with the Students' Union advisory service for foreign students.
The idea: As far as possible, each new foreign student is assigned an experienced student from the home university. This person then helps the foreign national in a wide range of practical matters. "We try to assign each foreign student an academic parent who is on the same course of studies", Jutta Schmid from the Office for International Relations explains. Many of the academic parents have themselves already studied abroad and wish to be entrusted with someone whose language they also speak. However, this is not necessarily beneficial since the new students are supposed to learn German.
At the start of the programme all of the participants are thoroughly prepared for the international campus work. This preparation includes the provision of information about residence rights, work permits for foreign students and the statutory health insurance system as well as a tour of the campus and the library. In addition to providing the necessary practical help, student leisure activities are by no means neglected. During a town quiz rally, parties and excursions many international contacts are made which can then be fostered during numerous other activities throughout the term.
The active members of the Come2Campus programme are near at hand at other times, too. They can exchange current information via a mailing list on the Internet or, of course, also find out where the wildest party is due to take place at the weekend.
In addition to the international fun, there is a further incentive for the academic parents from the home university to participate in C2C. All receive a certificate as proof of their intercultural commitment.