True to the name of the study program ‘International Business Management‘, working in groups was rethought at Hochschule Fresenius in Cologne: Group work but make it international and that in times of a global pandemic! In winter semester 2020 students of the Hochschule Fresenius worked together with students of the Adelphi University in New York on creative projects spanning a wide range of topics. Paula Kolb, a student of International Business Management (B.A.), reports about her TAVEC experience and the conference.
My group’s project ‘Talking Business’ consists of a website and a poem. In this poem I wrote: “Imagine most of us only started university two weeks ago, we expected the studies to start off rather slow”. I can hardly put it into other words because the start of all this happened exactly as stated in the poem.
I had just moved to Cologne for my studies, didn’t know the city and the people, was taken by surprise by the size of the university, had absolutely no idea for which subject I had to walk into which building and being taught in English was also something I had to get used to. However, my lecturer told us about a group project with an American school and I was immediately hooked.
My group and I hit it off right away. Even though as we worked together, I realized the difficulties that have to be overcome when working in an international team. First of all, the time difference, six hours doesn’t sound like too much, but believe me, it’s more than we sometimes wished for. We set alarm clocks at 3 am for interviews, translated emails into Chinese to overcome language barriers, and had countless FaceTime calls to make sure everything was going as planned on both sides of the Atlantic. Some low points but even more high points marked this personal challenge for me which I would want to take on again and again. There was so much room for our own ideas, our own creativity and lots of sharing in the group which made me realize that we are not so different after all regardless of where we come from.
The highlight for me was still the conference (TASC) where we could present our projects. All the projects were highly individual and yet none was better than the other – they were all great! I think it’s very important to give students the opportunity to work on their own projects with ideas that they can realize without being given a lot of guidelines. In everyday life we are so often bound by routines, guidelines and plans so I think it’s even more important to give young people the opportunity to realize their own ideas in their own way without being restricted by rules and to make the results of those ideas heard.
In my opinion, the TAVEC project and the TASC have successfully achieved this with a result that is something to be proud of – many great projects!
I am looking forward to the trip to New York with all the TAVEC winners and cannot wait for the next trans-atlantic student conference to take place.