Statement to the article “Student engagement as an important aspect of the internationalization strategy”
We very much appreciate our long-standing cooperation with the Press and Communications Office, e.g. in arranging interviews with international students, a speech at the freshman welcome in the stadium, and others. However, we would like to ask the Press and Communications Office to check the content of the following article. We would like their staff to contact us in advance when an article is written about us. We hope that this procedure will be avoided in the future with other initiatives and institutes.
We feel that the article is one-sided and does not present the entire situation in a factual manner.
- The Gauss Haus project was applied for on the own initiative of the Gauss Friends in order to create a fixed, person-independent, permanent structure for the support of international students. In doing so, a systemic approach was developed that accompanies international students from before their studies until after their studies with an offer that is tailored to their needs. We very much regret that the appreciation of our work by the former president and the acting president, praise from other universities and the award of a nationwide prize were not enough to continue the project at the university. (FFO-Award 2019).
- The concept of the International Student Support Team was developed by the Strategic Projects Department at International House. When participating in the workshops, only an “alibi participation” took place. This opinion is also held by other stakeholders. Further discussions to develop a common solution were denied after the first workshop and the concept was presented at a follow-up meeting without real input from other initiatives.
- The article contrasts the work of Gauss Friends with other initiatives. We greatly respect the volunteer work of other organizations and we find that recreational activities such as pub crawls enrich student life. However, we as Gauss Friends are of the opinion (as well as the AStA department for international students and the Alumni Braunschweig International association) that international students need a systemic approach for their study success, consisting for example of study-related events at the beginning of their studies and accompanying support in case of problems with the immigration authorities from other international students who have encountered the same problems themselves. Since 2008, the Gauss Friends have provided other international students with a sense of belonging through international festivals (such as Diwali and Nouruz), among other things, especially for non-European students who have not found a place elsewhere.
- It is mentioned that the university is proud of the volunteerism of student initiatives. Based on the handling of Gauss Friends in recent months, the statement is questionable. As you know, our belongings were cleared out of our room in Bültenweg without informing us. After cleaning up the archive room, our things ended up in the hallway. (See the picture attached).
We are in exchange with many members of our beloved colleges and are very happy that many people share our opinion.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us.