Students of the International Business School of Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne were working together with students from Adelphi University’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business in New York in international cross-university teams for one semester. Kimberly Hoffmann, student of International Business Management (B.A.), reports from the first digital conference and the TAVEC Experience.
Boredom or wanderlust are feelings that have characterized me and my fellow students for almost one year. Especially the longing for new contacts. Nevertheless, in the last semester, anticipation but also nervousness move through the ranks, at the announcement of a project which promised new contacts, international cooperation and above all a break from a dull everyday life. As part of the Modern Human Resource Management module, my fellow students and I had the opportunity to participate in the TAVEC Project and work in international groups on topics in the field of diversity.
TAVEC (Trans-Atlantic Virtual Exchange and Collaboration) is a new collaborative project between both universities. Together with three American students from Adelphi University, I worked on the topic of disability. We wanted to find out how today’s disabilities can be tomorrow’s abilities. It was a great opportunity to educate ourselves and others on this topic.
The project has not only educated me in the field of diversity. I will continue to use some methods and approaches of my American group members for my future projects. However, this international cooperation has been very challenging for us. We had to overcome barriers such as cultural differences, different schedules and a six-hour time differential. Some meetings had to take place in the middle of the night. I am very proud of my group because we dealt with these barriers very well. In the end, only I attended the one of the project’s many highlights: The first virtual trans-atlantic student conference, which took place on March 24th, 2021, where all participating students could present their course projects to their fellow students, to faculty of both institutions, to an external audience and an external jury of various business experts who judged all presentations. However, I am extremely grateful to my group. Without their help and opinions, I would not have been able to present our topic so well. At the same time, I am sorry that they missed something by not having participated. The conference was a new and very positive experience. It was very challenging but also a lot of fun to have to present in front of an external jury.
Overall, the project taught us a lot. Everyone who gets the opportunity to be a part of such projects should take it. It doesn’t matter if you are the winner after the conference because in the end everyone can call themselves a winner. Experiences are worth more than any prize or title.