We are pleased to welcome our new student cohort of 2016-2018. 58 new students from 38 different countries: This sets a new standard for the word “international”. A second phrase that we like to use when we describe our program is “interdisciplinary,” but what does this look like in practice? Perhaps witnessing the interactions of the new students provides a clearer picture of what this actually means: Lawyers from Brazil meet social workers from India; chemists from Japan meet economists from Somaliland; psychologists from Yemen meet students with theatre background from the US - all in order to discuss and to learn politics at the Willy Brandt School. With all of this taking place in Erfurt, in the middle of Thuringia, the “green heart” of Germany, it is safe to say that our new class of 2018 is set to make our Master of Public Policy program one of the most international and interdisciplinary public policy study programs across Germany, and most likely, across the world.
From October 4th to October 8th we held this year’s orientation week with a diverse and interesting program, ranging from program-specific introductory sessions and a number of organizational appointments, to a host of vivid and lively discussions at a first informal get together in Franz Mehlhose. A first seminar on the topic of “Dealing with Diversity” by Miguel Ángel García Lopéz, an experienced trainer, evaluator, and educational consultant, concluded our orientation week. It provided a common understanding of diversity and showed opportunities how not only to handle but to embrace differences in culture, character and behavior. “I have been teaching at different universities and the European Union but this program is different”, Mr. García said. “Getting to know these different students from, literally, all over the world is also very enriching for me as a teacher.”
Two years of intense studying, reading, writing, discussing, and reflecting-- as well as a fair share of fun and memorable times-- are lying ahead of our new students. Hence, having joined our orientation week, it is our wish that everyone is perfectly prepared for the successes and challenges to come.