October – a new semester, a new academic year and lots of new students beginning their studies in Landau… Every year there are more and more international students who join the university for an exchange semester or for a full degree program. Especially, our international master’s programs in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sciences are very popular and the numbers of international applicants are rising.
Yet – a new country, a foreign language and a different educational system – all of this is quite challenging for students coming from abroad. For this reason the International Office supports the newly arriving international students right from the beginning – starting with the Welcome Days for international students.
This year the Welcome Days take place from 5th to 9th October. A major aim of these days is the support of the students with all initial administrative matters, from opening a bank account and applying for a residence permit to enrollment at the university and registering with the relevant service units like the computing center or the library. Many Landau students volunteered to assist the International Office and to help the freshmen with these organizational matters.
However, the Welcome Days also offer the international students the possibility to get to know each other, as well as German students who volunteer as mentors. The International Office tries to allocate mentors and mentees according to their study program and cultural background- if possible. Thus, Ecotox-freshmen get to know students who are already enrolled in Ecotoxicology and who can give them an insight into the study program and what studying in Landau is like.
The Welcome Days include general information sessions, meetings with academic coordinators, appointments with health insurances, banks and authorities like the foreigners’ office, as well as a cultural program. The cultural program ranges from a guided city tour adjusted to the needs of new international students and an intercultural session to a pub night and a hiking tour in the Palatinate Forest.
After the Welcome Days the new students have the chance to take part in an intercultural course about German Culture Today and a German language course before the courses start on 26th October.