By Rahel Papatheodorou
Did you know that in addition to offering English Learning Support, the Fernuniversität in Hagen also offers help to enhance your German? The new project studyBRIDGE was initially funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) specifically – but not only – for Ukrainian students. Former Project Assistant Camilla Szymanski explains: “A new service is being developed that considers the linguistic and academic-cultural aspects of the higher education system in Germany in general, and distance learning in particular.” But what does ‘academic-cultural’ mean, exactly?
“Basically, studyBRIDGE is about developing instructional materials, in particular videos, which will be available to all interested parties within the FernUniversität. In addition, a self-assessment – the studyNAVI International – has also been established to help individuals reflect on whether they are ready and sufficiently disposed to take up distance learning,” says Szymanski. So apart from improving their German language skills, students participating in studyBRIDGE will also learn about cultural aspects of studying at a German university and of the ins and outs of studying online.
So whilst studyBRIDGE focuses on German as a second language and the studyFIT English Learning Support service trains students in English as a foreign language via a web application – Altissia – and via the Zoom-based English Café, what recommendations does Camilla Szymanski proffer to all students regardless of the language they are trying to learn?
“Take the risk and speak the language as soon and as often as possible, even to yourself in the mirror. Have fun with it! Then, surround yourself with the foreign language and dive into its culture: read children’s books, consume foreign language media, such as podcasts, videos and apps. I recently started learning Danish, and said to myself, ‘Right: first things first: Got to switch my phone to dansk.”
To learn more about what studyBRIDGE can do for you, visit the website here.