It takes two hands to count to ten in German. Not so in the Chinese world, there you need just one hand to indicate numbers larger than five and some finger dexterity. This and other ordinary things, cultural differences and most importantly the German language had been discussed in a workshop, Claudia Finner, head of the TU Darmstadt Asia Office in Taiwan, offered at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) this past February. The general interest was huge: More than twice the usual number of students applied for the 20 slots available. Claudia Finner, who had just started her new position in Taiwan last September and who has a degree in German as a foreign language, conducted this course in cooperation with the Office of International Affairs of NCKU.
Getting ready for staying in Germany
This one-week intensive course provided students interested in Germany a good foundation in preparation for their stay in Germany for a semester or two. It also served as a good basis for networking with their fellow students. In addition, this course provided the opportunity to intensify the contact between the TU Darmstadt Asia Office and the students at NCKU. By attending this course and staying in Germany for their studies and research, these students hope to further improve their prospects on the labour market.
Students would like more of this
In small groups, the students discovered other intercultural differences. For instance, Taiwanese socialise a lot more with other club members, like their sports team, than Germans. German students tend to organise their spare time on a more individual basis, with many different friends or hobbies. In the course, different lifestyles and issues that could come up while staying in Germany as well as recommendations and advice to solve them were discussed. “There was a very nice atmosphere in the course”, said one of the students. “It felt great to be encouraged to speak German. I was a little shy about that at first”, admitted another student. Many wished for a continuation of this course.
The course closed with additional information about TU Darmstadt and studying in Germany. Afterwards, the workshop participants met the 5 exchange students from TU Darmstadt who are currently at NCKU for their semester abroad.
text: Martina Engesser