Employees of HAWK visited the northernmost partner university in Oulu, Finland

Publishing Date: 10.11.2023

The Hildesheim based Faculty of Architecture, Engineering and Conservation at the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen cooperates with the Finnish Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK) in the bachelor's degree programs of architecture, civil engineering as well as timber and wood engineering.

However, the focus of this exchange was not in the field of construction but rather in the area of soft skills. Employees of HAWK's International Office, Language Center, and the HAWK open project learned about Finnish solutions in the areas of counseling and support for students with a migration or refugee background, language course design, as well as offerings for exchange students and opportunities under the ERASMUS+ program.

Frauke Drewes, project manager of HAWK open, Studienstart plus, and HeadStart, exchanged ideas with Finnish colleagues about the SIMHE project (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland). This project aims to facilitate the access of individuals with a migration and/or refugee background to the Finnish higher education system and later to the job market. Prospective students are not only advised on the recognition of foreign degrees but also participate in a preparatory 30 ECTS credit program that covers topics such as digital skills, Finnish language proficiency, and career opportunities. The project is co-financed by the Finnish National Agency for Education. The representatives from the HAWK had the opportunity to observe a Finnish language course as well as a German course which prepares Finnish students for their study abroad experience in German-speaking countries. The latter is an offering by the Language Center at OAMK, which maintains close contact with the HAWK Language Center, represented in Oulu by Jessica Guse, Deputy Head of the German as a Foreign Language department.


Lea Schwacke and Christopher Machold of HAWK’s International Office exchanged ideas with colleagues from the International Office of OAMK regarding best practices for orientation and support services for international exchange students. In addition, participants discussed the challenges and management of the digitization of the ERASMUS+ program, as well as potential future collaborations between the HAWK and the OAMK.

Returning with many new ideas, the poeple in charge  are now evaluating whether a joint Blended Intensive Programme (BIP) within the framework of the ERASMUS+ program can be a new step in the cooperation between the two universities. This program combines virtual and face-to-face phases to jointly advance international topics at both institutions. We are excited to see what the future holds...