During their third year of studies, the German students are required to go on exchange and they can choose from a variety of more than 90 partner universities in 33 countries around the world. In exchange, Bucerius Law School welcomes international students from around the globe who come to Hamburg to participate in the International Exchange Program, which is specifically designed to support law students wishing to broaden their understanding of the forces shaping international business law.
This year’s program is already half way through and we have asked Sabrina Henning, who is responsible for all our incomings students, about her insights.
Sabrina, the International Exchange Program ends on December 21. Does your work end with the departure of the international students in December?
"Not at all. While I am still settling final administrative issues with the students from the past group, the first applications from our nominated students for the coming year roll in. I am at the students’ disposal for any questions they may have regarding their applications.
My work does not end with their admission approval though. I am helping all of our incoming students with various administrative matters: finding housing in Hamburg, finding their way through visa applications or figuring out whether it is necessary to open a German bank account. I try to give support to the students and be their first point of contact from the time of their application until after the program has finished."
What is a distinct feature of the exchange program?
"A distinct feature of our exchange program is the internationality of the group. Since the implementation of the exchange program in 2002, the group not only grew in size but also in its international orientation. The group of exchange students can profit from this international atmosphere by exchanging views from the two main law perspectives, the common law and civil law system. Furthermore, they can already network with soon to be attorneys who will be working in a global marketplace
The academic curriculum also reflects this international feature by all courses being taught in English by professors from Bucerius Law School and practitioners from Germany and around the world. In addition, the courses explore topics within German, European and transnational frameworks. In courses such as Negotiation and Business Mediation and Conflict Resolution, the professor put a special emphasis on having a diverse group of students in their courses to ensure that students learn to negotiate and mediate in intercultural scenarios."
What is the most interesting aspect about your day to day job?
"For me personally, it is always interesting to help students from different cultural backgrounds cope with German life in general, but also with the German bureaucracy in particular. Especially in the first weeks, there are a many hurdles the students need to take: applying for a visa, registering with the city, finding your way around Hamburg and, simply said, the best places to go out at night. We assist the students in all of these cases and try to give them a smooth start into their exchange experience. However, to navigate in the city and to adjust to Germany and Hamburg, it is always helpful to know at least a basic set of German words.
Although the Exchange Program is taught in English, and the students and most of the staff at Bucerius speak English, we also want to encourage everybody to immerse themselves in the adventure of learning the German language. In order to help students, we offer German Language courses which are being taught during the program and in addition organize a “buddy system” between exchange students and German students. A selection of interesting extracurricular activities balances the academic program at Bucerius."