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Making Contacts over Coffee and Croissants
Regional companies and international students from the University of Siegen meet too rarely. The SieguVer team is working to change this.
For many students of the University of Siegen, the way to an international breakfast had already been rewarding before the first bite into the croissant. An application for your first job after your studies? A doctoral thesis in cooperation with a medium-sized company? Vladimir Sizikov was open to all enquiries - after all, he knows the wishes and concerns of (foreign) students from first-hand experience, from his time as a student in Germany. After a detour to a large company in southern Germany, Sizikov is now innovation manager at Robert Thomas in Neunkirchen. And in this function he has informed students and doctoral students from Turkey, Ghana, India or Cameroon about the advantages of working for a medium-sized company in the South Westphalia region.
The "International Breakfast" is one of the university project SieguVer’s many regular events. The acronym stands for "Siegen unterstützt und vernetzt" (Siegen supports and connects)- and this is exactly what project manager Eva-Maria Grottschreiber from the International Office of the University of Siegen and her team do. "We have many world market leaders in the region and we have many foreign students, especially in technical courses. But they still don't get together often enough, and we'd like to change that," says Grottschreiber. The aim is to make it easier for international students from all disciplines to enter the regional job market. The project, which is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), has been running since 2018 and is initially scheduled to continue until the end of 2020. In addition to joint breakfasts, the offers also include visits to companies, job application training and intercultural seminars, in which the aim is to get to know the German (work) mentality and to avoid blundering. And the plan works. The first loose contacts between entrepreneurs and students have already led to stable working relationships.
“The events are ideal for making contacts, getting to know companies from the region and also recognizing opportunities at an early stage," reports a student from Nigeria. And his Indian fellow student draws additional motivation from the offers to work on her German. Guest speaker Sizikov also makes this clear to the students: "In most companies in South Westphalia, a good knowledge of German is a basic prerequisite for employment. Here, too, the SieguVer team and the university's Language Centre are the right contacts.
"At the end of the day, companies from the region and our international students should benefit mutually," says Eva-Maria Grottschreiber. Ideally, a relaxed conversation over coffee and croissants will lead to even more new working relationships in the future.
Vladimir Sizikov, Innovation Manager at Robert Thomas, tells the international students about his work in a medium-sized company over breakfast.
International Student Affairs