What Europe means for research, study and work at university

Innovative research and teaching in a network of six young European universities away from the big metropolises: With this vision, the university, together with five partner universities, is applying to become a ‘European university’. What does Europe mean for research, studying and working at university? The question is answered by a researcher, a staff member and a student at the university.   

Photo of Nadine Auner.
Nadine Auner

‘Society, and thus schools, are more than ever marked by cultural heterogeneity nowadays. Therefore, we would like future teachers to dare to take the step abroad during their teacher training studies. This enables them to look at their own educational system from a different perspective in order to reflect on their own ideas of normality in school and society. Therefore, Europe offers many different opportunities for mobility and exchange through the ERASMUS+ programme: Within Europe, study stays at partner universities of Bielefeld University can be completed and financially supported, as can internships at schools. By gaining an insight into European education systems, we hope that students studying to become teachers will receive impulses for their own professionalisation and that competences such as openness, tolerance and empathy will be strengthened, which are important for culturally heterogeneous classrooms and for their role as multipliers in schools.
Nadine Auner works at the Bielefeld School of Education (BiSEd) on the internationalisation of teacher education.

Photo of Professor Dr Thomas Hellweg.
Professor Dr Thomas Hellweg

„European exchange is a great cultural enrichment for me personally and I am always fascinated by the differences between the different countries. That’s why I also try to persuade our students to spend time in other European countries. In this context, we have been running a study programme ‘Chemistry’ together with the Université de Paris for a number of years. Our research depends very much on the use of major European research facilities such as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), or the European Spallation Source (ESS), which is currently under construction. Due to the high costs, it is barely possible for individual states to finance such research centres. They also represent places of international exchange. European countries have different research cultures with regard to the natural sciences and European exchange is therefore very enriching, as different approaches lead to the solution of problems by using synergies.”
Professor Dr Thomas Hellweg, Faculty of Chemistry

Photo of Marianthi Kontelli.
Marianthi Kontelli

“Through Europe and the opportunities it offers, I have found a second home. Three years ago I came from Greece to Bielefeld University – a university in the heart of Europe – and started my bilingual studies in the ‘International Track’. Through the DAAD I came into contact with students and young researchers from all over Europe. I participated in the qualification programme ‘Europe Intensive’ at Bielefeld University and in the ‘European Summer Academy’ at the Gustav Stresemann Institute in Bonn. This gave me the opportunity to visit the European institutions in Belgium and Luxembourg. Today I understand that through these experiences in different places in Europe I have gained more than just a study rich in perspectives: The broadening of my horizon, living in other countries, foreign language skills, a Europe-wide network of colleagues and friends and surprising exchange opportunities are also added to this. These aspects have developed my passion for research and made me a conscious young European.”
Marianthi Kontelli, Master student M.A. Educational Science (International Track), from Greece

Together with five partner universities, Bielefeld University is applying to become a European University. In an interview, Professor Dr. Angelika Epple, Vice Rector for International Affairs and Diversity, talks about the background to the application.