As part of the TUtor International Team, I help organise both cultural and study-related events for international students. Trips and evenings together often result in new friendships and the conversations are always interesting!
Arrive and Feel at Home
Alongside my Cognitive Science degree, I am also involved in TUtor International at TU Darmstadt. This is a group of people who work together with AStA (General Students’ Committee) and accompany and support international students, as well as provide advice to help them in their daily lives in the foreign country. My fellow student, Diego, presented an in-depth look at the programme, as well as many other helpful groups for international students in his blog post. TU Darmstadt has many great offers for international students to help them settle in and feel at home in Darmstadt.
International Student Services (ISS) is a great first stop if you’re planning on studying at TU Darmstadt. Especially now, with the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of questions which need answering before the semester begins. The ISS team can provide quick, uncomplicated and expert support, either via email or online. ISS provides support on all aspects regarding your stay at TU Darmstadt and the start of your degree, points out suitable support programmes and details degree financing options or scholarships.
One topic you’re probably interested in is finding a place to live near the university, right? You should definitely read the blog by my fellow student, Moritz. He summarised his own personal tips and the best places to ask for help at TU Darmstadt.
International Student Services ensures that you get off to a great start at TU Darmstadt!
International Student Services (ISS) advises and supports international students, exchange students and refugees interested in studying at TU Darmstadt in all non-academic areas to help guarantee the best possible start at the university.
The mission of ISS is to provide necessary services to meet the requirements of international students, support them in settling in Germany and at TU Darmstadt, thereby contributing to their success at the university, and also promote diversity and international experiences for all students on campus. ISS provides information on visas, health insurance and degree financing options, supports students in looking for living space, and also answers questions on life in Darmstadt.
ISS aims to promote diversity and the international experience of all students on campus, as well as to provide the services necessary to meet the needs of international students and to support before and after their arrival in Germany and at TU Darmstadt, contributing to their eventual academic success.. ISS provides information about visas and health insurance, gives advice on student finances, assists in finding accommodation and answers all other questions about living in Darmstadt.
Kick-Off Week: Welcome to TU Darmstadt!
As soon as you arrive at TU Darmstadt, your adventure begins! Every semester, ISS invites you and all international students to the Kick-Off Days. Participation is free and optional, of course. You won’t want to miss out, though ,as it won’t ever be easier to meet new people and make friends, get to know Darmstadt and get all the information you need to help life in Darmstadt and at the uni get off to a great start. Don’t miss the legendary Kick-Off Party in the Schlosskeller, the tours of the campus and the city, the fun challenges and games aimed at getting to know new people and the city, as well as presentations on university activities and initiatives. Kick-Off Days are always a great time and you should go if you can!
“The Essentials”, a series of information sessions, are also fantastic. As the name would suggest, these events provide international students with all the information they need to enjoy a smooth stay at TU Darmstadt. Here, questions like “What health insurance do I need?” or “How long can I stay in Germany?”, and “How can I pay for my degree abroad?” are answered by experts in an understandable way.
TUtor International and the ESN university group also provide our support to ISS to ensure that you get off to the best possible start in Darmstadt and never feel alone.
Check the ISS page to find out more on how events will take place during the coronavirus pandemic. But even in these uncertain times, don’t worry- TU Darmstadt will still make sure to provide you with all the support you need!
TU Darmstadt: a Strong Partner for a Degree Abroad
At TU Darmstadt you can discover lots of interesting and innovative programmes, which can help make starting your degree a lot easier. For example, I’d like to highlight the PreCIS programme. This programme starts with a two-week introduction course aimed at first-time international students and starts two weeks before classes begin and helps you prepare for a degree at TU Darmstadt. You will take part in an intensive German language course, which will focus on the kind of language skills you’ll need at the university, including maths, but you’ll also receive intercultural training improve your study skills, learn to navigate the campus and university buildings, and get to know Darmstadt and the surrounding areas through excursions.
During the semester, the PreCIS buddy programme provides a space for you to regularly meet more experienced students who can answer all your questions regarding your degree.
And then there are the PreCIS workshops which help you prepare for studying and exams in a practical manner.
Many departments also offer mentoring programmes, for example, the Department of Computer Science offers an Intensive Mentoring System (iMs). In addition to offering expert support from tutors, lecturers and research associates, the mentoring system also helps you organise your life in and around your studies. Mentors from higher semesters can help you organise your studies and help you with time management, and they can also provide learning strategies and tips on dealing with daily challenges at the university. It’s a great system, which provides support, which is particularly helpful when you’re just starting out.
Fully Prepared for University and the Job Market with Soft Skills
While attending university, it’s clear that gaining subject knowledge will be your main focus. However, not having the right soft skills means you are missing an important skill set. In comprehensive workshops and training courses, TU Darmstadt teaches key skills to its students during their time at the university. Most of these offers are free, by the way. Pretty cool, right?
Learn the basics of how to successfully write research papers at the SchreibCenter at TU Darmstadt, or take advantage of further training opportunities, such as the Coffee Lectures at the ULB. What’s the ULB, you ask? It’s the central university and state library with buildings in the centre of town, at the Schloss and the Lichtwiese campus.
Or you can work on your language skills at the Language Resource Center, which offers, you guessed it, language courses. Here, you also have the option of acquiring additional qualifications or taking language certification exams. The Zentrum für Interkulturelle Kompetenz (ZIKK – Centre for Intercultural Expertise) not only helps you prepare for your future career, but also your studies. With numerous exciting offers, the ZIKK prepares you for the future requirements of an ever-more global job market, as well as promoting tolerance and successful international cooperation both during and after your degree. What more could you need? I think the courses there are great.
E-learning: Learning and Teaching 2.0
All of us use digital media every day, particularly in our free time. These digital tools can also be used to help create flexible and modern teaching methods and simplify everyday life at the university. TU Darmstadt has some very helpful platforms which really make learning easier, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. On the internal platform, Moodle, for example, course materials can be provided and lecturers can create closed groups for their students, while the web platform OpenLearnWare enables students to exchange digital learning material and watch online lectures.
You can probably tell, TU Darmstadt is doing a lot to make it as easy as possible for international students to settle in, feel at home and live in Darmstadt. And if things aren’t going well for you, reach out and ask for help. Speak to the ISS team, TUtor International, ESN or ITT and your lecturers. Some of them may share this experience of coming to Germany from abroad with you, and they can empathise with the challenges you may face. From my own experience, I can definitely say that TU Darmstadt will not let you struggle through a crisis alone, but will stand by your side with both advice and support. We are here for you!