#RFP2023 Report

June 5 – July 28, 2023

The Ruhr Fellowship Program 2023 brought together nine students from prestigious U.S. universities (Harvard University, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Cincinnati, and Lehigh University) for a two-month study and internship program in Germany’s Ruhr area. The Ruhr Fellows were rising junior and senior students as well as two recent graduates majoring in STEM, computer sciences, business, and economics. Participants were selected based on their motivation, academic records, and skills as well as available internships.

During the first part of the Ruhr Fellowship Program from June 5 to 18, 2023, the Ruhr Fellows participated in a cultural immersion program, including a German language course. Beginning with a Welcome and Orientation Day, the Ruhr Fellows were introduced to their host institution, Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), the program, and their RUB buddies. During the two-week program, the Ruhr Fellows had the opportunity to get a taste of German in a German language course for beginners (A0/A1) or to improve their existing German skills in an advanced course (B1/B2). Furthermore, they took part in lectures, visits, and workshops that provided insights into academic, research, and industrial fields of work, offering academic, economic, and cultural perspectives on Bochum and the Ruhr area. The students discussed the history of the Ruhr area with a historian, learned about the political system of Germany in a lecture by an expert from the Institute for German Studies, and improved their intercultural competences in an intercultural training. During the excursions, the group got to know the other two member institutions of the University Alliance Ruhr: TU Dortmund University and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE). At UDE, the students visited the Centre for Nanointegration Duisburg-Essen (CENIDE) and the Centre for Logistics and Traffic (ZLV). In Dortmund, they explored the Smart Grid Technology Lab at the Institute of Energy Systems, Energy Efficiency and Energy Economics. The Germany Today Networking Reception gave the fellows the opportunity to meet the participants of the 2023 DAAD Germany Today program, the executive director of the UA Ruhr Liaison Office New York, Priya S. Nayar, and this year’s Transatlantic Ruhr Fellows. Program activities such as a guided city tour in Bochum, a visit to one of the most successful exhibitions in Germany at the Gasometer Oberhausen, “The Fragile Paradise,” and a visit to the German Mining Museum in Bochum, including a guided tour in the visitor’s mine, offered a diverse insight into the vibrant cultural landscape of the Ruhr area.

The “Meeting of the Minds” event gave the Ruhr Fellows the opportunity to network with other international UA Ruhr interns currently in the Ruhr area while visiting the Zollern Colliery in Dortmund and enjoying a piano concert at the Konzerthaus Dortmund. Prior to the start of the program via email and upon arrival in person, the Ruhr Fellows met their student buddies, who supported the fellows in everyday life questions during their stay and additionally gave them a peer perspective on life as a student in the Ruhr area.

On July 19, 2023, the students started their six-week internships, the second part of the Ruhr Fellowship Program, at one of the participating companies: Business Metropole Ruhr (BMR), Emschergenossenschaft/Lippeverband (EGLV), Evonik, ista, Masterflex, Taros, TU Dortmund University – Institute of Production Systems (IPS) and the University of Duisburg-Essen – Centre for Logistics and Traffic (ZLV). During their internships, the Ruhr Fellows worked on a wide range of projects, integrated well into working groups, did independent research, or supported existing projects. All internships were successfully completed. The farewell event in Bochum brought together the Ruhr Fellows, their buddies, representatives from the internship companies and from the three UA Ruhr universities.

The program aimed to give a group of talented students from the U.S. the opportunity to gain insight into studying and working in Germany and to get to know the Ruhr area as a region that offers excellent job opportunities and a high quality of life. The students benefited from a program that combined a summer school with an internship component as they gained valuable hands-on experience that will prepare them for their future careers. In addition, our Ruhr Fellows will be cultural ambassadors upon their return to the U.S., helping us strengthen our alumni network and promote studying and working in Germany. Based on our own observations and evaluations, the Ruhr Fellowship Program 2023 was a great success. Beside their internships, our Ruhr Fellows enjoyed learning about the region’s history and the relationship between Europe and the U.S. during the arrangements of the cultural immersion program and visiting the different university campuses. According to the Ruhr Fellows’ feedback, they particularly appreciated the Ruhr Fellows Buddy Program, offering them the opportunity to meet with fellow students from their UA Ruhr host institution.

University Alliance Ruhr would like to thank the Max Kade Foundation for their generous support of our program.

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