T.E.A.M. - Tutoring. Employability. Academic Culture. Mentoring

Model project in the DAAD programme STIBET II (2015-2017)

The project T.E.A.M. is part of the DAAD programme line STIBET II “Scholarships and support programme for international students”).

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) supports universities in strengthening their welcoming culture for international students and enhancing their support services through the programme line STIBET II "model projects to improve the welcoming culture", funded by the German Foreign Office.

The goal of the project "T.E.A.M. - Tutoring.Employability.Academic Culture. Mentoring" is to improve the success rate of international degree-seeking students in English language master's programmes by optimising their integration into the new department and study programme.

In order to facilitate a successful study experience, our work focusses on three aspects for better integrating international students:

  1. Consolidating the students' subject-specific pre-requisite knowledge by offering additional tutorials in the first semester as a requirement for the learning success.
  2. Socialising students for the study programme’s specific academic culture by providing mentoring support from the more advanced international master students.
  3. Developing an in-course consultation package for planning future employment as motivation for students to study with greater focus and to strengthen their intent to stay in Konstanz (Career Passport).

Additionally, the project supports the dialogue within the study programmes in order to reduce communication barriers and to strengthen students' identification with their study programme.

The project targets international master students in the seven English-language master's degree programs in Computer Science, Economics and Politics and Public Administration. Due to the language of instruction being English, the international orientation and the recruiting of students via the double degree collaborations, an above average number of international students (25-50% of students) are enrolled in these programmes. Depending on the study subject, most students come from South Asia, Eastern and Western Europe and China.

The greatest study related challenges for international master students in regards to the feasibility of the selected study programmes are knowledge and adapting to the academic culture in Konstanz.

Through student surveys we also know that the cultural and academic adjustment processes for individual international students become more difficult the more isolated they are. Although the student-teacher ratios are low, uncertainty when dealing with one another leads to communication barriers among students and between students and teachers. As a result, students from groups based on culture or country of origin or they isolate themselves from others.

When pursuing job prospects in the German labour market, a significant motivator for completing the master's programme, students are required to redefine previously learned job search and application strategies.

The project is part of a collaboration between the university, the Hochschule Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG) and city of Konstanz in the consulting network "Welcoming regions for international students", sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the "Round table for international students". The round table, organised by the Seezeit student services, includes all those working to support international students in Konstanz.