The International Class provides the opportunity to apply and combine the knowledge and competencies, gained so far during the course of studies, in a real life situation. It is organised in close co-operation with partner organisations abroad. While the preparation class is organised at the university, the practical exercise takes place abroad, preferably in a rural community development situation. The module follows the typical phases of the project based learning approach.
The first two steps take place in the preparation seminar during the winter term:
1. Defining the project:
The framework and scope of the project is outlined by the partner organisation in co-operation with the University of Flensburg. The project has then to be defined more in detail and narrowed down by the students during the preparation class.
2. Preparing the project:
During the preparation class the students have to obtain first information about the project site and the research topic. They develop a research plan, select appropriate methodologies and work out research instruments.
The project exercise itself is carried out abroad:
The students travel to the project site abroad. After a first introduction by the partner organisations the students split into smaller groups (if the students group comprises more than 12 students), which are accompanied by a lecturer. They improve and finalise their planning and the research instruments and thereafter collect information at their research sites, applying different social and technical research methods.
This phase usually takes two weeks. Within another two weeks the students have to analyse the information, draw conclusions, elaborate suggestions and write up a report.
4. Presentation and Evaluation:
Within a public meeting the report is presented and handed over to the communities and the partner organisation.
For the past 10 years the International class has been carried out in Scotland in co-operation with the Community Energy Scotland (former Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise).
Topics of the past International Classes were:
Other local partner organisations in Scotland included:
- Knoydart Foundation
- Eigg Heritage Trust
- North Harris Trust
- Melness Crofters Estate
- Ormlie Community Association
- North Yell Development Group
- Pure Energy Centre
- Sleat Community Trust
- Barra and Vatersay Community Ltd
- Storas Uibhist
- Eday Partnership
- Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust
- Jura Development Trust