New program lets UAlberta students take Berlin

(Edmonton) The University of Alberta has launched a new program in Germany that is tailored to students’ specific needs, complete with accommodation in one of the world’s most exciting cities and a political and cultural powerhouse for all of Europe.  

U of A provost Carl Amrhein told the audience at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, where e3 in Berlin was launched, that the program fuses language and academics with real-life work experience to provide students with a comprehensive opportunity unparalleled by other education-abroad programs.

“The e3 program’s pairing of theory with practice, and the local with the international, prepares students to meet the creative, risk-taking and critical demands of an increasingly globalized workforce,” Amrhein said. “The e3 program model is a unique education abroad experience that promises to offer participants a wonderful opportunity to couple academic and work experience in a very dynamic part of the world.”

In a single program, students will be able to receive course credits for U of A German language courses, a work or research internship and an academic course.

Amrhein says the program, which begins in early May, will focus on the cultural, political and social dimensions of public life in Germany. Students will also explore Germany’s increasingly important role worldwide.

Britta Baron, vice-provost and associate vice-president (international), says the program offers students high quality and a broad variety of options. “This is a truly meaningful and cost-efficient opportunity for students to build a global CV,” she says.  

“e3 is my brainchild, if I may say so. We know that our students want to have flexibility and customize their academic experience, and at the same time they want to have as many services as possible. So this program draws a circle around their individualized and customized needs,” Baron said. “Students don’t want to worry about arranging accommodation, finding a language teacher or finding the right courses with acceptable credits. We provide all these at a very reasonable price.”

Baron says students have the added benefit of mixing among the three modules—academic course, internship and language course.

“They can mix and match any of those three. The only exception is that they won’t be able to do just the internship. They will be able to do either the academic or the language course along with the internship.”

Twenty-eight U of A students from various faculties will take advantage of the opportunity this summer in Berlin. Students have been helped to intern with prestigious organizations in Berlin, including the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the new Berlin airport and the East Side Gallery, which recently attracted media interest in connection with its location at the remains of the Berlin Wall. Baron says University of AIberta International’s Berlin-based internship liaison, Ira Rückert, will work closely with students to meet their particular internship needs.

Baron says the pilot program has attracted the attention of other Canadian universities. “The vision that we hope to see develop is of a network of e3 hubs worldwide that will help Canadian students to develop an international and intercultural competence, and a better start into a global career.

“This puts education abroad at an elevated level. I want the U of A to be the place in Canada for students to find meaningful opportunities for education abroad,” Baron said.

Amrhein announced that programs similar to e3 in Berlin will soon make it to other international destinations, with options being investigated in Brazil and China.

“We plan to offer e3 programs on an annual basis in Berlin.” Amrhein said. “Other locations are currently planned for launching as early as the summer of 2014.”