GPSS presented as a model for international summer schools
In its new online publication, the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD presents Global Politics Seasonal Schools (GPSS) as one of ten exemplary programs of international summer schools. The brochure is available in German here, and we have recapped some highlights below in English. DAAD funds high-quality international summer schools both in Germany and abroad.
News from Sep 28, 2018
Why summer schools work
GPSS enable an international exchange of ideas, concepts and research results in a condensed setting. Connecting lecturers and students from various countries can serve as an initial spark, as they sometimes go on to cooperate on future projects. Beyond creating a space for high-level academic exchange and networking, summer schools have also become a beacon representing German universities and the attractive opportunities they offer on the international education market. Their growing popularity reflects the higher paced curricula and increasing internationalization of today’s universities.
What makes GPSS unique?
While GPSS curricula are uniquely designed to address current issues concerning the respective location of the school (Tehran, Shanghai, Amman, Hanoi or Phnom Penh), all are built on the same formula, sharing special characteristics. First, they all address overarching phenomena such as globalization and the emergence of new actors in international affairs and connect them to local challenges. Second, they share an interdisciplinary combination of social sciences. Third, all Global Politics Summer Schools challenge traditional teaching methods and perspectives. GPSS introduce students (and lecturers) to a rich variety of learning methods, including short lectures, interactive group discussions and presentations, daylong simulation games, online elements, discussions with experts, project modules and excursions. Fourth, notably, the schools also create a space for discussion among students that is otherwise often restricted by the political or financial situation in their countries. Today’s participants are future agents of change, Professor Segbers points out. They will go on to pursue careers driving forward the development of their countries. Our seasonal schools help them build networks for their future.
Building bridges to Germany
Evaluations show that our program often sparks or strengthens students’ interest to study in Germany. Of course, challenges remain: Many advanced social science degree programs in Germany have tough German language requirements. Moreover, the costs of living in Germany are simply not affordable for many participants from Cambodia, Vietnam and Jordan. This is one of the reasons why we strongly promote DAAD’s newly established Helmut-Schmidt-Programme for Public Policy and Good Governance which supports motivated and engaged students from developing countries by awarding scholarships.
How can GPSS work across the globe?
When asked about the logistic and administrative challenges of organizing seasonal schools from a distance, Prof. Dr. Klaus Segbers, head of program, praises the work of project coordinator Lydia Tetzner success of the seasonal schools, also emphasizing the excellent working relationship with the academic and organizational partners of GPSS. Online tools are, of course, also indispensable.
DAAD-funded summer schools: disciplines and locations
DAAD’s engagement goes beyond our own program. The largest number of summer schools receiving DAAD funding focus on Mathematics & Life Sciences and Engineering. Schools in the domain of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, in which our Seasonal Schools belong, are the third largest group of recipients, followed by the humanities, medicine and other disciplines.
In terms of location, Berlin is, of course, one of the main hubs for DAAD sponsored summer schools within Germany, hosting 32 schools over the past ten years. The Hanover region of Lower Saxony was even home to 35 schools. Beyond Germany, China has been the most popular location at 40 schools in 10 years, including our own GPSS Shanghai. At the same time, the Center for Global Politics has also gone the road less traveled, countries where only few other DAAD-funded schools operate, such as Vietnam, Iran, and Cambodia. In fact, in Jordan, there has been only one program other than GPSS doing pioneer work in international academic exchange.