TH Wildau as seen from the rail station and Halle 10, where the restaurant and library are.
A German language student group from Karelia University of Applied Sciences traveled to the capital city of Germany. I focused on my previous text on the tourist attractions and sites of great historical significance that we visited. On this text I will share the experience we had in the Technical University of Applied Sciences, Wildau, which we visited twice during our trip.
Wildau is a municipality of the state of Brandenburg. It is located close to Berlin and is easily reached by the S-Bahn. The university is one of five universities of applied sciences in the federal state of Brandenburg and it is the biggest one of them, with approximately 4000 students. The campus is enormous and it leaves the impression of a maze of buildings. Even with the first glimpse this arrangement of buildings seems impressive and promising as far as its interior is concerned as well.
German language teacher Daniela Schultz welcomed us warmly and gave us a tour of this massive construction. Daniela informed us about the background and history of the building, the variety of study fields offered, and guided us through the different facilities offered in the campus.
TH Wildau: the fully equipped modern interior.
Wildau University of Applied Sciences was founded in 1991. Before that it was a school of engineering which makes perfect sense since Wildau is a traditional engineering town. Should we go even further back in time, this campus used to be a Schwartzkopf locomotive factory, a very interesting fact regarding the architecture of the building on question. The previous purpose of the building is evident on the exterior of it: on the outside it looks traditional, rigid while once you step inside the contrast is intense with the completely modernised interior consisting of excellent equipment and facilities. All these differences and contrast are combined in a beautiful harmonious way.
A couple facilities worth to mention are the austere, simple Room of Quiet (or Multi-faith prayer room) and the magnificent, modern library. Stiller Raum is open for all students, staff members and university visitors that wish to pray, meditate or just relax in a quiet space for a while. Room of Quiet accepts people of all religions and communities of faith and also the ones not members of any religion. The stunning library has more than 100 000 printed items available and provides access to a large collection of digital media such as e-journals and e-books. This library was voted Library Of The Year in 2012 in Germany.
The impressive library. https://server01.tm.th-wildau.de/ilibrary/www/
When Wildau University was founded the first students to enrol were 33 students of mechanical engineering. Especially in the last few years there have been dynamic developments with a significant variety of faculties offered (Faculty of Engineering/Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Business Administration and Business Computing, Faculty of Business Administration and Law) and a considerable number of applicants applying every year.
Aber was haben wir da gemacht??
On our first visit we attended a class with language teacher Daniela Schultz. Except for our group the class is attended by international students that are currently learning German at a level Oberstufe B1/B2. During this lesson we gave presentations on Karelia University of Applied Sciences, the city of Joensuu and the area of North Karelia to the rest of the class, who in turn gave presentations on the University of Applied Sciences, Wildau, the city of Wildau, and the capital city of Germany, Berlin.
Daniela gave the impression of an amiable and warm-hearted teacher with a positive personality. Attending her class was both interesting and pleasant. The international students we interacted with were approachable and welcoming as well. They came from several different countries (e.g. Nastia from Ukraine, Sarah from France, Zuzanna from Poland) and this made the atmosphere even more multicultural, diverse and fascinating.
Kaija and Daniela preparing the presentations.
On our second visit we attended the class of European Identities by Dr Greg Bond, lecturer in communication and mediation. Both German and international students attended this class. We discussed controversial subjects and it was a thought-provoking and captivating experience, to say the least. Issues raised among others were: what makes Finns Finnish, what makes them European, how do they see Europe and the EU, and how European is Finnish politics. The previously mentioned subjects were discussed in smaller groups using active interaction, open dialogue, and common sharing.
In this class our group gave a presentation covering the following topics about Finland: Food and Society, Sports and Technology, Customs, Nature and the Point of View of a non-Finnish citizens and students. The topics we covered seemed to have stimulated students’ curiosity and numerous questions were raised concerning especially Finnish social behaviour and Customs. For instance, they seemed to be surprised about the Finnish personal space rules and they asked for specifications and examples.
Gamification was used in both classes we attended in the form of knowledge quizzes. We learned more about Germany and the German speaking countries’ history, culture and politics and the students of Wildau learned about the Finnish ones. Overall, in both Daniela’s and Greg’s classes various teaching methods were used with more prominent ones being open dialogue, quizzes and presentations followed by discussion.
Part of our experience in Wildau was the Internationaler Nachmittag, which was an international food and cultural event with copious countries represented from all over the world, such as Mexico, Syria, Belgium and Ireland. Our class brought some Finnish delicacies and drinks for the students and staff in Wildau to taste.
Our team representing Finland with delicacies.
Our group familiarised with the international and diverse cuisine provided at the International event and we tasted among others French cheese and crepes, Belgian waffles, Mexican tequila, Spanish wine, Irish beer, popular and more exotic Middle Eastern foods and famous German dishes like Kartoffelsalat.
The Spanish table and its warm representatives and some more tables and many attendants.
Internationaler Nachmittag did not introduce us only to different food cultures but also to other cultural aspects of different countries· Egyptian girls gave a demonstration of belly dance and Latin Americans danced various Latin dances. A stunning part of the programme was a fashion show, where we saw traditional costumes from countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Syria, and Egypt.
All the attendants posing for a picture together. The Ukrainian girls and me.
Last, but not least, we participated in the Oktoberfest organised by the TH Wildau. We had a lot of fun with the students of Wildau University. We enjoyed German food, beer and danced to the rhythms of German music. It was the best ending for a long day.
Our group and the students of TH Wildau at the Oktoberfest.
Overall, the experience in this University was very interesting. We got the opportunity to practice our German and English language skills, and we made some new contacts and even friends. The teaching methods used were stimulating and effective as we learned a lot in a pleasant way. If TH Wildau was offering education in my field, Tourism and Hospitality, I would absolutely consider spending a semester there as an exchange student, or maybe doing Master studies there.
Wildau University of Applied Sciences and Karelia University of Applied Sciences have been co-operating for many years and most study fields found here are also found there. Thus, I recommend to have a look at their website if you are considering going abroad for a part of your studies and if you are interested in German language and culture.